Old and ill animals have a best friend

Emily Campbell was born caring about needy animals. “On May 21, 1956, when my mother, Lennie Salmon, delivered me, our beagle, Missy, uncharacteristically jumped up on the kitchen counter and made a mess,” Campbell explained. “I like to say she was so excited I was coming home.”

Throughout childhood, Emily brought home strays. Most of them she couldn’t keep, so her career aspirations included caring for dogs and cats who needed her. Her first career was as a special education teacher. She resigned her job in Lemoore in 2000 to move to Cayucos to marry Craig Campbell, owner of Cam Fabrication in Morro Bay. Although she substitutes in special education classes, she’s moved forward with her dream to care for elderly or infirm animals.

Emily’s Pad Pet Rescue (http://www.emilyspadpetrescue.org) earned its nonprofit status in 2009. When Campbell volunteered at the San Luis Obispo Animal Shelter, she realized the need for someone to care for the dogs and cats that were not adoptable. She’s gotten donations from Cayucos Rotary and credits Lisa Winn at the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce for helping her develop a recent fund solicitation.

Campbell also tells her story each Saturday at the Morro Bay Community Market. Donations help her care for the animals she is fostering so they won’t be euthanized prematurely. She has five dogs and 10 cats with problems such as aging, blindness, weakened heart and feline leukemia, but her home doesn’t have any space for more. Her hope is to receive grant funding in dollars and/or acreage to develop her “hospice for animals.”

Campbell has received some unique training. She befriended Second Chance at Love Humane Society’s Cheri Lucas from Templeton. Lucas recommended Campbell for a session with famed “dog whisperer” Cesar Millan at his Santa Clarita training center. She spent several days with 37 international students learning how to “develop boundaries and limitations” for her animals. She returned to Cayucos with Lola, the papillon assigned to her.

“I’ve talked about doing this long enough,” Campbell said. “This year I’ve focused on making it happen. There’s a need to care for the elderly, disabled or animals with illnesses. There are very few rescues that take in these types of animals. There is a home in Creston that takes in dogs that are over the age of 10. I think they only have room for about 20, if that. And North County has a small area for some feline leukemia cats. Santa Claus hasn’t come yet. Identifying the resources to make my dream happen would be the best present of all.” Judy Salamacha’s column is special to The Tribune. Reach her at judysalamacha@gmail.com  or 801-1422.