FACE board president devoted to helping animals

By Diane Y. Welch

For Rancho Santa Fe resident Cini Robb, serving as president of the board for the Foundation for Animal Care and Education (FACE) is much more than a responsible position, it is a passion and a calling.

Part of her work with FACE — a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance and preserve the quality of life of animals by providing access to necessary medical care and education — is to review grant applications, tax records and the qualifications of each applicant. “Some of these stories just move me to tears,” said Robb. “It is my honor and greatest joy to approve these applications.”

Always apprised of the outcome of these grant applications, Robb often finds herself calling the veterinary hospital to see how the surgery or treatment is progressing, and each and every case makes an impression on her.

“Every case is special and every case deeply moves me. We deal with not just the suffering of the animal but the anxiety and suffering of the owner,” Robb said.

Robb’s passion for animals began very early in her life when she was about 6 years old. A childhood memory is when she went with her mother to take their Boston Terrier to be euthanized. “Bootsie had a long life but the memory is still very painful,” she recalled.

Other family pets included a cat, three turtles and a dog named Cuddles.

“Our last family dog was a ‘Standard Wire Haired Doxie’ and that is where my love for that breed began,” Robb said, but then added that she loves all breeds, all animals and all insects. “I cannot even kill a spider or rodent.”

Currently the Robbs — Cini and her husband, Ira — have six Dachshunds and 16 birds. “We recently lost our Canary, Josh, who lived to be the ripe old age of 10. Our African Grey is named Cosmo, and we have two Paroletts, two Love Birds and 11 Cockatiels,” said Robb.

Their pet family includes two 9-year-old cats, Murphy and Mulligan. The Robbs rescued them from a “No Kill Shelter” that they helped build in Long Beach, Calif.

Here in San Diego, the FACE Foundation provides financial assistance to animal owners who are unable to cover the full cost of their pets’ critical or emergency veterinary care. Robb has been with the organization since its inception in 2006, overseeing $640,000 in life-saving grants that have been made possible since then.

“FACE was created to address the tragedy of ‘economic euthanasia’ whereby beloved companions were being euthanized because their owners couldn’t afford the often unexpected cost of treatment needed to save their lives,” said FACE Executive Director Stacy Steele. “As many people today experience increasing economic challenges, their pets are suffering too. The number of people who cannot afford critical medical care for their sick or injured pet is growing at an alarming rate.”

Over the years, Robb has supported 16 animal organizations. In addition to FACE, she is most active in the Best Friends Animal Society in Utah – the Robbs donated funds to build its Beamer Robb’s Puppy Park – and the P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village in Long Beach, an affiliate with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Los Angeles. The Robbs donated funds to build its Long Beach facility, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary.

In an effort to boost funds for FACE, from now until the end of December, Robb has pledged to match donations up to $50,000.

“I want people to know that there are is so much need in the San Diego community for the life-saving critical emergency care grants that we give these helpless creatures and these worthy families. What would you do if you could not save the life of your family pet? Who would you call? Who would help you? The answer is FACE.”

Looking ahead, the Robbs are hosting a FACE fundraiser, “Bags and Baubles 2012” at their Rancho Santa Fe estate home on Sunday, April 29. To find out more about the organization or to make an end of year donation visit www.face4pets.org.

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