Del Mar resident hosts ‘Paw-Raiser’ Sept. 12 for Karma Rescue

Karma Rescue founder Rande Levine with a few canine companions. The organization is having a fundraiser on Sept. 12 in Del Mar. Photo by Maharaj Photography

Although based in Los Angeles, animal rescue organization Karma Rescue aims to expand its programs throughout Southern California into San Diego County.

To help it accomplish its goals, local animal advocate Joan Luber Jacobs is hosting a “Paw Raiser” for Karma Rescue on Sept. 12 at her Del Mar home.

“We’re grateful Joan has opened her heart and her home to throw this lovely event for Karma Rescue to support our mission and save more animals,” said Karma Rescue founder Rande Levine.

A longtime Del Mar resident, Jacobs is an educational consultant who was a counselor at Torrey Pines High School for 18 years and a school psychologist for the San Dieguito Union High School District for 10 years. Today she has two Labrador retrievers, one of which she adopted from Guide Dogs for the Blind and uses to volunteer when she visits wounded troops at Camp Pendleton, students at UC San Diego and seniors at retirement homes.

“I know the benefits — the healing power of dogs and their unconditional love,” said Jacobs, who often brought her dogs to work when she counseled special-needs students.

A volunteer for the nonprofit Love on a Leash, Jacobs learned about Karma Rescue from a family member.

Founded in 2003, Karma Rescue is a nonprofit dedicated to saving at-risk dogs from Los Angeles’ overcrowded shelters, finding them permanent homes and providing resources for successful companionship.

Levine, who worked in advertising for more than 20 years, volunteered at an animal rescue while she went to San Diego State University. Around the same time, she adopted her beagle, Rufus. Her experience, as well as her relationship with Rufus, inspired her to create her own rescue organization in her hometown of LA.

“I saw how many animals got euthanized in these shelters,” Levine said. “I thought if there was another rescue organization, we could save many more Rufuses.”

To date, Karma Rescue has given 2,350 dogs a second chance.

In 2014, the nonprofit rescued 207 dogs. This year, Karma Rescue aims to save 250 dogs.

Because Karma Rescue doesn’t have a facility yet, rescued dogs stay with volunteer foster families and at cage-free day care centers until they are adopted. On average, the organization has 45 to 50 dogs at one time.

With only two staff members, the nearly all-volunteer organization strives to create a compassionate society that provides safety, refuge and protection for all animals.

“I give such gratitude to our volunteers because they work so hard,” Levine said. “There is absolutely no possible way we could do what we do without them.”

At least once a week, Karma Rescue volunteers give educational presentations on responsible pet ownership and the pet overpopulation crisis. Volunteers regularly visit schools, universities, libraries and businesses.

To combat the overpopulation of dogs and cats, Karma Rescue also offers targeted spay and neuter services for roughly 300 animals per year.

Last year, Karma Rescue launched Paws For Life, an inmate-led dog-training program at the California State Prison in Los Angeles County.

Over 12 weeks, inmates learn how to train the organization’s rescue dogs for “Canine Good Citizen” certification. While similar programs have been instituted across the nation, Paws For Life is California’s first and only program in a high-security prison involving inmates serving life sentences.

The program is what attracted Jacobs to Karma Rescue.

“The inmate is benefiting from this program,” said Jacobs, noting that the San Diego-based Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility is interested in the program.

“They’re learning real-world skills and connecting to a dog. It also gives them the opportunity to give back to society by helping a dog,” she said. “There’s nothing like that program in the state of California.”

To date, nearly 90 people have registered for the Paw Raiser, which will support Paws For Life and Karma Rescue’s other programs. The event is still open but registration is required.

“A lot of my friends are dog-loving friends, so I think they want to support me,” Jacobs said. “But I also think Karma Rescue and its programs resonate with people.”

The fundraiser will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 12 and will feature wine, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction. A donation of $100 is suggested to attend. Donations can be made online at Those who make a donation online before the event will receive three silent auction tickets.

For details about the event and to RSVP, contact Jacobs at

For more about Karma Rescue, visit