Local Non-Profit Makes Music with Fall Fundraiser



Submitted by DeAnn Lubell and Bruce Fessier

Recognizing an unprecedented crisis in veterinary care services in the Greater Palm Springs Area, the new nonprofit organization, Amy’s Purpose, has embarked on a mission to train and put more veterinary workers in desert offices by 2023. One of the leaders of the charge is John Garcia, known as the voice of desert rock as lead singer of the internationally acclaimed ’90s band, Kyuss. Garcia also sang with the bands Crystal Method at Coachella and Slo Burn at OzzFest. But he and his wife, Wendy, also are veterinary technicians. His gig between tours turned into a full-time job when the need for veterinary workers in the desert became overwhelming. “There is a crisis in veterinary care in this desert,” says Garcia, who supervises the veterinary technician staff at the Palm Springs Animal Hospital. “Many veterinarians and veterinary hospitals are not accepting new patients. We are all overwhelmed by the demand for our
services. We must do something to relieve the pressure on veterinarians and put more veterinary assistants in the field to care for people’s pets and help our veterinarians.” Garcia will now join his group, The Band of Gold, to headline “Pet Love and Rock & Roll,” a benefit concert for Amy’s Purpose Sept. 17 at the Annenberg Theater in the Palm Springs Art
Museum. His acoustic set of Kyuss classics and newer originals will climax with the band going electric for a presentation expected to be stunning in the sophisticated theater that previously hosted concerts by the likes of Liza Minnelli and Barry Manilow. Proceeds will help fund scholarships for a veterinary assistant course that trains students through
the Partnership and Community Education (PaCE) wing of College of the Desert.

Tickets at $50, $100 and $250 are available at the Annenberg box office at or by calling (760) 325-4490 Thur.-Sun.

Animal lovers who want to pay for a veterinary assistant student’s $3,200 tuition may have their donations matched after the concert by the College of the Desert Foundation, resulting in additional scholarships.

To sponsor a veterinary assistant scholarship, e-mail Amy’s Purpose founder and president DeAnn Lubell at or call (760) 831-3090.

Veterinary assistant jobs pay only $16 an hour. The 150-hour course costs $3,195 plus additional fees for scrubs and a National Association of Veterinary Technicians (NAVTA) exam that students must pass to qualify to work with a veterinarian after another 100-hour “externship.” Lubell said her charity hopes to fund up to a dozen scholarships for PaCE students committed to working for local veterinarians and possibly continuing their education to advanced levels of
veterinary care. COD Foundation Director Catherine Abbott said, “The College of the Desert Foundation is happy to support students who are interested in enrolling in the College of the Desert veterinary assistance course.” “Pet Love and Rock & Roll” also seeks to create an appreciative community to inspire new veterinarians to practice in the desert. Veterinarian doctors will receive half-off discounts for the best seats upon showing documentation at the box office. They will also mingle with pet lovers at a pre-show reception and silent auction at 6:45 p.m. on the museum’s main floor. Lori Weiner will receive the first Amy Award at the wine and light hors d’oeuvres reception. Weiner, who was recommended by local veterinarians for her animal activism, runs the Pet Hotel at Barkingham Pet Hotel in Palm Desert, and the California Paws Rescue adoption service. The music starts at 8 p.m. with a 40-minute set by Palm Springs High School alumnus Billy Steinberg, who will sing songs from his Songwriters Hall of Fame career such as “Like A Virgin,” made famous by Madonna, “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, “Eternal Flame” by The Bangles, “I'll Stand By You” by The Pretenders, and “How Do I Make You” by Linda Ronstadt. The singer-guitarist will be joined by musicians from Los Angeles and a vocalist Steinberg is recruiting to sing ballads such “Alone,” made famous by Heart. Event producer and former Desert Sun columnist Bruce Fessier will lead a short Q&A with Garcia between sets – exploring the veterinary crisis and what gives Garcia his greatest thrills. Everyone involved with the benefit is donating his or her services for the cause. Willie Rhine, co-owner of the Eight4Nine and 1501 Uptown Gastropub restaurants in Palm Springs and Willie’s in Rancho Mirage, is underwriting and providing the catering for the reception. To sign up for the PaCE course for veterinary assistants, go to, call (760) 862-1367 or e-mail PaCE Director Veronica Izurieta at Izurieta said in-person instruction of the course in its Palm Desert Mall classrooms will resume Oct. 1. Amy’s Purpose hopes to support another course to train vet technicians in the near future. Amy’s Purpose was founded in 2020 to provide programs in animal safety, including predatory awareness, and grief counseling for pet owners who have suffered traumatizing loss. Lubell said helping to mitigate the veterinary crisis has taken on greater importance since the peak of the pandemic. That’s why Amy’s Purpose is seeking support for “Pet Love and Rock & Roll.” “It is extremely important to inspire graduating students and adults to begin a career in veterinary
care,” Lubell said. “Support to raise funds for the ‘Pet Love and Rock & Roll’ concert will greatly benefit the health of pets in our desert communities.”

