August 3

WineaPAWlooza 2017 – Eat Vegan, Drink Wine, Save Animals!

Food and wine go hand and hand here in Napa Valley. In fact, there are seven Michelin starred restaurants dotted along the 30 mile stretch that runs from Napa to Calistoga. Really an incredible number! Sadly, the philosophy of the Chefs in Napa Valley is that it is animal products that pair best with wine. Animals are viewed as nothing more than a commodity. This philosophy is reflected by most of the residents and visitors of Napa Valley who simply see animals as a menu item. And as much as I’ve enjoyed the beauty of the Valley and the extraordinary experiences I’ve had the privilege to enjoy, I’ve often felt conflicted with my decision to live here.

I’m never happier than when hugging animals!

So when I heard of Monica Stevens and her vision for Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch (JARR) three years ago, I was thrilled. Monica’s mission to provide Napa Valley with a no-kill rescue that will not only save the lives of companion animals like cats, dogs and bunny rabbits but farmed animals too. In the three years that Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch has been active, it has done incredible things for all animals. This includes finding forever homes for 500 animals in need that include dogs, cats, bunnies, chickens, ducks, horses, pigs, goats and sheep. JARR has provided 15,000 pounds of pet food for the local food bank and those in need; has provided over 1,000 spay/neuter surgeries; funded 50 life saving emergency surgeries and fields 120 calls per week from people who need help saving their animals! And this is just some of what they have accomplished! Early in 2017, JARR opened Ella’s Cathouse & Catnip Bar. This cage-free, no-kill cat adoption center is the first of its kind in Napa and has kept dozens of cats out of the county shelter system and found forever homes for them. It is also the first animal adoption center that has a no-meat policy for all staff and volunteers. Monica and her team have done all of this amazing work with the help of hundreds of dedicated volunteers and foster parents. JARR’s ultimate goal includes building a state-of-the-art, cage-free rescue and sanctuary that will serve the physical and emotional needs of the companion and farmed animals that call it home.

Saturday, July 29th was the fourth annual fundraising event. Ranked as one of Napa Valley’s top wine auctions,

Ottimo’s vegan Farro with Summer Beans

WineaPAWlooza has raised millions of dollars for the animals. Thanks to the generosity of the Napa Valley winemakers and wine lovers, this year alone, JARR raised $1.3M! Generously hosted again by the Gamble Family Vineyard, the who’s who of the Napa Valley wine industry shared the red carpet with dogs, goats, a pig and a donkey!

Vegan Japanese Curry served by Nuri!

Beginning with a Grand Tasting event that featured over 50 of the Valley’s premiere wineries and restaurants, we enjoyed mouth watering plant based bites that paired just perfectly with the wines! I was incredibly pleased by how well these decidedly unvegan restaurants did! Williams Sonoma Spanish Style Heirloom Gazpacho with Smoked Paprika was refreshing and delicious. La

Williams Sonoma’s vegan Heirloom Gazpacho!

Toque’s Chilled Snap Pea Jus with Salted Radish and Nori had a savory, seafood -like flavor. I scooped up Nuri’s delicious Japanese Curry with eggplant & tofu with a cracker as my spoon. I went back for seconds for Ottimo’s Farro with Summer Beans, peas & almond citrus. This salad is incredible and it is on their regular menu to enjoy any time! Bottega made an amazing Watermelon with Calabria chili vinaigrette salata. Ring of Fire included cheese on all of their offerings but after chatting with one of the servers about being vegan she took it upon herself to have the Chef bake up a vegan pizza for Steve and I. She even tracked me down and gave me the whole pizza to be sure we had enough to eat. That was a level of service I did not expect! I wish I could talk more about the wines but I had just finished a 5-day juice fast so my focus was 100% on the food offerings!

Bottega’s vegan Watermelon with Calabria chili vinaigrette!

