Lucy Jensen
Lucy Jensen

The first time I caught sight of her she was in bad shape. I’m no expert on this particular species, but I know suffering when I see it. I offered her unkind owner good money for her to come and live with me. Line in the sand — no more suffering for her. She screamed when she was bought to Solace, and I could only imagine her fear. Come to find out she was blind and that must have made her terror even more marked.

I quickly discovered her love for strawberries, marshmallows and watermelon. Lettuce was also popular, also all measure of carbohydrates. Gradually the screaming stopped, and the appreciative grunting began. She would lean in for a back scratch and a little gentle rubbing behind the ears in the new world she called home.

She loved her peace and quiet, interrupted only occasionally in her quarters by a wandering chicken or a cuddling cat. She had no further interest in the outside world, happy to relax in the sun or snuggle under the copious piles of duvets and blankets that were bestowed upon her, like an old lady in her comfy chair by the window who had no more curiosity about the world beyond her cozy domain. Sometimes she would disappear entirely inside her sleeping bag, and I would find her wrapped up like a burrito in blissful contentment with her lot.

We named her after our daughter’s show pig, Sally. Equally black, but a little more trim and glossy was Sally Number 1. She won Reserve Grand Champion and FFA Champion at the 2014 Salinas Valley Fair. We really missed her when she left us. She had loved strawberries and marshmallows too. The vet came to trim this Sally’s hooves and check on her overall health. He said that she might live to be about 15 and she was likely close to that.

She must be 16 now and she’s still here. She’s slowed even more, if that is possible, and eats very little of her fruits and veggies, though she is still partial to a pastry or two and loves a bit of hot mash with extra syrup. I know she is still with us when I go into the backyard since I can hear her heartily snoring as soon as I step outside. It is the most heavenly sound — the noise of happiness, of being in your safe harbor in life and knowing you are truly home and loved, however late you are into this thing we call life.

Be kind to the animals. I struggle with those who are not. If you cannot be kind to the animals, then there is simply no hope for you as a human. Kindness is such a simple thing, and it comes back to you ten-fold if you embrace the animal world. I watch the rescue animals playing in my backyard, so happy and safe and loved and miles away from where they came from. It fills my heart with joy to know that I helped them get there. And I shall always do that and encourage others to do the same. What hope for any of us is there if we can’t do that?

South County Animal Rescue is holding a fundraiser benefit on Saturday, April 13, at the Fourth Street Tap House in Gonzales at 6 p.m. “Tunes, Pints and Paws” is what it’s called! Casas de Humo Barbeque will be smoking up a delicious pulled pork meal with sides of barbecue beans and potato salad. TNT & The Explosions will be rocking out to all the classic covers and their originals. And I will be joining the fun with my latest book release and golden oldies for sale as well. All to benefit the fur babies. Go to on social media and buy your $18 ticket. And if you think you need a new love in your life, there will be adoptable wagging tails on the patio ready to meet you and give you all the love you’ll ever need.

Thanks to all the businesses who recognize the need in our community and are willing to help small charities like SCAR and donate their precious resources to a cause larger than themselves. Thanks also to all the many volunteers who never get enough kudos for their incredible and selfless work. And to the Animal Champions in our communities — you are the best kind of humans, and I am proud to be in the presence of such greatness.

On the tail of this fundraiser — ahem — is another one — it never stops. I founded the charity in January 2016 and eight years on, we still have to graft on a near daily basis to keep the animals being rescued and vaccinated and spayed and neutered and homed. I am so proud of the work — truly my life’s work.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21, SCAR asks you to participate in some spring cleaning and deliver your excess stuff to California Gourmet Pizza at 235 West St. in Soledad from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Goodwill trailer will be there onsite, and SCAR gets paid for every trailer their supporters fill!

There is also going to be a community yard sale at the Riverview Estates on Metz Road on Saturday, April 20. Lots of goodies to be found there, including horse tack for you cowboys and gals out there! I will be hosting my own sale there onsite to benefit SCAR, so feel free to swing by and deliver your donations to me personally at Riverview from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (community sale will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

What a fun fundraiser spring we are already having, and thanks to everyone who chooses to help out with the love and care of the animals. We are not a charity that inherits large estates from people — though we would graciously accept those. We are not a charity that receives large bequests, an offer of a facility and a large and well-paid staff. No, we have no paid staff and no facility, as yet, but we do incredible work each and every day for the love of the animals.

Join us — you’ll probably love it.

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Soledad columnist Lucy Jensen may be reached at [email protected].


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