Author Archives: Nicholas

I’m buying the shirt off my back!

We stopped by your Rancho Coastal Humane Society Thrift Shop at 120 Aberdeen Drive in Cardiff by the Sea to check out a new sofa, matching chairs, and ends tables that had been donated the day before. Other Brian had taken “The Beast” (our big truck that we use to pick up donations) and got it all in a single trip. The people who donated it could not have been happier.

After giving the chairs a sample sit, we went searching for Thrift Shop Manager Brian Cook. Other Brian said he had seen him arranging the jewelry but when we got to the display case we heard him chuckling in the Men’s Wear department.

Hey Brian. What’s up?

“This still makes me laugh. A couple came to the Thrift Shop with several items to donate. She had a microwave, a laptop computer, used kitchen appliances, and some clothing she didn’t wear anymore because she had lost weight.”

What’s funny about that?

“It was her husband. On the way in he walked through Sporting Goods and bought a wet suit that looked brand new. He checked out a big screen TV that had just come in the day before. I mean…he was enjoying himself, but something just wasn’t right.”

Did you ever find out what it was?

“A few days later, there he came. He asked if there was a place where we could talk. We went back by the musical instruments where a girl was testing out a guitar. He told me he wanted to buy back some of the stuff his wife donated. He wanted his Ladainian Tomlinson jersey, the boots that he finally got broken in the way he liked them, and the flannel shirt that he always wore to the beach. He didn’t want a price break. He knew that whatever he paid for it would help the animals. He just wanted his stuff back.”

Did he get everything?

“There were a few of the things that had already sold, but he got almost everything he wanted. He even made an extra donation to Rancho Coastal Humane Society in exchange for me keeping my mouth shut the next time his wife comes in.”

Brian explained that, as much fun as he had helping the man, the best part of his job is that every donation and every item sold helps the animals. That flannel shirt helped to pay for a surgery. The boots provided care for the pet of a domestic violence victim. His Chargers jersey bought the pet food that a veteran needed so he could keep his cat.

Rancho Coastal Humane Society’s Thrift Shop is at 120 Aberdeen Drive in Cardiff by the Sea. If you have items to donate you can drop them off at the Thrift Shop or call 760-753-0970 to arrange for pick up. Be sure to “Like” Rancho Coastal Humane Society Thrift Shop on Facebook.

The money raised at the Thrift Shop helps people and animals when they need it most. We have to be successful. Every animal deserves a tomorrow. ®

We hear this every doggone week

cat therapyIt might be in the lobby at your Rancho Coastal Humane Society. It could be a phone call. One of our staff members stopped to get a Slurpee on her way home from work when someone noticed her Rancho Coastal shirt and said, “I’ve always thought my dog would make a great therapy dog!”

Maybe you’re right! Maybe you have the next great Pet Assisted Therapy (PAT) dog, cat, rabbit, parrot, guinea pig, or snake.

RCHS Volunteer Coordinator Mary Pilon also oversees the Pet Assisted Therapy program. Mary says, “Pet Assisted Therapy helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. For someone feeling as if the world is closing in on them, the unconditional love of an animal….an animal that doesn’t judge them…can change their life.”

Dogs are the most common therapy animals, but there’s room for more. “We recently had a group of first and second grade children visit the shelter to read to our animals. Some of the children were attracted to dogs while others preferred cats or rabbits. It only takes one animal to touch the heart of a person in need.”

Mary says you don’t just show up with your pet and walk into a school, hospital, extended care facility, or veterans’ home. “We need to make sure that PAT visits are suited for you and for your pet. We also need to know which visits are right for you. The animals have their preferences just like we do.”

Now is an ideal time for to get involved in PAT or start again. Mary points out that the PAT schedule is a little bit lighter in the summer, but that we still need PAT volunteers and pets. “During Summer Animal Camp we introduce the campers to the trained PAT animals. This is experience with animals accustomed to being handled by people they don’t know. For people and pets that have never been certified for PAT, this is a great time to start the process so they’re ready to start making visits this fall.”

