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ASTRO Foundation Rolling
Going Mobile
ASTRO Foundation board members, left to right: Tawny Yeatts, Scott Hicks, Jaydeen Vicente, Butch Smith and Lucky, a 5-year-old Labrador Retriever outside of the newly launched ASTRO Mobile Unit. The 34-foot unit will now enable the non-profit to travel and attend functions in a more comfortable and efficient manner as they look for homes for pets. Teresa Hammond/The Leader

The Animal Shelter To Riverbank and Oakdale, more commonly known as the ASTRO Foundation, is set to go mobile. Just two years shy since securing its 501(c)3 status the group located a mobile unit earlier this year, for a fraction of the $150,000 cost they initially believed they would face.

The ‘new to them’ 34-foot unit was found online in the St. Louis area for $25,000. The 2008 mobile unit with just 20,000 miles was previously used by a shelter that no longer had a use for it, once they acquired a building location.

Funds used to purchase the vehicle were secured through donations as well as sponsorships. Platinum sponsors of $1,000 or more have their name or logo permanently placed on the bus.

The Mobile Adoption Bus will enable the not-for-profit animal organization to transport adoptable animals to the community at large in a safe, temperature controlled environment. The unit may also be used to retrieve adoptable pets from local or out of area shelters, as demand sees fit.

The mission of the ASTRO Foundation as stated on their website ( “Our mission is to save the lives of homeless animals by engaging students in the rescue process including fostering, working adoption events, fundraising and marketing. Students learn responsibility, leadership and teamwork while enriching the community.”

The group hosted its first ASTRO Club meeting of the school year, as well as debuted the Mobile Adoption Unit earlier this week at Oakdale High School, which has an affiliated club on campus. Students were treated to a tour of the vehicle, which comes complete with space for 24 animals.

“This is a good day,” ASTRO Board member Scott Hicks said.

“We have a cat and dog area,” he stated of the mobile unit. “We look at the fact, that now we can do things, events like fairs, with this unit. We can keep the animals in a comfortable place all day since it’s air conditioned. We can bring them to places like schools where we can do animal education and things like that.”

Animals eligible for adoption are kept at area pet foster homes when not at adoption events.

“We can also use this in events like natural disaster,” Hicks continued about the mobile unit, noting that had the unit been operable at the time of the Butte Fire evacuations earlier this month, they’d have been able to travel to retrieve displaced animals.

“We’ve had to put a little bit of work into it, but it’s been absolutely worth it,” he stated.

For additional information or to make a donation toward the ASTRO Foundation, visit, like them on Facebook at ASTRO Foundation Inc. or call 209-604-2649.