Kim Laidlaw Spotlight: Kim Laidlaw of Animal Samaritans

For this week’s Spotlight, Kate Buckley invited Kim Laidlaw, the newly appointed Director of Development of Animal Samaritans, to share more about her journey and the very important work she does for this Coachella Valley nonprofit, as well as upcoming events—have a blast while supporting Animal Samaritans—and other ways to get involved. 

The only constant in life is change, and my life has certainly changed quite a bit in the last 12 months.

In October of 2013, I left my job as Executive Director of Guide Dogs of the Desert and returned back to my roots in Chicago, Illinois to be with my mom who was very ill.  She pulled through magnificently and urged me, several times to return to the California, and follow my heart and my passion in working with animals.

I was made aware of an open position with Animal Samaritans as their Development Director.  I was familiar with Animal Samaritans from the 10+ years I spent in the desert and I was happy to be part of an organization that offers top notch veterinarian services at a low cost and a shelter for homeless animals.  Plus, I already knew them…or at least I thought I did.

Upon taking this position with Animal Samaritans I have learned in one short month that Animal Samaritans is so much more than a veterinary clinic and animal shelter.

Animal Samaritans is a leading Coachella Valley-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, full service animal welfare facility and this year commemorates our 36th year of continuous, distinguished service with their mission being to “Improve the Lives of Animals and People” in the greater Coachella Valley through a comprehensive approach that connects the health and welfare of animals and people.

Animal Samaritans approach is to curb animal overpopulation that results in stray animal problems in the community, while insuring healthy companion pet populations throughout the community. We do this through a comprehensive multi-pronged approach:

  • Low or no cost vaccination services and top notch veterinary care at their affordable clinic in Thousand Palms, California and opening soon a clinic in Indio, California.
  • No-kill shelter – animals for adoption at Animal Samaritans are animals that the Adoption Alliance Coordinator has pulled from death row at the county animal shelter
  • Adoption Alliance Program – The coordinator works with the county animal shelter and over 150 rescues in and outside of the Coachella Valley to save animals that are on death row. The coordinator also works with volunteer pilot organizations to fly dogs and cats to rescues in other states.
  • Feral Cat trap and release program – spays and neuters for only $25.00
  • Animal assisted therapy for patients in hospitals, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.  In addition, the dogs and cats involved in this program also visit classrooms that have students with learning challenges.
  • Senior Pet Wellness Programs – this program assists seniors that are below a certain income level with their veterinary bills and food for their companion animals.
  • Animal Companion Program – this program offers financial aid for those individuals below a certain income level facing large medical bills for their companion animals
  • Humane Education Program – there are two employees working full time with the (Coachella Valley Unified, Desert Sands Unified and Palm Springs Unified), in the area to fulfill their obligation to California Education Code section 233.5 which states the following: “…including the promotion of harmonious relations, kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of living creatures…”
  • Critter Camp – Animal Samaritans also offers this annual program, that brings the humane education message as an after school program in the form of fun filled environment offering educational activities consisting of 4 hours per day incorporating arts and crafts, interaction with live animals including a mobile reptile animal show and other humane education program activities geared towards teaching compassion, empathy and respect for all living creatures.

There is a large volume of literature documenting the positive social impact of our humane education program in all aspects of life and the mitigating impact on juvenile delinquency and crime in the surrounding communities. It boils down to a simple concept: If children learn to treat animals well, they are more apt to treat people well. If children are allowed to express their frustration and aggression by abusing animals, they will learn to express it on other people as well, perpetuating the cycle of violence and opening the doors to a future life of child abuse, domestic abuse and other interpersonal violence.

Social scientists and law enforcement agencies have recognized the link between juvenile delinquency and animal abuse closely linked to domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, and other violent crimes.

So as I begin my new career with Animal Samaritans, life has changed again for me, but more importantly, life for people and animals is being changed.  Compassion, refuge, well care and sustenance are made available because of Animal Samaritans located in Thousand Palms.  Over $300,000 in services is donated to the community on a yearly basis, changing and improving the lives of people and animals.

