Meet local artist and animal special needs rescue advocate, Carla Naden, of Synergy Animal Rescue Carla is a San Diego animal rescue advocate who is dedicated to saving and finding homes for special needs and senior shelter animals. She is also an incredibly talented local artist with a passion for animal artwork. She combines her artistic skills with her love of animals to create custom pieces of art for people nationwide (and a portion of the proceeds helps to support Synergy’s lifesaving rescue animal work).
Carla’s artwork is tangible and easy to gaze at for long periods of time. Each time you look, you’ll see a new element or detail you missed the last 100 times. She uses paint, fabric, ink, letraset, collage, etc. to create these amazing pieces. What’s the best part? They so beautifully and so accurately capture each animal’s soul.
"I like art because I get to be messy, dirty, and creative. There are no rules," says Carla. She also applies that same logic to her animal rescue work, thinking outside the box and doing whatever it takes to help an animal in need.
It all started with a dog named Nugget. "I was taking a tour of a shelter with another rescue organization, and there was this little, old, skinny dog—he looked like an opossum—barely moving in the back kennel. The shelter said he had one more day and that was it. I decided then and there that I would take him to spend the remainder of his old life with my animal family and me."
Nugget was given two weeks to live, but with the help of local veterinarian, Dra Rebeca Serrano, he lived for another seven months.
In 2013, she started Animal Synergy to work with shelters to save the geriatric, the broken, and those with missing limbs or eyes. "This is the sector of the animals in shelters that everyone tends to ignore, as they are not considered ‘adoptable.’ Initially, the shelters told me it was too hard, or would cost too much. I knew I had to open people’s eyes and hearts and homes to these beautiful animals that have so much to teach us.
"We overcame the odds and accomplished exactly what everyone had told me was impossible! Thirty animals have been saved to date!
"Elvis was one of them. He was rescued from animal control. Elvis could not use his back legs or control his bowels, but there was a flicker of light in his eyes and we knew he wanted to live. We provided him with love, medical care, and support. With the help of Tsavo's Canine Rehabilitation & Fitness Center, Inc. (who graciously donated rehabilitation services to Synergy), along with many hours of hugs and snuggles, Elvis is not only walking, but he even goes on hikes with his new family!
"Tinkerbell was rescued from animal control a few months ago, scared and broken. Tink was loved, rehabilitated, and recently road tripped to her new forever home in Oregon!"
If you want to help: "We now have an opportunity in San Diego to go into the shelter system as volunteers and practice the art of kennel enrichment. This means not just walking the dogs, but enriching their lives, changing the whole shelter experience to be one of love and kindness—sitting with them, reading to them, misting them with lavender. This means making the animals happier so when people come to look for a dog, they see a happier dog, one that perhaps knows how to sit, one with love and hope in its eyes; not sadness. At the end of the day it's all about the animals—let’s make it a good day."
For more information on art or volunteering contact Carla@animalsynergy.org .