The Coast News Group
Sharon Howland holds her dachshund Lulu, the Mascot for the eighth annual Bags & Baubles event in Rancho Santa Fe. FACE Executive Director Danae Davis expects more than 400 guests for their largest fundraising event of the year to help pets receive emergency veterinary care that pet owners cannot afford. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene
CommunityRancho Santa FeRancho Santa Fe Featured

FACE welcomes items for 8th annual Bags & Baubles

RANCHO SANTA FE — FACE’s eighth annual Bags & Baubles silent auction on April 29 is right around the corner. The event venue is a private estate in Rancho Santa Fe. The FACE Foundation, a nonprofit based in Sorrento Valley, is calling on all its supporters for any new or gently loved designer handbags, jewelry and accessories, such as sunglasses.

While Bags & Baubles offers a unique shopping experience, it is also supporting animals in need.

“FACE provides lifesaving grants to pet owners who can’t afford emergency veterinary care. We help with one-time emergency treatments for pets that have immediately life-threatening conditions,” Executive Director Danae Davis said.

An example emergency surgery that Davis cited was a dog swallowing a ball, otherwise known as a foreign body obstruction. If a pet does not undergo an emergency surgery, it won’t survive. 

According to Davis, many pet owners don’t realize that veterinarians need payment before any emergency treatment.

“If somebody can’t afford treatment or surgery, the most humane thing to do would be to euthanize the pet,” Davis said. “That’s unfortunate and, leaves the owners in a grieving state. So what FACE aims to do is end what we call ‘economic euthanasia,’ which is when somebody can’t afford to save their pet simply due to financial situations.”

Sharon Howland and her dachshund, Lulu, now 14, were recipients of a FACE grant in 2010. One day, Lulu was in severe pain, and Howland brought her to an emergency veterinary hospital in Carlsbad. Her previous veterinarian told Howland that Lulu had a lower back injury. That wasn’t the case at all. The emergency hospital revealed it was her dog’s neck.

“The hospital couldn’t let Lulu go home because she was suffering so bad,” Howland said with tears in her eyes. “I didn’t know what to do. Somebody at the front desk said there was a place called the FACE Foundation and I could apply for a grant.”

Within two hours, Lulu was in surgery and it was a success.

“Lulu was perfect after that — I mean there’s no way that I could have afforded the surgery,” Howland said. “My husband at that time was out of work, and we were really struggling. And I had already spent so much at the other vet on medication for Lulu’s back.”

Lulu is now the official mascot for Bags & Baubles.

Davis said that the Face Foundation works with more than 150 veterinary hospitals in San Diego County. Established in 2006, FACE began offering financial assistance in 2007. In its first year, it helped financially support 10 cases. Last year, they financially assisted more than 300 pet owners.

Davis suspects they will fund 350 grants in 2018.

“We’re growing exponentially as the cost of veterinary medical care rises — more people are unfortunately facing this economic situation,” Davis said. “But we’re thankful that the veterinary community is starting to know more about us.”

Bags and Baubles is one of the largest fundraising events for the FACE Foundation. This year, it’s expected that 400 guests will be in attendance.

In addition to donating new or gently loved designer pieces, sponsorship opportunities starting at $500 are also available at this time.  Those interested in a top-tier event sponsorship at $10,000 will have a mention on KUSI News on April 21.

To learn more about helping donations, sponsorships or even volunteer opportunities, call (858) 450-3223 or email [email protected] for more information.