Nonprofit helps fund medical treatment for pets

CAMP PENDLETON — Christmas arrived early for 9-year-old Taylor Bristow thanks to the Foundation for Animal Care and Education, or FACE. Last week the nonprofit provided funds for emergency veterinary treatment for her Yorkshire terrier, Anna, after she bolted out of the family’s front door and was run over by a passing truck.
Anna sustained broken ribs, a crushed pelvis and internal injuries. The family could pay for part of the bill — which was almost $7,000 — but not all.
Anna wasn’t just any dog, she was key to Taylor’s recovery from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, following a near fatal crash in 2007 that also left her older brother, Casey, with PTSD and younger brother, Andy, with serious brain damage and debilitating injuries that required multiple reconstructive surgeries.
“We lost our family dog just before the accident,” said Taylor’s mother, Robin Bourque, who serves in the Marine Corps. “Taylor was going through a bad time because of Andy, so we decided to get Anna. She bonded with her right away, dressing Anna in a onesie and taking her everywhere we went, including the grocery store, in a baby stroller.”
Bourque credited FACE, along with California Veterinary Specialists in Carlsbad, with not only saving Anna’s life but averting a setback in Taylor’s recovery from PTSD.
Now FACE is appealing to the public to support their Artists-4-Animals online auction, which is raising funds to support their mission of eliminating “economic euthanasia” by subsidizing emergency and critical veterinary care for responsible pet owners.
“The perilous situation that Robin was facing while trying to save Anna from euthanasia is something that we deal with every day,” said Stacy Steel, executive director. “These tragic life and death choices are something we hope no family has to make.”
The online auction, which ends Nov. 30, showcases designer pet feeding stations created by some of North County’s most celebrated artists. Each objet d’art combines whimsical themes with a variety of media, colors and textures. The pet feeding stations are available in two sizes.
“These are a ‘must have’ for all pampered pooches and coddled kitties,” Steel said. “They make a fabulous one-of-a-kind holiday gift for any pet lover.”
Danny Salzhandler, board president of the 101 Artists’ Colony in Encinitas, played an important role in recruiting artists.
“We have such a giving community of artists here in North County who respond to the needs of organizations like FACE,” he said. “Julie Ann Stricklin painted two pet feeding stations and also brought a few of her artist friends into the project saying how important it is for us to give back.”
Cini Robb of Rancho Santa Fe is board president of FACE.
“I would like to express my deep gratitude to all of the artists who so generously donated their time and talent to this project,” she said. “Each stand is a unique and beautiful work of art and a labor of love. The funds raised from Artists-4-Animals will help us save the lives of local family pets facing economic euthanasia.”
Steel explained that although FACE has never had to turn away anyone who has qualified for their program, the future is uncertain.
“Our budget this year was $17,500 a month,” she said.
“In October alone we granted more than $40,000 and November is on track to be same way. Our donations will need to keep up with high demand.”
Since its inception in 2006, FACE has given more than $640,000 in life-saving grants.
Earlier this week, Anna returned home from the hospital just in time for Thanksgiving. A new baby stroller Taylor selected for Anna’s homecoming was awaiting her.
“FACE has impacted my daughter’s life tremendously,” Bourque said. “When we went to visit Anna at the hospital she said, ‘Mom, I know exactly what I want to be when I grow up — a veterinarian.’”
Anna’s safe return also gives Bourque peace of mind as she prepares to deploy to Afghanistan in the new year.
To learn how FACE also helped Miguel, an Italian greyhound-Chihuahua mix, visit youtu.be/nPuxctpbuJU .
To place a bid or make a direct purchase to the Artists-4-Animals online auction, visit the website at face4pets.org. For more information, call (858) 450-FACE (3223).

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