Lucy Jensen
Lucy Jensen

I was the co-founder of South County Animal Rescue (SCAR) back in January of 2016. At the time we were filling a large hole in animal rescue services in our area, and, since then, we have done over seven years of incredible work.

Sadly, there is plenty of rescue work for everyone and the need only increases, as more kittens are born and more dogs are abandoned when they become ill or aged, or just difficult and untrained. There is also the wretched practice of backyard breeding that we come across all the time and that, though illegal, remains largely unpoliced.

I was asked recently about a new rescue that has opened up in our local area with a similar logo, but different name to ours. I wanted to clarify that this rescue is separate from SCAR. It was founded by some of the original SCAR volunteers, who have branched out on their own and are doing their own work.

Again, sadly there is always more than enough rescue work out there for those brave folks who choose to walk in those shoes, and SCAR is happy to have the help out there in the field and aid the new group in their work.

This is not a race nor a competition. In the animal rescue world, all the groups need to help each other move toward the same goal — spaying and neutering as many dogs and cats as we can, educating the public about animal husbandry, and socializing and homing as many dogs and cats as possible, when they are abandoned and unloved.

In short, we are all working to save animal lives. Social media is a great medium for this. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of loving creatures smiling into the camera from Saint Elsewhere and hoping that someone will take a chance on them. Oftentimes, the shelters are crying out for help, especially from the rescue groups, to find a foster home for an animal and save its life.

We all know that they cannot indefinitely have an animal in their care with no interest shown in them. Unless they can find a transfer out to another rescue or a home to place in while their forever home is found, the result is something I don’t care to think about. It hurts my heart.

Early on in my rescue days, I was foster Mom to 11 dogs. I think some were actually mine at the time, but then my foster pup Mollie gave birth to 11 puppies, and it became complete pandemonium at my place. Fortunately, a good friend, who was also going to adopt Mollie once the puppies were weaned, took in the whole clan and successfully homed all the babies for us. That was one of the better rescue success stories that likely saved my sanity at the time.

These days I have seven doggies of my own, and I hadn’t contemplated being a foster Mother again, since my hands are usually quite full. However, this old chap on Facebook caught my attention. A local rescue was pleading for someone to take a chance on him. He was so sweet he deserved a second chance, but that didn’t seem to be happening and the clock was ticking.

Cooper, or Rufus as we call him, was a big old Shepherd with the most expressive eyes and such a sad demeanor. I reached out to one of the intake coordinators at SCAR and asked her if they could pull him and give him another chance at a happy life. Initially a foster was found, but then lost — and it was then that Solace needed to step up and be the safe harbor for another creature in need, just as we had done many a time before.

Poor old Cooper had several medical issues that were being treated, but he still sported the sweetest disposition. He just wanted to be with his humans — even his temporary ones — and close by the other dogs. He settled in quicker than I have about ever seen. Cooper soon started finding his legs — likely he had been chained up much of his life — and trying to understand what a treat or a ball might be and why the other dogs loved them so much. He loves going for car rides and likes to watch the cars behind through the back window. Though he is a large dog and getting stronger all the time, his loving nature shines through. I have already learned a lot from being his Foster Mom.

I hope that he will find his forever home and not round out a pack of eight at my place, but I’m OK if that turns out to be the case, because we will have saved his life and added another name and legacy to our rescue ranch, we call Solace.

SCAR and all the other rescues do fantastic and difficult work every day. They are mostly forced to fundraise in order for their rescues to function and they consist of teams of volunteers that spend most of their free time doing this amazing job. I take off my hat to all the groups whose goals are, ultimately, to save the lives of the innocent.

If you would like to support the group I founded, feel free to mail your donation to SCAR, P.O. Box 491, Soledad, CA 93960. Their annual fundraiser Pinot 4 Paws is right around the corner on June 25 at the Manzoni Vineyard and Tasting room on River Road in Gonzales. Tickets will be available for purchase in the very near future and every cent made goes to the care of the animals. It’s always a fun time with great food, live music, wine, book signings by yours truly and silent auctions.

Thank you so much for listening to my animal rescue banter. Should you be interested in becoming a foster parent, there is an application waiting for you at Check out their posts on social media also — there are many darling creatures crying out for love and another chance at a better life. Maybe you could step up in one way or another, or you know some one that needs an adorable fur ball in their life.

One thing I have learned about animal rescue is that the work is never done. There are always more animals than we can rescue and more need than we can ever fill. Thanks to all the Animal Champions out there for all you do under some of the most difficult circumstances on this planet. There’s a special place out there for you.

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Soledad columnist Lucy Jensen may be reached at [email protected].


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