What: “Pet Love and Rock & Roll,” a benefit concert and pre-show reception for Amy’s Purpose to raise funds for scholarships to the College of the Desert Partnership and Community Education course in Veterinary Assistant Certification.

Who: John Garcia and his Band of Gold will headline a mostly acoustic set of Kyuss classics and newer originals following an opening act with Billy Steinberg singing his Songwriters Hall of Fame catalog with vocalist Annie Bosko. Garcia and Bruce Fessier will do a short Q&A between sets. The reception hosted by Willie Rhine will feature wine and light hors d’oeuvres, asilent auction and a  presentation of the Amy Award to Lori Weiner, owner of Barkingham Pet
Hotel in Palm Desert and founder of the California Paws Rescue adoption service.

When: Ticket holders are entitled to attend the 6:45 p.m reception. The concert begins at 8 p.m.

Where: The reception will be among the main floor galleries of the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 N. Museum Drive, Palm Springs. The concert will be downstairs in the Annenberg Theater.

Price: Tickets: $50, $100 and $250. To purchase concert tickets please go or call the Annenberg Theater box office (760) 325-4490. To donate without buying a ticket, please send checks to Amy’s Purpose to P.O. Box 1427, Morongo Valley, CA 92256 or contact DeAnn Lubell at or (760) 831-3090 for electronic transfers.

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Our Mission

Amy's Purpose is an education program dedicated to coyote and predator awareness and the prevention of pet loss. Focusing on raising awareness and promoting safety information to help protect your beloved pets. We believe in taking action with urgency in order to raise public awareness about some of the most pressing issues facing pet safety. Please join us by supporting our efforts to make a measurable difference in the lives of your pets. Our goal is to provide a speaker's series featuring professionals to talk about the dangers of predators and how to better protect pets. We also would like to offer monthly grief group counseling (inhouse and Zoom), for those who have lost a beloved pet. We aim to seek a resolution on the shortage of emergency animal facilities and vets, and possible help with vet costs due to injuries. We want to provide social media and website alerts on sightings and attacks, and to give pet owners a place to share their stories. We do not adocate harming any wild animal. 

Be aware - no fear. 

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Understanding Pet Predators

Coyotes are not the only predators that you need to protect your pets from! 


Coyotes and other natural predators are here to stay.  They have inhabited just about every region in the United States from coast to coast.  They are spotted roaming in the deserts, mountains, resort properties, Country Clubs, golf courses, parks, suburban neighborhoods, towns, and bustling big cities, as well as can easily sneak into high-fenced private backyards with ease.  As we humans encroach upon their space more and more, the possibility of coyote and other natural predator encounters increases. It is up to us to take the necessary measures to safeguard our pets to avoid interactions and conflicts. Pet predators are not limited to only coyotes. In fact, about 7% of predator attacks on pets are by bobcats, 2.5% from owls, and .5% from others such as mountain lions, eagles, and hawks. Contrary to popular opinion, raccoons are responsible for less than .001% of pet deaths. Most studies on coyote diets found that domestic cats are not a regular part of a coyote diet. Feline remains were only present in 1-2% of coyote scats.


As a side note, there is another type of predator of pets - the human predator! Beware of unscrupulous individuals who will uncaringly steal your beloved fur-baby. There are FIVE main reasons that pets are being dog-napped: resell is big business now; bait for illegal dogfights; breeding, ransom, and, yes, food source for certain cultures.  Let’s concentrate on the first reason – resale.  Dog thefts are on the increase across the nation.  Case in point, the violent dog-napping of Lady Gaga’s dog in a high-profile neighborhood where crime is low.  Her dog would have fetched a pretty penny on the market.

 We, at Amy’s Purpose, will constantly issue the warning to never leave your pet unattended because of four legged predators, birds of prey and poisonous snakes.  That warning has been extended to pet thieves just watching and waiting to abduct your precious fur babies.  These creeps lie in wait stealing pets out of cars, out of yards, and out of your hands during a walk.  Older and more vulnerable citizens are their favorite targets.  They can run up from behind, push, and snatch.  It is extremely important to make sure your pet is micro-chipped and details are up to date.