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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.

Cat Of The Week – Josephine Baker

Female, Grey & White shorthair. DOB: 9/03/13

Josephine was rescued 5 months ago with her 6 kittens who were just one week old at the time. She was busy being a good mama cat but now that they’re grown and ready to be adopted, Josephine is ready to enjoy the good life she deserves.  She’s sweet and cherishes a nice warm lap and some pampering. Josephine’s coat is a soft grey and white, and when she steps out into the sun, her eyes shine like two emeralds. She will make a wonderful lifelong companion.

Dog Of The Week – Athena

Athena – Female, Corgi mix. DOB: 8/21/11. Wt: 21 lbs

Athena is Miss Social around the kennel and loves to be with other dogs. She behaves well, loves everyone and is friendly with strangers. She’s a happy soul who would be very loyal to her owner or family.

Athena’s quiet, gentle nature makes her the perfect family dog with children who would love her back. She’s house-trained with a doggie door and probably would be okay with cats. Athena is excited about the prospect of a new home with an affectionate family who will provide her with plenty of play time and socialization.

“Happy Tails” – Spirit

Nine years ago in July of 2005, Spirit came to Living Free. Because she required several medications, it proved difficult to find her a home. Then along came Becky Fears who fell in love with Spirit, adopted her and gave her a loving family.

At first, the adjustment of moving to Long Beach was hard – Living Free had been Spirit’s home since she was a puppy. It wasn’t long, though, before she settled in. She now enjoys her four beds placed strategically throughout the house. She gets daily walks and has two cat friends (they were not quite sure of her, but have slowly become her buddies). Spirit has many toys, but her favorite is Giffer The Giraffe that she sleeps with and carries everywhere. For fun, she’ll sometimes bury her food bowl, and any other toys nearby, in the back yard.

Spirit loves chicken jerky strips and will do anything for this special treat. Becky says that Spirit is a great companion and because Becky works from home, they’re together most of the time. Our warmest wishes go to Spirit, and to Becky for adopting her and giving her such a wonderful life.

Cat Of The Week – Kid Rock

Kid Rock – Male, Grey Tabby. DOB: 7/01/14

Kid Rock is a fun loving, happy young boy who has lots of friends at the Cattery. After a nice breakfast he spends time chasing and being chased by other cats. Then he climbs the nearest cat condo to play king of the hill. Kid Rock has a smooth, soft coat, white booties and big bright eyes. With the cooler weather upon us, he wisely finds the nearest warm cat to curl up with. Kid Rock would love to join a nice family so he can have his very own forever home.

Dog Of The Week – Chance

Chance – Male, Poodle/Terrier Mix. DOB: 10/23/12. Wt: 13 lbs.

Chance is a busy explorer of his environment. He has a playful personality so if you’re having a down day, just spend some time with him. He enjoys the company of other dogs, is friendly with strangers, and is house-trained with a doggie door. Chance has a beautiful coat that will require regular grooming in order to keep that handsome look.

He just wants a chance to show what a great companion he will be. Chance is looking for that owner who’ll show him love and affection in return for twice the love from him.