For love of animals

Lucy Parks

Photo by Whitney Garcia

Lucy Parks has one goal in mind with her animal shelter, Wags and Whiskers Pet Rescue: to save as many lives as she can. Parks, originally from Orange County, came to Chico in 2013 after a near-death experience that made her realize that she wanted to do more for the world. A lifelong animal lover, Parks began volunteering and working locally with pets and shelters, and in July 2015, she started her nonprofit rescue organization. Wags and Whiskers is also an adoption agency for the dogs and cats that it takes in. The CN&R sat down with Parks to talk about how she, along with staff members and volunteers, are able to help animals in need. There are weekly adoption events in the North Valley Plaza on Saturdays. For more info, go to

What is the difference between a kill shelter and a no-kill shelter?

Chico has only no-kill shelters, because the city mandates that they not euthanize [adoptable] animals. Which means, it’s pretty much a closed shelter. They don’t have to kill any animals, but they also are limited on taking new animals based on how much space they have. Most of the time, in Chico, you have to get on a waiting list if you want to surrender a dog. Other counties that don’t have those mandates can take any animal at any time.

How is your rescue different from others?

Most places pick and choose which dogs they want. Not me. I’ll take any dog. Even if it’s sick, we’ll take it and pay for the medical bills. We invite nearby counties’ shelters to use our service to help bring down their kill rates. And, we have a lot of communication with people who want to adopt one of our dogs.

How do you care for your animals?

Our animals are all well taken care of. We have a vacant space in the shopping center my husband and I own [North Valley Plaza], and that’s where we keep the dogs. They aren’t crated at all; instead they live in communal rooms. The only time we crate them is when we feed them. They are walked three times a day by paid staff members, and in the evenings, volunteers can help walk them, too. Volunteers also come around often to help socialize the dogs. If a dog is particularly antisocial, I will take them home with me and work with them there.

What does the rescue need to help more animals?

We always need more fosters for the animals, and volunteers! Donations are gladly accepted, like leashes, bowls, beds and things like that. And if anyone wants to adopt one of our animals, we would love that!