The Pet Parade included a stoic donkey, a happy-go-lucky pig, two adorable goats and a stream of fortunate dogs all rescued and rehomed with the help of JARR! The live auction is where the real magic happens and thanks to the generous bidding $1.3 Million was raised to build the sanctuary. JARR announced the addition of a Sundowner Sportman 3H Bumper Pull trailer dedicated to the Roth family of New York for their dedication to animal welfare. This trailer will be housed in Napa Valley and, in collaboration with the County of Napa Emergency Services, will be made available to assist with the large animal emergency rescue during wildfires, accidents and other natural disasters. And even more wonderful news was announced that JARR is currently in escrow on property in the Carneros region. JARR is now one huge step closer to realizing their dream. When completed, this sanctuary and educational haven will be open to the community and will welcome all visitors. According to Monica, it will serve as a destination and best-practices example for animal advocacy. And to finish off this celebration, Co-founder David Stevens and his band Wristrocket, provided the music for the late night party and SONS Bier Garden.

 

Love at first sight for me and the donkey!

Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch is well on its way to achieving their goal to offer sanctuary for farmed animals, education for the public and rumor has it, that once completed, they may even offer a vegan cafe which will be the first all-vegan offering in Napa Valley! So if you are looking to volunteer your time or would like to donate to an organization that is in line with your vegan principles visit their website HERE to learn more! I hope to see you at next year’s WineaPAWlooza but until then remember to Drink Wine, Save Animals. And as always…eat, drink and be vegan!

February 24

Episode 5 – Baby Squirrels Steal the Show!!

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A big thank you to John Comisky, Janice Taylor, Deb Wellborn and Thea Reidy of the Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County for joining me on Episode 5 of Tout Suite Social Club. They all do such an amazing job assisting injured wildlife and releasing them back into the wild where they belong. This is an episode that should not be missed! John explains what the Wildlife Rescue does and how to get involved with donations and fundraising. You will really enjoy watching Janice talk about her love for the opossums. Thea explains how to contact the Rescue if you find wildlife that is in need of help and how to become a volunteer. And Deb gushes about her love and admiration for the squirrels of Napa County! Deb also brought three tiny baby squirrels with her that you will just love to see. They are so tiny that all they care about is their next meal!

These little babies need to be fed every 2 hours. What dedication from Deb Wellborn!
These little babies need to be fed every 2 hours. What dedication from Deb Wellborn!
An opossum family Janice helped to survive!
An opossum family Janice helped to survive!
Thea releasing a Kestrel!
Thea releasing a Kestrel!

The WRCNC is a non-profit that was founded in 1991 under the direction of local veterinarian Shirley Harmon. WRCNC is licensed through the state of California by the Department of Fish and Wildlife to possess and provide temporary care of sick, orphaned or injured wildlife until they can be returned to their own habitat! The Wildlife Rescue is also almost 100% volunteer driven. Dozens and dozens of compassionate, animal-lovers give their time to the care of our local wildlife. The volunteers are trained to care for and release the wildlife and the animals are never named or kept as pets. The volunteers do many jobs and have many different tasks including running the seasonal Songbird Clinic from April to September where they feed and care for orphaned and injured baby birds. Volunteers transport wildlife patients to satellite care facilities and provide community outreach through social media, videos, presentations and local community events. They teach education programs and do basic administrative duties like data entry and reporting. More than 1000 wild animals from owls to raptors to squirrels to opossums to fawns to foxes pass through the Wildlife Rescue Center each year!

The volunteers many different duties!
The volunteers many different duties!
...and more!
…and more!
Dedicated volunteer Carol releasing a Long-eared Owl!
Dedicated volunteer Carol releasing a Long-eared Owl!

 If you come across an injured animal, please contact the WRCNC on their hawkline at (707) 224-HAWK (4295). Or visit their website to learn how you can become involved as a volunteer. April 1st is the beginning of my third year as a volunteer at the Songbird Clinic and it is an amazing and rewarding experience to see these tiny baby birds – some so young they don’t even have feathers and have to be fed every 15 minutes! – thrive, survive and be released back into the forests and meadows and backyards of Napa County!

