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We are Living Free

“Happy Tails” – Andy

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Look Who’s Going into to Service. Andy, formerly known as Rawson, was adopted last February by Paul and Laura Anderson of Hemet, CA. Paul and Laura had something special in mind when they went looking for a companion animal — Paul has been deaf since birth and they wanted to find the right dog to become a Service Dog for him. Paul is employed by Riverside County Office of Education as a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Itinerant/Specialist serving Hemet Unified School District where Laura teaches Second Grade at Bautista Creek Elementary School.

Paul and Laura visited several surrounding shelters but were uncertain about the dogs they met because the people in charge did not know the animals well enough to help them. The Andersons had heard of Living Free and visited to see if they could find a dog with the perfect temperament and size for their needs.

They were impressed with Edgar Santiago, the Kennel Supervisor, because he knew each dog so well. They felt comfortable knowing Edgar would guide them to make the right choice… and when Andy was brought to them, it was love at first sight. They’re not sure who picked who, but Andy is now an integral part of their family that includes two cats named Miss Kitty and Annie (who have allowed Andy to share their home).

Andy has had basic training and has learned to wake Paul in the morning when the alarm goes off and to let him know when someone is at the door. He’s also learned many words in sign language. Andy knows that when he has his service vest on he’s “at work”.

Paul assists school personnel and hearing-impaired children with their language development, understanding their hearing loss, and with instructional support to successfully assimilate into the regular classroom. The next step for Andy The Service Dog is specialized training to learn more complex techniques. Ultimately, Andy will be providing Paul with some support in his job. They want to be able to take him on trips such as cruises and to restaurants. Andy has already been on camping trips with them and enjoyed Doggie Day Camp on a recent trip to Texas.

We are proud of Andy. Thank you, Paul and Laura, for recognizing what a special dog he is and that he’ll be a loyal companion and true friend. Thank you, too, for having faith in Living Free and what we do.

Art To The Rescue


Please join us for an evening highlighting the rescue animals of Living Free, hosted by Heather James Fine Art in Palm Desert. Enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and world-renowned artwork, from the cutting-edge contemporary to classical masterpieces while learning about the Sanctuary. We will have pet adoptions on hand (although personal pets will not be allowed).

Admission is free but please RSVP to Miranda at the gallery: miranda@heatherjames.com. (760) 346-8926.


SARA. Female, DSH  Black Torti. DOB: 6/01/14

Sara is a fur ball of energy and excitement, her nickname being “Catch Me If You Can”. When approached by visitors, she darts away hoping to be chased. Since no one can keep up with her, she comes back to coax you into a game of tag. After pronouncing herself the winner, Sara returns once again to allow you to pet her. Most of the time she’d rather play than sit still, but she has her quiet moments when she appreciates curling up in your lap.

Sara has a soft coat with beautiful markings and big, bright eyes. She’d love for you to stop in and play with her the next time you’re at Living Free.

Dog Of The Week – Van Gogh

Van Gogh. Male, Terrier Mix. DOB:1/15/12. Wt: 10 lbs

Van Gogh is a big name for a little sweetheart. This guy’s gentle, loves to cuddle and gets along with the other dogs. He enjoys walking and romping in the park.

Van Gogh is house-trained with a doggie door. He wants to be a loving and constant companion to the right family or owner.

Cat Of The Week – Mr. Chaplin

Male, DSH Black & White. DOB: 10/08/13

Mr. Chaplin is a new rescue who, and after a brief period of time getting acclimated here, is now one of the more playful boys in the Cattery. Chaplin enjoys chasing and wrestling with his other “cat buddies” and anyone else who’ll join in. He’s a growing boy with a big appetite and usually takes a quick nap after breakfast before playing again. He can be a little shy at first, but once he gets to know you, he becomes a true friend. He has soft black & white fur, and enjoys brushing and a good back scratch. Chaplin would love to meet you the next time you visit Cattery #2.

