Only in Chico

On friendliness, charity for the needy and a neglected German shepherd

There are many things I like about living in our fair burg. One of my favorites is the friendliness factor—the smiles and hellos from strangers (I didn’t get many of those in the Bay Area). It was unnerving when I first moved here, but I’ve grown fond of it over the years. In fact, nowadays, I’m often the first one to greet others I don’t know.

Some of the friendliest people I’ve never met have been in Chico. And that includes two people my husband and I see each weekday morning after dropping our toddler off at preschool. On our drive into work, there they are sitting on the same bench in Bidwell Park—rain or shine (sometimes sitting in their minivan when it’s really pouring, like it was during last Thursday’s deluge).

At some point after seeing their familiar faces again and again in the same spot, we started waving hello to each other. I cannot recall who made first contact, so to speak. But ever since then, my morning ritual starts off with a friendly greeting between us. I wonder what they think of us as we whiz by and I’m curious what their story is.

Speaking of strangers, I want to thank everyone who came into our office and picked up a child’s name from our “giving tree.” We ran out of kids to buy presents for in the middle of last week. Thanks to the generosity of people they’ll never know, these children from The Esplanade House will have a much happier holiday season.

Update: We’re still going strong on our drive for toiletries for local nonprofits aiding the needy. Several of our awesome readers have come in with bags full of all kinds of goodies—lotions, shampoos, body wash, among other items—including some fancy brands. We’re taking donations through the end of the month, so there’s plenty of time to pop in with such items. Local T-shirt makers Design by Humans, a really cool company we wrote about in our Entrepreneurs issue last spring, read about this effort and pitched in with a generous donation of hundreds of brand-new shirts. That made my week.

And while we’re talking about charitable deeds, I might as well go hog wild here. Last week, I stumbled upon a crowdfunding site set up for a badly neglected German shepherd named Noelle who was found tied to a tree in Bidwell Park. A good Samaritan brought her to the Chico Animal Shelter, and it’s a good thing judging by the pictures of the poor creature. Noelle is in rough shape. She has some pretty gnarly skin issues that likely will require extensive veterinary care and medication.

I’m nuts about this beautiful breed, and I’d love to see the fundraising effort reach its goal of $2,000. Go to and search for “Noelle the German shepherd” or to the Chico Animal Shelter’s Facebook page to help her. Hopefully, once she’s back to being her gorgeous self, folks will line up to give Noelle the home she deserves.