Gala

And don’t miss the opportunity to attend “A Wild Night at the Castle” on Saturday, April 4th beginning at 7 p.m. This exciting inaugural Gala will be held at the Castello di Amorosa located on St. Helena Highway in Calistoga. Tickets to the fundraiser include savory delights paired with premier Napa wines and a stroll through the Great Hall and Courtyard while listening to live music. You will have the amazing opportunity to meet some of the wildlife ambassadors up-close and personal including owls, hawks, raptors and our very own Posey the Opossum! This is also time to learn about the exciting plans for the growth of the Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County along with all of the wonderful work currently being done! There will also be unique and one-of-a-kind Silent Auction items available. And if you love the fast and furious excitement of a Live Auction, join them in the lower depths of the Castle’s Barrel Room! Get your tickets now before they sell out!

Thanks to all of you who joined us for the live show. For those of you who missed it, please enjoy the show now! Episode 5 – Napa Valley Vegan Goes Wild

And as always…eat, drink & be vegan!

February 21

Napa Valley Vegan Goes Wild!

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Join me on Monday, February 23rd at 6 p.m. for Episode 5 on Tout Suite Social Club as I welcome John Comisky, Vice President Board of Directors; Janice Beglau-Taylor, Lead Opossum Rehabilitator, Songbird Clinic Day Shift Leader & SBC Medical Staff; Deb Wellborn, Lead Squirrel Rehabilitator; and Thea Reidy, Wildlife Administrator with the Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County. I am so excited to have this amazing group of wildlife lovers join me on the show this month.

fawn

My story with WRCNC began in June 2012. I was out walking my dog Tobey Jug at Fuller Park near downtown Napa one morning and came across a tiny, cold baby squirrel huddled beneath a park trash can. I scooped the little squirrel up, hugged her to my heart and walked back home as quickly as I could. I promised her that no baby squirrel was going to die on my watch! Once I got home, I put her in a cardboard box, sat her on the dryer and turned it on in hopes of warming up her limp and nearly lifeless body. I remembered seeing a flyer several months before for a local wildlife rescue while I was at my hair salon so I hopped on the internet to find them. All I had to google was “wildlife rescue” and “Napa” and the WRCNC came right up. I dialed the emergency Hawkline and explained my situation. Within 30 minutes Deb Wellborn, the Lead Squirrel Rehabilitator for the Rescue showed up at my home. She took one look at Petunia (I felt that naming my new friend would give her a better chance at survival!) and feared the worst. However, she promised me that if Petunia survived the trip she would get her hydrated and warmed up! I trusted Deb immediately and knew she would do everything in her power to help this little squirrel. She wrapped Petunia up in her shirt to give her much needed body heat and headed out!

squirrel

I just could not get Petunia off my mind so the next day I reached out and called Deb. I left a message and was so excited to hear back from her later that same day. And the news was excellent! Once Deb got Petunia back to her home and got her hydrated she rallied almost immediately. Deb had another orphaned squirrel about Petunia’s age and they had become roommates. I was so incredibly happy to hear the news. I also found out that Petunia just happened to be a Peter instead! Deb was so kind and kept me updated with Pete’s progress until finally a couple months later he made a new home for himself in a beautiful park in Yountville. Deb’s love and dedication to helping our local squirrels survive was clear to me from the moment I met her but it gets even better! Along with all of the other wildlife rehabilitators, Deb is a volunteer! She earns nothing for all of her kind and loving hard work. I knew that I was not going to be able to be a fulltime squirrel rehabilitator like Deb. She sometimes has squirrels that are so young they must be fed every 2 hours. What a commitment! But I knew I had to help somehow.

bluebirds

After talking to Deb and checking out their website, I decided to join the Songbird Clinic. Once a week for a three hour shift from April to September, I would help feed and rehabilitate orphaned and injured baby songbirds. That was 3 years ago and on April 1st, I’m excited to join the Songbird Clinic  for another season. It has been a thrill to be a part of this amazing organization!

kestrel

This episode will be full of the many success stories WRCNC has made for our Napa County wildlife. So please join us as part of our live studio audience or join us online from your computer or mobile device! I look forward to seeing you there.

At Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County, all our friends are wild!