Fourth ‘Howl and Yowl’ coming to Living Free

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The Second Annual Howl & Yowl in 2015, a benefit for the animals at Living Free Animal Sanctuary, was a hit. Here the mush dogs take a rest and bring in quite a crowd after showing off their Saturday. Photo by Jenny Kirchner

Living Free, the local no-kill animal sanctuary that rescues cats and dogs, is holding its fourth-annual “Howl and Yowl” fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30.

Lisa Haley and the Zydecats will highlight the afternoon. Also returning are Honey County and Jason Powers.

Haley and the Zydecats are well-known and popular on the Hill. They have performed frequently during the Idyllwild Summer Concert series.

Honey County is a female country trio. Dani Rose, Devon Jane and Katie Stump describe themselves as three-part vocal harmonies, Southern twang and pop hooks. They have created their own landscape of story-driven country; modern, melodic pop; and punchy, guitar-fueled rock.

Jason Powers brings his powerful guitar music and sound back to Mountain Center. “Those who have watched him are very happy about his return,” Harris said.

Besides the enthusiastic music and dancing, hayrides, face painting and art booths will be available.

Also, as one would expect, there will be dogs and cats available for adoption.  Two years ago, Powers found Gogi and left with a new friend, demonstrating how helpful the event is for abandoned animals.

Admission is $15. Not only will it help Living Free’s programs, such as spay and neuter, and its current sanctuary residents, but it will be a contribution toward a future Living Free that will extend its compassion to the human and equine species besides canine and feline.

Living Free President Randall Harris outlined a proposal for which he is seeking grants and funding from national groups.

War Horse Creek will use wild mustangs to help veterans. The federal government annually collects hundreds of wild horses on public lands. They try to find homes for many.

Living Free has two now — Liberty Belle (Libby) and Stevie — and room for more. But more importantly, these animals can contribute to a program to help reduce the post-traumatic stress disorder many soldiers bring home with them from the military.

There is a gap of time between discharge and access to Veterans Affairs benefits, said Harris, a former Marine. War Horse Creek can help individuals during the period.

Besides working with the wild mustangs, life-skill courses will be offered.

“The wild mustangs, turned loose on the plains, are symbolic of the new vets turned loose from the military,” Harris said. “The horses carried our forefathers into battle and they can bring our soldiers home. It’s a complete circle.”

Once funded and started, Harris envisions three groups of six vets at a time working and recovering at Living Free. The transition training will complement the training given to every recruit.

“Many veterans are reluctant to engage in traditional ‘talk therapies’ for a variety of reasons,” Harris opined. “It simply goes against the warfighter grain. Stepping into a ring with a wild horse is an entirely different experience, and a challenge well suited to for veterans.”

War Horse Creek will be the next phase of sanctuary at Living Free, Harris promises.

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