Dog Of The Week – Cassius Clay

Male, Boxer. DOB: 8/8/11. Wt: 40 lbs

Cassius is high-spirited, playful and loves to be with people. His big brown eyes express his intelligence and desire to learn, which is just what he needs to become the best dog he can be. He does well with other well-socialized dogs and is house-trained with a doggie door. He loves to run and play in the park where he can work off some of that energy.

Cassius may be a little too much for very young children, and will need an owner or family that can provide training and activities to keep him occupied. He is waiting to show his unwavering loyalty and affection to that special family who chooses him.

In Memory of Joan Fagan


In September of this year, Living Free lost a cherished member of its family. Joan Fagan had served as volunteer Executive Director from 2000 to 2007, and steered the Sanctuary through its most difficult times. Emily Jo Beard’s son, Chris Watts, stated recently, “Joan saved this place.”

Joan was an unwavering advocate for animals and staunch supporter of Emily’s ideals and the Sanctuary’s mission. After her departure in 2007, Joan remained on the Board until 2012, and served as an advisor until the time of her death. After her retirement and move to Paradise, California, Joan continued to do whatever she could for the animals, volunteering at a local rescue there. Most recently, she called our attention to the plight of a herd of wild mustangs known as the Sheldon Warhorses, and the Sanctuary is now developing an initiative to provide refuge for some of these animals as a result.

She tirelessly volunteered her services throughout her tenure, and her legacy will live on with the establishment of the Joan Fagan Volunteer of the Year Award. This award will be based on peer selection, and go to the volunteer who best exemplifies Joan’s dedication to the animals and support of the Sanctuary’s mission.

Joan Fagan will always remain a part of Living Free. She is greatly missed, but never forgotten.


“Happy Tails” – Chance (Formerly Vance)

Jill & Jay Danna were visiting friends in Idyllwild in late November. It wasn’t part of the plan to adopt a dog that weekend, but when they went to the town’s tree lighting ceremony and stopped by Living Free’s booth, they were immediately struck by how mellow Vance was. For the next three hours, the kept going back and decided that he was the dog for them. So, Vance went home with them and was immediately accepted as a family member by their 4-year-old granddaughter Evelynn, their special needs cat James, and their wily old Chihuahua named Mighty.

Jill says, for Chance, everybody is a friend and she’s not sure who rescued who. Chance and Evelynn have become best buddies – he’s the first to greet her when she comes home from school. He’s affectionate and loves to snuggle, always looking for ways to get closer. He’s gotten into a little trouble, like nibbling on the Christmas Tree cords and on one, defenseless Barbie doll. Jill is looking to train Chance so he can run in the field near their home and ride on their boat on the Colorado River. She’d also like to train him to become a therapy dog so they can visit retirement homes. A gentle, loving dog like Chance will brighten the days of so many senior citizens.

Thank you, Jill and Jay, for giving Chance another chance, and for giving him the love of your wonderful family.


“Happy Tails” – Wrangler

Diane, Wrangler, Abbey - CopyAbbey, Randy, Wrangler

Wrangler was adopted on September 18 by Diane Kalp. Diane was mourning the loss of her beloved Golden Retriever, Rusty, who died in July when she saw Wrangler’s “Dog Of The Week” photo in the paper and was immediately taken by it – a shy, gentle guy with big brown eyes that just wanted to be loved. On the website, she learned more about him and then made the visit to Living Free.

Diane said Edgar and Angela at the Kennel could not have been more helpful. They brought out several dogs but Diane believed her dog Rusty wanted to “pay if forward” and that Wrangler appeared in the paper at just the right time, just when she had room in her heart for another dog.

Diane had reservations about taking Wrangler from the only home he’d ever known. She loved the adoption bell and said she wanted to cry when it rang. She would never adopt from a breeder again and encourages others to adopt a rescue dog. “Wrangler is awesome, an old soul that I dearly love.”

Now, when Diane comes home from work, he’s the first to greet her. He has the company of her Sheltie, Abbey, who was also mourning the loss of Rusty. With Wrangler to the rescue, Abbey was able to stop moping and is happy again. Wrangler loves his evening walks, going to the dog beach and accompanying Diane to her ranch where he spends time around her horse and other animals. Thank you, Diane, for giving the gift of love to Wrangler.

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