By Janet McAfee
Some people are called to a higher purpose when they experience a tragedy. When local resident DeAnn Lubell lost her beloved pup Amy Ames in a coyote attack, she turned her grief into action, determined to spare other people and pets the same horrific experience. Amy’s Purpose is a 501(c)3 charity hosting a fabulous fundraising concert this week, Pet Love Rock n’ Roll, not to be missed by animal lovers and rock n’ roll fans.
Amy was truly the most adorable and sweetest animal one could ever imagine. She was once among two hundred breeding dogs suffering in a puppy mill in a remote area of Lucerne Valley. The dogs were crammed into small cages, with sick and dead dogs. Amy can be seen in the first row of crowded dogs in the attached photo. In 2015, a tipster gave the location of the abandoned site which was raided by San Bernardino County Animal control officers. The beautiful but terrified dogs were transported to the San Bernardino County Animal Shelter at Devore.
There was extensive media exposure for these pure breed animals, and hundreds showed up to compete in a lottery for each designer dog. The competition was intense. If only the arguing participants knew at least 30% of the dogs in public shelters appear to be pure breeds.
Several of us from Loving All Animals attended the lottery. We had the resources to help socialize and find homes for puppy mill dogs who had never known a loving human touch or felt soft grass beneath their feet. Five of the dogs returned with us to the Coachella Valley where loving volunteers, dog trainer extraordinaire Sandy Miller, and veterinary care awaited their arrival.
DeAnn Lubell had a golf date the following day with Lindi Biggi, Loving All Animals’ founder and past president. DeAnn happily already owned 3 dogs, but that would soon change. How could it not be love at first sight when her eyes magically locked with Amy’s?
Amy Ames became a popular Coachella Valley fixture, winning first place in the small dog category at Pets on Parade. She is believed to be a hybrid Mini Blue Merle Australian Shepherd and Chinese Crested Powder Puff. This poster pup, with one blue eye and one brown eye, for rescue dogs, had a heart of gold that matched her beautiful looks.
December 22, 2019 began as a lovely sunny morning. DeAnn let Amy and her American Bulldog Sugar out into the back yard. She grabbed a cup of tea and two minutes went to join the dogs. Her shock and grief were inconsolable when she saw 3 coyotes surrounding mortally wounded Amy. They had jumped over the tall back yard fence, and big dog Sugar was trembling nearby in fear. Many hearts in the Coachella Valley broke upon hearing the tragic news.
Through the heartache, DeAnn began researching predator attacks. She was surprised to learn how a powerful coyote can knock over a dog walker and seize their animal and can scale walls and fences up to 12 feet tall in broad daylight. DeAnn was surprised to learn they also attack humans and are in almost every community including gated complexes. With dogged determination she wanted to spare others this tragedy, and Amy’s Purpose was launched in 2020. Check out their informative and interesting website at www.amyspurpose.net.
Amy’s Purpose has evolved to include several purposes. Amy’s legacy includes the following goals to help humans and the pets they love.
Protect your pet from all predators that include coyotes, stray dogs, rattlesnakes, and birds of prey such as hawks and owls. Don’t leave them unattended in your back yard. Learn what to do when you encounter one. Respect and don’t ever harm wildlife including predators. Other humans may be predators as pet theft is on the rise. Carry mace or an air horn when you are out on walks. If you live in an area where there are lots of predators, purchase a coyote vest or harness with spikes.
Amy’s Purpose provides grief counseling to owners who lost a pet to predators or from another cause. We animal lovers understand that losing an animal can be as devastating as losing a human relative or close friend. Counseling is available via Zoom or in person.
Amy’s Purpose seeks to address the severe shortage of veterinarians, veterinarian technicians, and especially veterinarian assistants in the Coachella Valley. Last year Sugar woke up one morning unable to walk and screaming in pain. DeAnn’s local vet nor any of the animal clinics in the high or low deserts had any appointments open, nor could the local 24-hour VCA clinic treat Sugar. They raced to the vet in Beaumont while Sugar suffered in agony. Proceeds from Pet Love Rock n’ Roll will fund scholarships to train more veterinary assistants at College of the Desert’s PACE program, as well as provide services for its other missions.
It takes years to train to become a veterinarian, and the cost and time is almost the same as becoming a human medical doctor. For every Veterinary School graduate in the United States there are 18.5 vacancies waiting for them. DeAnn tells us, “I met with my veterinarian to discuss the problem and learned that the Coachella Valley in the low and high deserts also has a severe shortage of veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants. My vet closes her clinic one day a week due to a staff shortage. I was determined to find some solutions.” Imagine having a medical emergency when even some of the 24-hour clinics in the Inland Empire are turning patients away and traveling miles outside of our community to get urgent care.
The large legacy of this special small dog will be to save countless others. With time, love and patience, Amy recovered from the nightmares of the puppy mill to be a loving guardian and companion to DeAnn. She had a quirky sense of humor and adored other dogs and cats. Amy teaches us that all things are possible, and we can overcome bad things in the past and experience joy in the moment.
Join us for a fabulous event with great food, wine, music, and mingling with local animal lovers and animals healers on September 17 in Palm Springs. Get your tickets now before they sell out. Tickets are available at $50, $100, and $250 at the Annenberg box office at http://www.psmuseum.org/events/amys-purpose-22 or by calling (760) 325-4490.
PET LOVE AND ROCK N’ ROLL FUNDRAISER
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 6:45PM RECEPTION, 8:00PM SHOW
ANNENBERG THEATRE, PALM SPRINGS ART MUSEUM, 101 N. MUSEUM DRIVE, PALM SPRINGS