[KHTS] – Friends of Grand-Paws Senior Dog Sanctuary will host a family-friendly fundraiser with live music, face painting, food and raffles 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 1.
Guests are invited to sample a variety of mini spa services and meet senior dogs looking for new homes during the fundraiser.
All proceeds from the event, hosted by Joan Darlene, Sara Estey and Balance Point Spa, will benefit Grand-Paws Senior Dog Sanctuary in Agua Dulce.
Grand-Paws was founded in 2009 by Nancy Koch. The animal rescues specializes in saving large breed senior dogs, said Koch.
“It was never a thought until we saw an English Mastiff on television on one of those programs that feature pets to be adopted,” Koch said. “I just assumed she would be adopted because she was on TV. My husband and I love mastiffs. I kept calling on the dog and after a month when no one had adopted her we went down to the shelter to see her.”
When Koch and her husband, Bronco, arrived at the shelter they could tell immediately that the dog was old.
“She was found as a stray, so they didn’t know how old she was but we could tell, her muzzle was gray and she had a hard time getting up,” Koch said.
After the couple sat with the dog for a while and watched as people came to see her.
“They would say, ‘oh, she’s old’ and then they would walk away. We watched person after person come up, then walk away,” she said. “My husband said, ‘If we don’t take her, who will?’ That was the start of Grand-Paws.”
Maggie, the dog that started it all, lived with the Kochs until her death last year.
“She was the inspiration. Maggie is featured on our website and our business cards,” Koch said. “My husband then suggested we rescue more senior dogs.”
Koch said she doesn’t think her husband expected to rescue as many senior dogs as they have, but he has been supportive of her efforts.
“We didn’t know at the time that there was as big a problem as there is of senior dogs being dumped and abandoned,” she said.
Koch said there are very few senior dog sanctuaries.
“We can’t save them all, but we do what we can,” she said.
Koch keeps some of the dogs at her Agua Dulce acreage and some dogs are placed with foster families. Her facility currently is home to 12 dogs with nearly 20 dogs in foster homes.
All expenses for foster dogs, including food and veterinary care, are paid by Grand-Paws.
“There is nothing better than being in a real home,” said Koch. “The biggest need we have is for foster homes. You can make a difference by saving just one dog.”
Koch said that knowing she can’t save all senior dogs that need help can be “heart-breaking.”
“But I realize that I can only do what I can do,” she said. “Even when they pass away here, we realize that we made them happy for their time left. It is better than dying on cement floor or being put to sleep in a shelter.”
Koch said that for anyone, animal or human, the last years of your life should be the most comfortable, “the years where you are the most loved.”
“If we can give that to these dogs, give them some happiness for any amount of time at all, show them love, then it’s all good,” Koch said. “They’ve earned and they deserve it.”
The idea for the fundraiser came from Grand-Paws volunteer Joan Darlene.
“I’ve been a volunteer at many dog rescues,” said Darlene. “But I could really feel the love and devotion by Nancy for these dogs.”
Darlene said Koch hasn’t taken a vacation or been away from home in five years because of the need for 24-7 care for many of the senior dogs.
“I just knew I had to do something special for Nancy, and these dogs,” Darlene said. “I wanted to get her everything she dreamed of for these dogs.”
It took Darlene a concerted effort to get Koch to give her an extensive list.
“It took a lot of coaxing to get the list,” said Darlene. “Nancy is very humble and doesn’t like asking for help. Her commitment to these dogs is total and I think that someone as special as Nancy needs all the help we can give her to make these dogs comfortable during their final days. She is just amazing.”
Darlene said the classic rock band Meridian will play during the event, allowing guests the chance to dance along to their favorite tunes.
“I want everyone to know that 100 percent of all money raised will be donated to Grand-Paws,” said Darlene.
A raffle featuring prizes valued up to $450, including restaurant gift certificates donated by KHTS Restaurant Row and a $75 Salt Creek Grille gift certificate, will be held. Tickets are $10 per ticket, buy five tickets get one ticket free, buy 10 tickets and get three tickets free.
Spa services include a hand paraffin wax with massage for $10 and 15 minute mini back or foot massage is $15. Other services include a crystal healing bed with channeled message $25 (20 minutes) and mini manicures $10/gels $15.
Dogs eligible for adoption will also attend the fundraiser.
James Foster students help
Sixth grade students at James Foster Elementary School in Saugus decorated dog bowls that will be available for sale during the event.
“It was wonderful to see how much these students embraced this activity,” Darlene said. “The kids were priceless, the questions they asked, how much effort they put into decorating these bowls, it really made my day.”
Wish list donations
Tickets to the event are $10 each, with mini spa services extra. Admission is waived for each item donated from the “Wish List.”
Items include: Medium heated outdoor dog bed, assorted pet toys for large dogs, Nature’s Domain Grain Free All Life Stages Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato dog food, large dog biscuits, PetEdge Molded Plastic Dog Kennel Deck, Miracle Coat No Fly Zone for Dogs, Nutramax Cosequin DS Plus MSM chewable tablets, Merial Frontline Plus for Dogs, orthopedic grade extra large bed, dog blankets, Thundershirt dog anxiety treatment – large, x-large and xx-large, pet bed replacement cover, large steel-framed pet bed, large disposable male dog wraps and cooling pet neck band.
Darlene encouraged parents to bring children to the fundraiser to teach children about the joy of giving.
“This is an opportunity for parents to teach children about giving back,” said Darlene. “It’s about making a difference in the live so of these animals.”
Darlene said parents can take children to pick out an item on the wish list to bring to the event and have the child make the donation.
“Actually picking out an item that a dog doesn’t have, and needs, is a beautiful lesson,” she said. “Anyone can give money, but picking out an item is so personal.”
Grand-Paws Family Fundraiser
For more information about Grand-Paws or to foster a senior rescue dog email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 661-286-2066 or Grand-Paws Senior Sanctuary on Facebook.
The Grand-Paws Family Fundraiser will be held 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 1 at Balance Point Spa 18285 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country (cross street Solamint) www.balancepointspa.com. Grand-Paws Senior Dog Sanctuary is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit.
For more information about the June 1 fundrasier contact Joan Darlene of Healing Hands Reiki 805-338-7040 or Sara Estey 661-476-9584.