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Jewelry store's mascot spearheads animal fund

December 4, 2011 8:06 AM


Every customer at Silverhorn knows Ruby, a 4-year-old Japanese Shiba Inu dog, who serves as the Montecito jewelry store's mascot and greeter.

That's why the store's animal-loving owners, Carole and Michael Ridding, made Ruby the face of an annual holiday donation fund, Ruby's Friends, that the jewelers started in 2010 to benefit animals.

Ruby not only brings cheer to visitors, but also gets them talking about their love of animals, Mrs. Ridding said.

Sue Burrows, co-president of Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, with Carole Ridding
On left, Sue Burrows, co-president of Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, with Carole Ridding, owner of Silverhorn, and Ruby. MIKE ELIASON/NEWS-PRESS

The idea came about when Mrs. Ridding and her employees were brainstorming innovative gift ideas for clients during the holidays.

Instead of sending presents, the store made a donation to the Marine Mammal Center. Clients were sent a holiday card with a life-like sketch of Ruby on the cover, wishing them a joyous season and noting the donation made in their honor.

In its second year, Ruby's Friends will benefit Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, an organization that rescues, rehabilitates, and returns animals to their native habitat, Mrs. Ridding said.

"My employees here, myself, and our clients are animal lovers and this is an organization that takes particular care of our local wildlife, especially when they're in distress," said Mrs. Ridding.

"They, along with us, appreciate our environment and part of that is the animals and bird life we all appreciate in the Santa Barbara area."

Sue Burrows, co-president of the Wildlife Care Network, said the gift is significant because the organization is sustained through grants and private giving, and taking care of more than 4,000 wild animals a year isn't cheap, she said. The money from Ruby's Friends and other private donations is used for medical care, food and transportation for injured and orphaned animals. It is also used for education and paying for staff. The Wildlife Care Network has a handful of paid employees along with about 400 volunteers.

Pelicans, which are being housed at the Wendy McCaw Wildlife Care Center, have an especially hard time during this point in the year and need extra support, Ms. Burrows said.

"Winter upsets their feeding source, the ocean, and the fish they feed on go to areas that are less turbulent," Ms. Burrows said.

Care of wildlife is important, she said, because it adds a very important component to the community.

"Imagine for a moment that there were no birds to sing," she said. "Imagine the silence of the spring. That's why it's important."

She said that Silverhorn should be commended for its dedication and support to wildlife in the community.

"As people treat themselves and their families, how wonderful it is that people care and take care of our wildlife," she said. "We're thrilled to be Ruby's friend."

Wendy P. McCaw is co-publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press.



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