Wags n’ Whiskers in the Santa Barbara News-Press

Wags n’ Whiskers in the Santa Barbara News-Press

The goal of the Wags n’ Whiskers Festival is to get as many pets adopted over the course of a day, and in that regard Saturday’s fest met expectations, with around 30 dogs and cats going to new homes. While that number may be lower than last year’s festival, there’s thankfully a lower number of animals needing adopting in the county, according to Isabelle Gullö, festival director and cofounder of C.A.R.E.4Paws, the nonprofit that works on reducing pet

“We love the view and the breeze and it’s a terrific venue,” said Ms. Gullö
about the second year at SBCC’s West Campus lawn, and its ninth year in
total. Previously, the festival was held at Goleta’s Girsh Park.

Many rescue shelters set up a stall at the event to hopefully get their dogs
and cats (and sometimes rabbits) into new homes, while other nonprofits
offer dog training, pet grooming, wildlife rescue information, vet services
and, of course, a selection of animal toys and merchandise.

Folks and their pets could also get a photo taken at the “Pupperazzi” booth.
And Little Star, a miniature therapy horse, along with Little Orphan Hammie,
a potbellied pig, made guest appearances during the day.

All pets adopted Saturday were already spayed or neutered, and vaccinated.
Many were microchipped, saving new owners many hundreds of dollars.
Stacy Silva and Santa Barbara County Animal Services were on hand to
promote volunteering at the shelter and various adoption services. They
brought 12 adoptable dogs to the fest.

“Our numbers have started to climb,” Ms. Silva said about, attributing that
to school starting, parents getting pets for kids who don’t have time to look
after them, and unfixed pets getting out into the neighborhood.

To combat that, October adoption rates are 50 percent off, and Wednesdays
feature $10 cat adoptions.

“This is the largest pet-related festival in Santa Barbara County that we
participate in,” Ms. Silva said. “And it’s grown over the years and keeps
getting better. It’s a chance for pet owners to discover resources they didn’t
know existed.”

That, she said, includes various shelters, and many low-cost spay and neuter
options. There are also resources for those on low or fixed incomes to help
with the cost of a pet, so people don’t have to give up a loved one purely for
financial reasons.

The Humane Society’s Erica Jackson was hoping to get her dozen dogs
adopted, including dogs that came from Houston after Hurricane Harvey –
not because of neglectful owners, but because of flooded shelters.

Jill Anderson, of ShadowsFund, helps pit bulls and senior dogs, the most
vulnerable kinds out there. The nonprofit’s stall was popular because of the
numerous puppies available for kids to play with (and one of the few with a
shade structure on a hot day).

Over at the ResQcats stall, all five of their kittens were adopted by 1 p.m.,
which delighted founder Jeffyne Telson. The last kitten of the day brought
the nonprofit’s total number of adoptees at 2,800.

Marcie Kladnik is the foster mom for these cats, getting them socialized
before the festival. She said goodbye to the cats as they left with new

“You have to see (yourself) as a stepping stone,” Ms. Kladnik said. “After
every goodbye it leaves a space for another (kitten).”
The average cost per kitty, Ms. Telson said, was $400, but for owners it is
only $100. Ms. Telson thanked News-Press co-publisher Wendy P. McCaw for
helping out with a medical grant.

“It’s huge, and really helps us do what we do,” Ms. Telson said.
For the first time, the festival put on a Best in Show competition with a
fashion and talent portion, hosted by News-Press co-publisher Arthur Von
Wiesenberger. One of the winners was Lucy, a charming chihuahua in a pink

Original Article:


Wags n’ Whiskers in Noozhawk

Wags n’ Whiskers in Noozhawk

By Julia Lee

Santa Barbara City College’s West Campus really went to the dogs on Saturday.

Of course, it also went to the cats and even bunnies as the nonprofit C.A.R.E.4Paws held its annual Wags n’ Whiskers pet adoption festival.

The free event featured more than 20 shelters and rescue organizations, as well as pet supply stores and other animal-related businesses and sponsors. On a sweltering autumn day, the festival drew an estimated 1,000 visitors.

“The goal was to create a network where all the local rescues, shelters and animal groups, as well as pet service providers, will be working to reduce pet overpopulation and keeping animals out of shelters,” Isabelle Gullo, founder of C.A.R.E.4Paws, told Noozhawk.

The event provides an opportunity to share the work of the different local animal welfare groups and showcase their adoptable animals outside of the typical shelter environment.

Pug Nation Rescue of Los Angeles was set up with pugs and other dogs for adoption. GiGi, one of the organization’s pugs, lost the use of her back legs after being spayed by a veterinarian. Her last owner had to give her up for adoption.

“I tend to adopt the older kind of unwanted dogs because I feel like I can offer them a really good home,” said Cate Lyon, who traveled from Walla Walla, Wash., to adopt.

“And I think a lot of times when you see the puppies and younger dogs up for adoption, I’m like, ‘Oh, they’ll get adopted really quick, they don’t need me.’”

Gesturing to GiGi, she added, “These guys need me.”

Gullo said Wags n’ Whiskers was not limited to adoptions.

“The overall goal really is to create awareness about what we’re doing here as a whole in the animal community, to help pets in need and pet owners in need,” she said. “It’s not just about the dogs, cats and bunnies that need homes, but it’s really about preventing unwanted litters of kittens and puppies and bunnies.

“And ensuring that we have programs in place that keep pets in their homes, and so if we approach it from those two angles, we’re going to have a drastically reduced shelter population.”

Gullo began volunteering in 2006 at the Santa Barbara County Animal Services shelter in Santa Barbara.

“We were obviously trying to promote adoptions and we adopted out a lot of animals, but we would adopt out three and six would come in to take their place,” she recalled.

“A few of us had this idea of wanting to actually prevent them from ending up homeless in the first place. We looked at all the reasons why pets end up homeless and we created programs to tackle those issues. And that’s when C.A.R.E.4Paws was born. That was 2009.”

The county animal shelter in Santa Barbara was caring for about 120 dogs a day in 2006. Today, it houses about 20 dogs.

The C.A.R.E.4Paws festival has adopted out an average of 30 to 40 pets each year, Gullo said. This year, there were 27 adoptions, with additional adoption applications pending.

This year’s festival included contests and performances, as well as an inaugural Best in Show competition, which involved a fashion contest, a talent contest and a lineup of rescues on the runway — promoting the idea of adoptable pets from the stage.

Original Article: