It's a sweet thing when people with special needs and homeless dogs come together and help each other out. That's what happens at Marin-based Jessica's Haven and Rescue, whose philosophy for their helpers with autism and other disabilities is "to be responsible for yourself, to be responsible to others, and to be responsible for something else" — in this case, rescue dogs.
Jessica's Haven brings shelter dogs in need of comfort and socialization into a program where they get the training and TLC they need to thrive and grow until their forever home comes along. Meanwhile, the dogs give back: their caregivers, people with various disabilities and a love for dogs, are picking up life and vocational skills as they walk, bathe, groom and train their charges. Plus, the people who adopt the dogs get a happy, congenial new family member.
It all started back in 2008 with 18-year-old Jessica. She was more comfortable with dogs than with people, and needed a way she could flourish and learn skills that would help her personal growth. Today Jessica is still involved with the program, which serves people from Lifehouse, Oak Hill School, College of Marin Special Day Class, and Star Academy; and dogs from Bay Area communities.
Currently soaking up the love at Jessica's Haven are young mom Angel and her six puppies. They were terrified at the Oakland shelter, so Friends of Oakland Animal Services came to the rescue and whisked them to Jessica's Haven. Angel is most likely an Italian greyhound/Chihuahua mix; the puppies' dad is a mystery. They'll all be ready for their new homes soon.
Coming up September 12 at the Peacock Gap Country Club in San Rafael: A golf tournament, banquet and auction benefiting Jessica's Haven. Get details and tickets here.