C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Happy Tails Event Celebrates 15 Years of Supporting Pet Families on the Central Coast

On Saturday, Ma­­y 18, C.A.R.E.4Paws hosted its third Happy Tails Celebration & Fundraiser at the Music Academy in Montecito, raising $165,000 to assist animals and pet families in need. The event marked the nonprofit’s 15th year of working in underserved communities on the Central Coast to keep pets healthy, out of shelters and with the people who love them.

“We loved the pawsitive energy and are so grateful for the incredible support for our event,” says C.A.R.E.4Paws’ cofounder and executive director, Isabelle Gullö, explaining that the $165,000 raised was a combination of event sponsorships, live auction proceeds, donations and ticket sales. “The money will help thousands of families with critical services such as spay/neuter surgeries, veterinary care, vaccines, pet food and supplies. Together, we’re creating safety nets that help prevent pet homelessness and improve pet family welfare.”

The event featured vegetarian food by Catering Connection, local wines, craft beer by Rincon Brewery along with C.A.R.E.4Paws’ signature “meowgaritas.” Also, guests enjoyed guitar music by Jesse Rhodes, a live auction by Auctioneers for Good and a presentation about C.A.R.E.4Paws’ community work, which included heartfelt video testimonials, or “happy tails,” from families that the organization has helped. One such happy tail was from Lucia Trujillo, whose senior dog Luckie has received pet food, supplies and veterinary services from C.A.R.E.4Paws as well as foster care while Lucia was temporarily hospitalized after surgery. “Luckie is my service dog and trusted companion,” says Lucia, who attended the event with her sweet pup. “For us, C.A.R.E.4Paws is not just a strong support system, C.A.R.E.4Paws is family!”

Since 2009, C.A.R.E.4Paws has supported several hundred thousand low-income, senior, disabled and unhoused community members with a range of resources. This includes free and low-cost wellness services through the organization’s Mobile Community Medicine & Spay/Neuter Outreach program, which was expanded from Santa Barbara County to San Luis Obispo County in 2022. In 2023 alone, operating out of two mobile clinics, C.A.R.E.4Paws assisted 17,500 dogs and cats with spays/neuters and other essential care. Also, since 2020, the organization has provided more than 4 million pet meals to families struggling financially and it supports pet families exposed to domestic violence through Safe Haven.

“Without access to affordable services and pet food, many families make the difficult decision to relinquish their pets to a shelter to ensure the animals receive essential care,” says Gullö. “Also, without the availability of free spays/neuters, many dogs and cats stay unaltered, adding to our pet overpopulation problem. C.A.R.E.4Paws intervenes in this crisis by ensuring that financial difficulties, lack of transportation or language barriers don’t get in the way of animals receiving the care they need to stay healthy and with their families.”

If community members and local businesses would like to support the Happy Tails event after the fact, C.A.R.E.4Paws is still promoting mobile clinic sponsorships for its 26-foot mobile veterinary unit as well as the chance for people to have their dog’s and cat’s portrait featured on the clinic exterior as well as on C.A.R.E.4Paws’

community programs vehicle, a Ford Transit. The opportunity includes a professional photo shoot with Valerie Villa from Image by Valerie. Pricing varies depending on the placement and which vehicle. To learn more about these opportunities, email info@care4paws.org.

For more information about C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Happy Tails Celebration & Fundraiser and to view photos from the event, visit care4paws.org/happytails. To learn more about C.A.R.E.4Paws, visit care4paws.org.

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