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December 4, 2022

OPINION: Charity should begin at home

Charity should always begin at home and spread out like waves through the country and across the world. If you learn how to give of yourself on the local level, it then becomes a lot easier to reach out further afield down the road, after you have learned the ropes, scuffed your toes a few times and tripped once or twice at the finish line. I would be the first to say I have never run a charitable cause before. I have been involved with groups that, for one reason or another, left me wishing for a cause I could really get my teeth into. And then, when I wasn’t paying attention, the causes came to me. First, there was the shoes and socks drive for the local kids and now, in addition, it’s the care and homing of our local animals. I have a feeling that this particular cause may see me out.

It’s a big job. We are a small, but growing, and mightily enthusiastic group of “Animal Champions” – people who just love animals; that’s the qualification for being part of this group. Plus, you need to know how to play well with others – people and dogs. Turning into our second year of operation, we have made a lot of mistakes, and, in my case, schlepped rather too many silent auction and raffle items around from my garage to a venue to my office and back to my garage. We have also met a lot of interesting people, raised a lot of awareness – oh and saved a lot of local animals’ lives, as if that were an afterthought, which it is not. It is everything. Around 180 lives saved, rescued, homed is a lot of lives, however you look at it.

Every time I think I cannot find the time to do something for my free work, I think of the animals and I make the time. My little foster fur babies love the bejeebers out of me. One of them, Shiloh, named because she is so painfully shy, has finally, after about three months of living at Solace, allowed me to lightly touch her on the side of her body or, if I’m sitting down, actually be able to stroke her. If we had not taken her in, she would have been classified as ‘unadoptable’ and we all know what that means. I do know that she has a lot of love in her to give, she just needs to learn how to trust. I will continue working on that and hope, one day, to be able to find her own family that she can love and trust. If not, then I’m sure she will find mine perfectly acceptable. We are likely the only human love and touch she has ever experienced, so patience is key and I have learned a lot about that too during the last several months.

This past weekend was our Swiss Sausage BBQ and Silent Auction at the new wine bar and deli in Soledad, aptly named Taste of the Pinnacles. The owner kindly offered for us to barbecue at his place and invite folks over to see his new venue, listen to music in the garden and raise money for our animals at the silent auction. It was quite a sight to behold. Local people came by in droves and spent their hard-earned cash for our benefit. The sun blazed down, the wine poured and the music played. It was the most splendid of splendid of afternoons. Then I learned more, as I do, seemingly, every time we host one of these events, and made a note to self that I must find a way not to have to keep schlepping items around to and from events as I have been doing for too long now. My next moneymaker will be an Executive Raffle and Live Auction — (I decided this at about 8:30 Saturday evening when the auction closed at 6 p.m. with lots of stuff sitting there and waiting to be claimed) – must be present to win. I think that is a winning idea and one that will save me and my husband from going crazy at the end of the day. But, no complaints allowed, I think of the animals and I know that is all that matters.

At the event, we had folks interested in helping us apply for grants. We had fosters popping up who had been looking for a cause to seek their teeth into and we had another local company offer to host an event for us in the summer. When you start something good with the best of intentions, others will want to join you and enlarge the cause. This is how amazing things can happen in small communities and how villages become even stronger.

Thanks must go to all the Animal Champions and South County Animal Rescue Board Members who assisted with the events and, in many cases, their long-suffering spouses, friends, family and partners who were “volunteered” to help out with our event – whether with barbecuing, schlepping, cleaning up or whatever was required on the day. We needed every one of you. Thanks to Fred and his crew at Taste of the Pinnacles for letting us take over for the day and even paying us toward our cause. To the awesome band, can’t wait to see you again on June 11 at Manzoni Wines, the site of our summer fundraiser. And to all the animals who rely on us for food, help, love and all they need. We love you all so much and you are the reason we do what we do.

Lucy Jensen is a local REALTOR and president of South County Animal Rescue. Check out its new website

Lucy Jensen
Soledad Columnist

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