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Zooinitas art raises money for the animal safehouse program

ENCINITAS — Zooinitas brought together animal-inspired art, adoptable pets and information on the animal safehouse program at its opening reception on July 26.

Wildlife paintings, photographs and sculptures by 16 juried in artists lined the Encinitas Library community room gallery, while live painting and dogs ready for adoption filled the adjacent outdoor patio.

“I decided I wanted to created something animal related to give back to community,” Cheryl Ehlers, event organizer and artist, said. “I picked the animal safehouse program. It’s unlike any other program in the county with the exceptional far reach it has.”

The animal safehouse program accepts pets from domestic violence victims and injured military and elderly who are recovering and unable to take care of their animals.

The safehouse provides temporary care for pets while people get back on their feet.

More than 75 percent of pets are reunited with their owners.

Pet owners who can no longer care for their animals have the option of putting them up for adoption.

The safehouse program allows people to recover and move forward with their lives. The program was first formed in 1997 to house pets of domestic violence victims and has expanded on a case-by-case basis to serve military and elderly in need.

About 150 animals are cared for through the program each year. There is no charge for services.

The idea of the fundraiser was to draw attention to the need for the animal safehouse program through the arts.

“The power of art is able to do that,” Ehlers said.

“It’s a fabulous tool to get people together. It’s so beautifully universal.”

Many artists donated several paintings to the auction fundraiser that was held during the reception.

“There are two pieces I’m donating,” artist Krista Timberlake said. “We’re trying to raise money for the puppies. I love animals of all kinds.”

Rancho Coastal Humane Society foster volunteers brought adoptable dogs to pet and cuddle.

Among the dogs up for adoption were Zoey, a 2-year-old poodle mix, and her 7-week-old puppy Joey. Zoey and her puppy were brought to the Rancho Coastal Humane Society from the Escondido Humane Society.

Due to Zoey’s protectiveness of her puppy the shelter environment was too stressful for her.

Rancho Coastal Humane Society foster volunteer Jody Zuraitis took Zoey and her puppy into her home for care.

Zoey’s photo and adoption information are posted on the Rancho Coastal Humane Society website, but her care is given off site.

“Foster volunteers help get them a home and socialize them,” Zuraitis said. “It’s a fun experience. You fall in love with them.”

The foster care program is one of numerous programs the humane society provides.

“For any animal a kennel is stressful,” Amy Heflin, manager of the animal safehouse program, said. “They know it’s not home.”

“We put animals in a foster home if possible.”

Animals are also provided with needed medical care, vaccinations and spaying and neutering.

“We treat each animal as if it’s our own,” Heflin said.

The Zooinitas exhibit will run through Aug. 24. Information on Rancho Coastal Humane Society services is available at the Encinitas Library.


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