Mary tells us that the Volunteer program is investigating opportunities for younger children accompanied by their parents. “We’re looking into a Mommy and Me or Daddy and Me program that would allow younger children to volunteer at RCHS with their parents. Watch the website and Fetch for updates.”

RCHS does not charge for PAT visits. You can’t put a price on love. But we do accept donations to help support the program. For more information about the Pet Assisted Therapy program visit RCHS at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas, call 760-753-6413, or log on to

Orson still needs you to lend a helping paw

OrsonOrson is almost two years old. He’s a 35 pound, male, English Setter mix. And he needs your help.

It’s like that old song says. “If it weren’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.”

When he was a puppy, someone found him abandoned beside a freeway in Cabo. They picked him up and he eventually made his way to our adoption partners at Baja SAFE rescue. They transferred him to your Rancho Coastal Humane Society through FOCAS.

When we noticed a limp on his right front leg we ran some tests and found that one of the bones in his lower leg was too short. We don’t know if it’s because of an injury or if it just formed that way. Not only was it causing him pain and forcing him to limp, because he was favoring the front leg he was developing a problem in his rear legs.

Orson was adopted by a family. They knew that he would need surgery. They agreed to have him taken care of and went home to live happily ever after.

Several months later, they brought him back. He hadn’t had the surgery and his leg was worse than ever.

Orson still needs the surgery. We’re asking for donations to help pay for his medical treatment. Our estimated cost is going to be between $5,400 and $5,800.

Orson needs the surgery if he’s ever going to lead a full life.

You can make a donation by clicking here.


You can make a general donation to any of our programs or a specific donation to help Orson by making a note in the Comments section that says “Medical and / or Orson.”

For more information or to make a donation to help Orson and the other dogs, cats, and rabbits call 760-753-6413, visit your Rancho Coastal Humane Society at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas, or log on to

Editor’s note: I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with Orson. It’s amazing, after all he’s been through, that he is still one of the most loving and gentle dogs you will ever meet. His new family will think they’ve won the lottery when they adopt him. As for Orson, he’s already won. He’s at RCHS and just one step away from his forever home.

I’m out of money, but my best buddy is still hungry

homeless-man-with-dog-and-signThere’s an old movie line that goes, “If we’re not growin’ we’re not livin’.”

As much as we would love to tell you that there are no more hungry pets since your Rancho Coastal Humane Society opened the Community Pet Food Bank in November of 2012, that’s not the case. But many of the people and pets we’ve helped tell us that they can’t imagine their lives without us.

RCHS President Jim Silveira says, “When we opened the Community Pet Food Bank in 2012 our immediate goal was to help struggling pet owners. We knew that was possible, but that there were bigger problems. We’ve always been looking to the future.”

The announcement we sent out about the opening of the Community Pet Food Bank said, “Seniors living on fixed incomes, the working poor, people with disabilities or terminal illnesses, and the homeless will benefit when Rancho Coastal Humane Society expands the services of its Community Pet Food Bank starting Saturday, November 3. Homeless and financially disadvantaged pet owners are invited to pick up free pet food and other supplies.”

“We hadn’t even opened the pet food bank and we were thinking about people who had so little, but they were already sharing everything they had with their pets,” says RCHS Volunteer Coordinator Mary Pilon.

Jim adds, “Pets give unconditional love and they make life seem somewhat normal for someone living on the streets, on a fixed income, or working poor. Homeless shelters aren’t equipped to take pets so their owners stay on the street, share their meals, or go without food so their pets can eat.”

The National Coalition for the Homeless says homeless pet owners avoid veterinary care because they’re afraid they won’t get their pets back. Each year the Community Pet Food Bank at RCHS works with area veterinarians to offer free examinations and vaccinations for dogs and cats.

Mary says, “We’ll have leashes and collars, blankets, flea treatment, and more. RCHS has received lots of donations, but this problem is not going away anytime soon. We’re asking people to give. Give until it feels good.”

The Community Pet Food Bank at RCHS is open the first and third Saturday per month from 9:00 to 11:00 AM at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas. Donations to the Community Pet Food Bank can be made any time. For more information and to learn about other distribution locations visit RCHS, log on to, or call 760-753-6413.

