Lucy Jensen

I was going to finish my traveler tales this week — my account of when we went to pay homage to the Queen of England and then what we did after that — but I got distracted. No, I felt the need to paint a portrait of something closer to home this week, a vignette of a small business and a nonprofit that are outreaching into the community in the most beautiful way. My travel tales can wait; this one cannot!

For those of you who know me, you also know that my charitable heart lies with the charity that I helped found back in 2016, South County Animal Rescue. I will happily donate to other charities that cross my path — especially if they are animal-related — but my SCAR has a piece of me that I can never take back; so, I always feel privileged to help them where I can, market where I can, donate and so on. Life without parole, as they say.

SCAR was looking for a place to host a nice doggie based “Howl’oween” fundraiser — pun intended — with costume contests, doggie games, merchandise and more. They hoped for a nice local winery location to invite them into their friendly setting, a destination where they could invite others in addition and where it would be a win-win for all.

Don’t forget that SCAR, though a nonprofit organization (that cost us blood, sweat, tears and more than a buck or two, way back when), does not grab the big marketing dollars that other rescues do. No one leaves their Carmel Beach home to SCAR or sells off a new Lamborghini and donates the proceeds to SCAR. Of course, the rescue would love that, but it doesn’t happen.

No, SCAR does the daily on-the-spot rescue work, picking up animals off the streets or taking in surrenders or litters or rehoming, assisting with vaccination clinics and spay and neuters; but they have to primarily fundraise to make this happen. This small group of volunteers must constantly come up with creative ways to make the funds it makes to be able to do the grass roots work necessary to fulfil the pledge of their mission statement.

I’m always stunned and amazed when they supply the latest numbers of rescues they have performed. There’s a special heaven for people of this caliber.

The Animal Champions of SCAR were struggling to find such a place; so, I asked around to try and be helpful. My friend told me that Rustique Wines off River Road was a very friendly locale. Maybe they would like to help.

The response was a simple “yes of course,” and there the annual SCAR “Howl’oween” fundraiser had found a home.

When SCAR has an event, I like to also take the opportunity to go along and sign a few of my books, so that I can go ahead and give them another donation — also watch their magic in action. As a local writer, I hope that this adds an added dimension to their fundraiser, if only that book or newspaper people might want to go along. In any case, the fundraiser had found its home for this year and the rescue could not be more delighted.

I went to the Pinot and Pumpkins farmer’s market at the Rustique Wines location over the weekend and there was a stunning crowd of people enjoying themselves. Music, food, vendors, location — and, of course, wine — greeted the people and I could not think of a nicer place to hold an event for SCAR. Room for the doggies and the people to get together, have a good time and make money for such a worthwhile local cause.

“Howl’oween” will take place Sunday, Oct. 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rustique Wines on River Road. Bring your favorite furry friend in a cute costume — prizes will be awarded! There will be doggie games, SCAR merchandise, raffles, food, popcorn, fun and wine. Fundraising is serious stuff, but it also needs to be fun — or the people will not come.

My little black terrorist called Stella (terrier, Schnauzer, dingo, cattle dog mix) has a Little Red Riding Hood costume coming in the mail and I have a feeling she may win “Best of Class.” Other friends of mine are already more excited about this than they are the real Halloween, and I understand why. Is there anything more fun than a dog in a costume? I think not. Well, books are pretty fun too, in my world.

So, if you love books and supporting local authors, please come by and take a look at those too. I will have “The Animals Teach Us Everything and Other Short Tails,” “Winston Comes Home” (second edition) and my latest tome about my sister, “The Rosebud and Her Brilliant Adventures” — all for sale at the event.

I love shopping in my area and supporting local ventures whenever possible. It feels like you belong to a cause much larger and more important than yourself. Maybe that is one of the reasons why we founded SCAR in the first place. We saw the need, we acted upon it, and we made it happen. Now, six years down the road with many animal lives saved, I am here to say that the baby I birthed all those years ago and with the best of intentions, now has a life of its own.

People understand the SCAR acronym, they appreciate the volunteers who put their life blood into the rescue and all it stands for and who will show up and support them when they need it. Next Sunday is one of those days, folks. Just because the holidays are coming does not need that the animal need is lessened.

For those of you familiar with the “Give a puppy for Christmas” promotions, you will know that, by New Year, many of those pups are turned back in once the family realizes that having a pup in the home is like having a newborn and there are many stages of life to go before you can just let them relax at your feet by the fire.

Feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions about SCAR, the Rustique event or my books. I would like to think I would have the answers.

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


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