Isabelle Gullo, executive director and co-founder of C.A.R.E.4Paws, holds the Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition outside C.A.R.E.4Paw
by Dave Mason

U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal presented a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition Friday afternoon to C.A.R.E.4Paws.

Isabelle Gullo, the longtime nonprofit’s executive director and co-founder, received the framed certificate from the congressman outside C.A.R.E.4Paws’ mobile clinic at the Santa Barbara Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Rep. Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, praised the nonprofit for its great work throughout Santa Barbara County for dogs, cats and pet owners in need.

U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal presents the certificate to Isabelle Gullo.

“We all know pets provide an increased quality of life for anyone who is lucky enough to have a pet. What you do for our community and everyone, I think is extraordinary. You do it graciously. You do it very generously, very selflessly,” the congressman said on an unseasonably warm but comfortable afternoon. 

Watching on were Chris Harris, the C.A.R.E.4Paws board president; Kathryn Courain, treasurer; and Carlos Abitia, co-founder and mobile clinic manager.

Everyone was socially distanced and wearing masks, but it was clear that the congressman was smiling.

“It is a real honor for me to present this certificate to you,” Rep. Carbajal told Ms. Gullo.

She replied, “Thank you so much. This is a great honor for us. We truly appreciate it.”

The congressman, who plans to return to Washington, D.C., in time for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ inauguration Wednesday, thanked Ms. Gullo and her associates for their hard work in fundraising and helping the community.

Ms. Gullo acknowledged that C.A.R.E.4Paws is a team effort. Last year the nonprofit distributed somewhere between 150 and 170 tons of free pet food and performed 2,000 free spay and neuter surgeries.

In 2020, the nonprofit provided general medical care for more than 2,000 pets.

In a normal year, C.A.R.E.4.Paws helps 5,000 families but saw that number triple in 2020 as needs grew during the pandemic, Ms. Gullo previously told the News-Press.

On Friday, she told Rep. Carbajal, “It really takes a village to make this work. So we appreciate your support.”