Please consider becoming a supporter of Animal Samaritans, and be part of the solution in changing and improving lives. Some upcoming events to support Animal Samaritans are:

OCTOBER 10 – 31
Pumpkin Patch & Amusement Park
 3:30pm to 10:00pm
Place: Westfield Shoppingtown Mall parking lot (Hwy 111 & Monterey, Palm Desert)
About: Proceeds will benefit Animal Samaritans! Parents, bring the kids out for carnival rides, giant slides, a fun house, snacks, games, prizes and a pumpkin patch too!

Yappy Hour
Time: 4pm – 6pm
Place: Rancho Las Palmas Resort, 41-000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage
About: Yappy Hours return!  On the third Thursday of each month, Join Animal Samaritans on  patio of one of the Desert’s most stunning outdoor venues. Bring your best friend with four legs on a leash and enjoy music pet games and fellowship with fellow dog owners. Two legged friends welcome as well!  Cost is $10 and includes two drinks from the mini-bar. Animal Samaritans receive $5, and all donations benefit Animal Samaritans.

OCTOBER 18 & 19
Pet Adoption Days at Chevrolet Cadillac of La Quinta

Time: 10am to 3pm (both Saturday & Sunday)
Place: 79225 Hwy. 111, La Quinta
About: Enjoy visiting over 100 adoptable dogs & cats, raffle prizes & Chevy Camero drawing, live music from Big 106 FM & Jammin 99.5. For more information contact Dina: 760-541-8117

AnSams 2nd annual Rummage Sale
Time: 8am – 12pm
Place: Animal Samaritans No-Kill Animal Shelter, 72-307 Ramon Road, Thousand Palms
About: Bargains! Bargains! Bargains!  Rummage through our collection of donated goods and find great deals items you could use, items for fun, and items you never knew you wanted!  Bring cash. All proceeds will benefit Animal Samaritans no-kill animal shelter.

How to Donate: Please bring your gently used nick-nacks, dishes, small furniture, sporting goods, small working appliances, vintage jewelry, designer purses, holiday decorations, pet accessories, well-preserved antiques to Animal Samaritans’ animal shelter on Ramon Road Monday through Friday, between 9am and 4:30pm, now until October 31.

We cannot take the following: worn or broken items, or clothing, shoes, large appliances, electronics, TVs, computers, or large furniture items.

DECEMBER 6 – 14th annual Walk for the Animals
Time: 9am registration; 10am – 2pm event
Place: Palm Desert Civic Park, 73-510 Fred Waring Drive

About: Enjoy a Desert tradition!  The event includes a one mile dog walk around the park, pet vaccinations and microchipping, blessing of the animals, police K-9 demonstration, dog and puppy adoptions, pet costume contests, Frisbee dogs, raffle drawings, agility dogs, pet vendors, a kid’s fun booth, food and drink, and results from the “Kindness to Animals” student art contest.  The event proceeds benefit Animal Samaritans’ no-kill animal shelter and Humane Education program. All dogs must be on a leash or in a carrier.

December 20 – Paws and Claus
10am – 12 noon

Come and have your child or pet  take their photo with Santa Claus at the Gardens on El Paseo in the event lawn.  10.00 per photo and all proceeds benefit Animal Samaritans.

If you or your organization would like to be interviewed for a Palm Springs Spotlight, please contact

About David J Castello

David J Castello is the Editor-in-Chief and Chief Operating Officer for the Castello Cities Internet Network (,,, etc). His debut novel, The Diary of an Immortal (1945-1959) was published in 2016.

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One comment

  1. To Kim Laidlaw:

    You will receive my $150.00 donation to your organization. Please notify my sister Robin Nimkoff. She is a contributor. Thanks. I gave donations in October 2014, December 2014 and October 2015. We have spoken on the phone.

    Please call if you get a chance to verify my donation came (It’s going out today). Thanks

    Frank Fisher
    3744 N Sheffield Ave (1-B)
    Chicago, IL 60613