Event Co-chairs Lori Cappello, Becky Kelber, and Shirley Jansen (Jansen is also the founder).

Gail Arnold

Event Co-chairs Lori Cappello, Becky Kelber, and Shirley Jansen (Jansen is also the founder).

DAWG Celebrates the All-American Dog

Fundraiser at Elings Park Benefits Lost and Abandoned Dogs

On July 2, more than 100 happy supporters of DAWG (Dog Adoption & Welfare Group), many with four-legged friends at their side, gathered at Elings Park to celebrate “the all-American dog.” Proceeds benefited the lost and abandoned dogs at DAWG.

In the picturesque, off-leash setting of Singleton Pavilion, Spencer the Gardener provided the tunes and volunteers served up a tasty, all-American barbecue lunch with all the fixings and accompaniments. Contests were held throughout the afternoon, including for the most patriotic dog costume, which inspired many amusing red, white and blue canine outfits. Atlas Rehabilitation for Canines, which recently opened on upper State Street, was on hand with some of its equipment for canine guests to try out.

DAWG’s mission is to reduce the rate of euthanasia in area shelters by providing the medical care and training many dogs need to become adoption-ready. In its 25-year history, DAWG has rescued more than 8,000 dogs. In recent years, it has rescued 200-400 dogs per year, with most of its dogs coming from the three branches of Santa Barbara County Animal Services. The county does not charge DAWG for the land upon which DAWG has built its facilities or for utilities. In return, DAWG takes in dogs from the county to reduce the county’s euthanasia rate. DAWG has a veterinarian and trainer on staff, who work as a team to address medical and behavioral issues to transform dogs who are ill and/or who have behavioral issues into adoption-ready dogs.

Other than the free rent and utilities, DAWG does not receive any government assistance. Its lean staff of 10 is supplemented by a host of volunteers and it is dependent on private donations for its operating expenses.

Chief Veterinarian Carl Zaboly explained how without DAWG, many dogs would have been euthanized over the years, but with DAWG’s team approach of providing medical care and behavioral training, it has been able to help these dogs such that they can be placed in loving homes. When the care that is required goes beyond what DAWG can provide, it works with area veterinarians, all of whom provide a discount. It has gone as far as UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine when necessary for the proper care. DAWG never euthanizes a dog except where an untreatable medical condition makes the quality of life unacceptable.

This was but one in a series of events DAWG is holding this year to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Last month, it held a formal tea party with a psychic and among its upcoming events is Pub Night on July 29 in a 500-year-old English pub reconstructed in Montecito. DAWG is always in need of volunteers and donations. For more info about DAWG, go to; for a listing of events, go to

If viewing this from a mobile device, click on “Desktop site” in top right to see more photos. Send event invites to Gail at

By Gail Arnold

Chief Veterinarian Carl Zaboly with DAWG’s Hercules.

By Gail Arnold

New Adoption Coordinator Felicia Garcia, Kennel Attendant Dane Mehl, and outgoing Adoption Coordinator Ryan Colket with Westley, Zoey, and Salvador.

By Gail Arnold

Rob and Cathy Mehl with Murphy Mehl.

By Gail Arnold

Atlas Rehabilitation for Canines staff: Alexis Gentile, Jill Lake, Karen Atlas (owner), and Kate Morgan.

By Gail Arnold

Mike Stolp with Winston and Walker, who tied with a poodle in the costume contest.

By Gail Arnold

Melinda Rogers and Susan Hughes.

By Gail Arnold

Eric Buchanan with Mojo, the winner of the Big Dog Contest (135-lb. Mastiff).

By Gail Arnold

Event Co-chairs Lori Cappello, Becky Kelber, and Shirley Jansen (Jansen is also the founder).

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