This is the “Slow Time” in our Humane Education program…right?

campers-kennel-222x300We all think we’re a bunch of doggone comedians. But, to be honest, it’s kind of surprising that your Rancho Coastal Humane Society’s Humane Educator, Lizzie Hart, doesn’t have a basket of water balloons by her front door for the next smart Alec who teases her about her “slow time” of the year.

As always, Spring Animal Camp was full before it began. For that matter, Summer Animal Camp doesn’t start until June 26th and it was half full before Spring Camp started.

So Lizzie must be sitting on her hands, watching the grass grow, and trying to figure out how to fill her time until Summer Camp starts, right?

Actually, that couldn’t be farther from the truth! Let’s start with the clamoring kids at the shelter every afternoon. Lizzie tells us those are the Kids Community Service participants. They’re here to learn while donating some of their time to help the animals. Just like Animal Camp, KCS fills up well in advance. Parents who want their kids to take part in KCS next school year need to check into availability now.

It’s not just after school when Lizzie is up to her ears in excited children. She also offers Humane Education Birthday Parties with hands-on animal experiences for kids. Rancho Coastal Humane Society is a great place to have your child’s next birthday party. There are a variety of packages to suit your needs for children age 6 and up. No matter which package you choose, they all include plenty of time with friendly shelter pets.

We don’t mean to sound like a broken record (or a skipping CD,) but the schedule fills up fast. Don’t wait to plan your child’s birthday party. There can be up to 20 youngsters per party. All of the activities are designed for the age of the birthday boy or girl.

We don’t schedule parties during Spring, Summer, and Fall Camp.

Click HERE to see the details and options.

When you’re ready to schedule a truly unique birthday party experience for your little animal lover contact Lizzie Hart at 760-753-6413 or [email protected].

all about the animals

Thank YOU for naming this 2017 Celebration of Second Chances

all about the animalsWe agonize over this every year.

We set a date for the annual Celebration of Second Chances benefiting your Rancho Coastal Humane Society. We want to show you what we’ve accomplished since the last Celebration and show you that we deserve your continued support.

When our Celebration committee got together and we talked about what to call it this year, somebody said, “How much difference? It’s just like Rancho Coastal Humane Society. It’s all about the animals.”

Bingo! That’s it.

The 2017 Celebration of Second Chances benefiting your Rancho Coastal Humane Society will take place on Saturday, October 21st at the world famous Del Mar Country Club in Rancho Santa Fe.

This year’s theme is “It’s All About The Animals!”

During the last few Celebrations we’ve talked about how we started, how far we’ve come, and how we plan to grow in the future.

This year we’ll thank you for your support, thank our volunteers, and talk about what’s coming up next.

Here are the details:

Saturday, October 21st, 2017
At the Del Mar Country Club in Rancho Santa Fe
VIP Reception with RCHS President Jim Silveira from 5:00 to 5:30
Hosted Cocktail Hour from 5:30 to 7:00
Dinner and Program from 7:00 to 9:00

Tickets prices:

$300 for VIP level
$200 for individual tickets
Volunteers contact Mary for special pricing options

Please Save the Date so you don’t miss the 2017 Celebration of Second Chances benefiting your Rancho Coastal Humane Society…Where Every Animal Deserves a Tomorrow. ®

It was another first for people and their pets. Let’s do it again next year!

fashion flower fidosDogs were allowed in the world famous Carlsbad Flower Fields for the first time ever during “Fashion, Flowers, and Fido” on Thursday evening, April 6th! Fashion, Flowers, and Fido was held at The Flower Fields at 5704 Paseo Del Norte in Carlsbad.

In addition to the fact that people could walk their dogs through acres and acres of beautiful flowers, there was designer brand clothing from Carlsbad Premium Outlets, “Wag and Swag Bags” for (human) guests, a Doggie Beer Garden (not real beer,) and dogs available for adoption from your Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) escorting the models down the “catwalk.”

It was a first time event and it was on a school night. How did it go?

