Paws & Pints: La Jolla event May 19 to benefit FOCAS


La Jolla Veterinary Hospital will present its third annual “Paws & Pints” fundraiser 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 19, 2016 at THE LOT movie theater and café, 7611 Fay Ave., La Jolla, The event will be held in support of the FOCAS (Friends of County Animal Shelters) program at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society and The FACE Foundation.

“We wanted to do something in our community, for the community, that would evolve and grow into something La Jolla could look forward to year after year. I think this year, we have finally achieved that,” said event founder Stephanie Coolidge of La Jolla Veterinary Hospital.

She added that the fundraiser will feature an auction with autographed items from the San Diego Chargers, VIP tickets to Padres games, works from local La Jolla artists, and countless restaurant, wine, museum and brewery packages. Other small businesses including Warwick’s, Ark Antiques and MyOwnSpace, have donated items and/or gift cards that will be auctioned off. THE LOT will also donate a portion of the food and beverage sales from the night’s party to the beneficiaries.

For those who have never attended a “Paws & Pints” event, know that this is more than a fundraiser, Coolidge explained. “There is a greater purpose than throwing back a few brews, hanging out with your dog or sharing a flatbread with like-minded, animal-loving people,” she said. “It is about conserving a deep-rooted, La Jolla-founded program that started more than 30 years ago. F.O.C.A.S, which stands for Friends of County Animal Shelters, was started in La Jolla in 1982 by residents Peggy Howell and Sue Geller. FOCAS is a foster program responsible for finding homes for thousands of animals in shelters all around San Diego County.”

The “Paws and Pints” event was established in honor of Howell, who passed away in 2013.

“Peggy was one of the most wonderful, genuine, kind and hard-working animal advocates we have ever known,” Coolidge said. “She started FOCAS when there were less than a handful of animal welfare groups in San Diego. FOCAS was La Jolla’s very own animal-welfare charity. Participants marched with their pets and family members in the La Jolla Christmas Parade every year, distributed their own newsletter to La Jolla residents on a regular basis, held countless adoption events, funded hundreds of spays and neuters through veterinary hospitals in La Jolla, and partnered with La Jolla merchants and businesses to raise funds for foster and education programs.

“Their board of directors consisted of many animal-loving La Jollans who wanted to help save the lives of homeless animals in San Diego County. Peggy was proud of that. After she passed away, La Jolla Veterinary Hospital committed to carrying the torch for the philanthropic efforts of Peggy, Sue, and all those who worked so hard to help homeless animals in our neighborhood.”

Today, La Jolla is full of pets. The weather is always perfect, businesses support strolling through their establishments with furry family members, and many restaurants permit dog owners to share a meal with their pet. There are multiple veterinary hospitals, plenty of boutiques specifically for Fido and friends, and business fronts scattered with water bowls and treats for dogs.

“We have to believe that Peggy Howell had a hand in laying the foundation for the pet-enriched community that we live in today,” said Dr. Julie Breher, owner of La Jolla Veterinary Hospital. “The support for this event from the community, and the opportunity to honor Peggy and her efforts every year, is overwhelming and absolutely makes you feel good about where we live and work.”

This year, La Jolla Veterinary Hospital added the FACE Foundation as a second beneficiary. FACE is a non-profit that provides financial assistance for San Diego animal owners who are unable to afford the cost of their pet’s life-saving emergency veterinary care. FACE is unique. It helps keep animals that are adopted from programs like FOCAS at home, with their beloved owners, even in times of medical and financial hardship.

“An emergency surgery at a specialty hospital, can sometimes cost up to $10,000. Not everyone has that kind of money, nor credit, to be able to afford that expense,” Coolidge said. “In the spirit of Peggy, we have included FACE this year. They are a group of hard-working animal advocates, working tirelessly in a unique way to make a definitive and positive impact on the animal-welfare community.”

This year’s event will be bigger than last year’s, Coolidge predicted, “We look forward to coming together as a community to better the lives of homeless animals and even cherished pets all over San Diego County.”

IF YOU GO: For more details about “Paws & Pints,” visit or call La Jolla Veterinary Hospital at (858) 454-6155. You can also e-mail Stephanie Coolidge of La Jolla Veterinary Hospital at