Unconditional Rescue Raises More Than $1 Million for Special Needs and Senior Dogs

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Laguna Beach nonprofit Unconditional Rescue raised more than $1 million at its annual Chefmasters fundraiser gala held on Sept. 24 at the Festival of Arts grounds. The organization’s mission is to foster, care for and rehome senior and special needs dogs, a population most likely to be overlooked by those looking to adopt a dog.

Erashamati Lopez, a supervisor with The Bone Adventure, a boarding and daycare company based in Costa Mesa, holds Harper, 14, a pug dog, while Stanley (left) takes a break in the doggie rest area at Unconditional Rescue’s gala night. The Bone Adventure were Gold Sponsors of the event. Clara Beard/LB Indy

“This incredible contribution will not only bolster our current foster program, ensuring our senior and special fur babies receive the care and love they deserve, but it would also lay a robust foundation for our 2024 operating budget,” the rescue group wrote on Instagram after the fundraiser.

From left: Monica Duquene, Erica Ward and Unconditional Rescue Bronze Sponsor Kristina Laplante with rescue dogs Chi Chi and Darcy. Clara Beard/LB Indy

Following a sumptuous two-hour gourmet food and wine reception, guests were seated at tables for dessert and introduced to the chefs by hostess DawnMarie Kotsonis before drawing the raffle ticket for a 52-bottle wine tree provided by Mona Lee Nesseth from Laguna Beach. Los Angeles resident Michelle Dulake was the lucky winner. Guests offered their bid cards in a drawing for a Cannery Restaurant Duffy Boat cruise and a 3-course dinner with wines for 10 people, which Newport Beach resident Kathy Hamilton won.

More than 30 area chefs, restaurant establishments and wineries gathered at the festival grounds to offer delicious samples for those in attendance. Clara Beard/LB Indy

Unconditional, a Laguna Beach-based nonprofit founded by Amy & Julian Mack is on track to build an 8,000 sq. ft. rescue and adoption center for senior and special needs dogs, due to open in late 2024. The couple also just opened Rise Pet Health, a technologically-advanced emergency and specialty veterinary clinic located in Laguna Hills. Profits from Rise go toward providing free care to the dogs at Unconditional, thereby ensuring the financial sustainability of the nonprofit. The Macks are also the proud parents of four senior and special dogs, and are committed to helping this very undeserved but deserving group of pups through these bold initiatives.

Especially thanked were the $100,000 Title Sponsor, Carlo’s Fund; the $25,000 Platinum Sponsor, The Bone Adventure and the $10,000 Gold Sponsors JustFoodForDogs, PIRCH, and Mary Murfey. Chef Masters Founder/Producer Kristin Martin was recognized as well.

Thanks also to Newport Beach resident Maria A. Carigan, who donated $500,000 to Unconditional, and together with an impressive amount raised in the Fund a Need portion, the total raised was more than $1 million. The evening concluded with dancing to the popular band Flashback Heart Attack.

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