RCHS Events Coordinator Kelly Peters describes Fashion, Flowers, and Fido as an evening of Food, Foam, and Festivities. “We had high expectations leading up to the night. I mean, there was a fashion show, food tasting, and a beer garden. What’s not to like? Then the people started showing up. We counted more than 300 of them. We’re still a little overwhelmed by the response for this first time event. Some of us have been comparing it to the first 5K Paw Walk in the Garden. We were hoping for about 100 walkers, but ended up with 350. It’s interesting that, after 57 years in business, RCHS is becoming an animal shelter known for creating first time experiences for people and their pets.”

The Fashion Show included models walking down the “Haute Dog” runway wearing designer clothing from Carlsbad Premium Outlets, accompanied by dogs and puppies available for adoption at your Rancho Coastal Humane Society.

“About a third of the 300 guests brought their dogs to Fashion, Flowers, and Fido. The dogs were well behaved. Many of them took advantage of the opportunity to visit the Doggie Beer Bar. Their beverages were water based and offered a number of different flavors for dogs with discriminating tastes.”

Kelly says planning is already underway to make this an annual event. Please join us next year.

For more information about Fashion, Flowers, and Fido benefiting your Rancho Coastal Humane Society call 760-753-6413, visit the shelter at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas, or log on to

Click HERE for photos from the evening!

Start Your Day with Coffee and Bagel!

Cats-Side-by-SideWhen most people think about starting their day with Coffee and a Bagel, they get an image of that nice surprise in the staff room at the office, a quick stop at a coffee shop on the way to work, or starting a morning with a few friends.

Starting your day with Coffee and Bagel took on a new meaning at your Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) recently when two new cats were transferred to us through our FOCAS program from our adoption partners at Animal Friends of the Valley (AFV).

Coffee is a four year old, seven pound, spayed, female, Domestic Short Hair cat with a beautiful Calico coat. Unfortunately, stories like hers are far too common. Fortunately, Coffee’s story is going to have a very happy ending. When her owner died, the owner’s daughter took her in. Sounds ideal, right? It worked for a few months but there was always tension between Coffee and her new owner’s dog. Rather than take any chances with her safety, Coffee was surrendered for adoption four months later.

In the group cat room at AFV it didn’t take long for Coffee to find a friend. You couldn’t hope for a more purr-fect match. Coffee and Bagel!

Until Coffee met Bagel, she spent most of her time on top of a cat tree. She didn’t mind if someone wanted to pet her, but Coffee refused to come down. Whenever she was picked up and placed on a lower level, she immediately climbed back up her tower.

Bagel is a two year old, 10 pound, Domestic Short Hair with a brown Tabby coat. His background is much different. He was a stray before arriving at AFV. While Coffee wanted her privacy, Bagel loved attention. As soon as he met someone for the first time, he couldn’t wait to rub his face against them to see if they would pet him. He met Coffee and didn’t waste any time telling her that they were best friends.

Bagel is still Bagel. He loves everyone. But, thanks to Bagel, Coffee has come out of her shell. She’s a much friendlier cat than she was just a few weeks ago.

Coffee will do best in a home with adults. Bagel will do great pretty much anywhere. Remember to feed him and pet him when he asks and he’ll be a happy kitty camper. They can be adopted together or go on to be the King or Queen of their new homes.

If it’s not a good time for you to adopt a cat, dog, or rabbit please consider sponsoring one until it is adopted. For more information call 760-753-6413, log on to or visit RCHS at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas…where we believe every animal deserves a tomorrow. ®


Orson has one leg shorter than the other three

When Orson arrived at your Rancho Coastal Humane Society he limped on his right, front leg. One of the bones in that leg is shorter than the others. Because he’s favoring that front leg, he is also developing a problem in his hind quarters.

Orson needs surgery if he’s going to lead a normal life. It’s going to cost between $5,400 and $5,800. We need help.

Orson was abandoned on a freeway in Cabo. Our rescue partners at Baja SAFE transferred him to RCHS.

He was adopted by a family that said they would get Orson the surgery he needs. They didn’t. But they did return him to RCHS.

He can be adopted now if the family agrees to get him the surgery he needs. But, in the meantime, we’re asking for donations so we can make sure Orson gets his surgery and he can go on to lead a long, healthy life in his forever home.