Cristal's Blog


March 7, 2024

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The profound words of Mahatma Gandhi, "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated," resonates deeply with the values of empathy, kindness, and respect for all living beings, principles cherished by the Santa Barbara community. This quote acknowledges that animals, too, have emotions, and deserve to be treated with care and consideration. It prompts us to reflect on our moral responsibility towards animals and inspires us to take action to ensure their well-being. And it forms the foundation of our cherished nonprofit organization, Santa Barbara Humane (SB Humane).

A postcard from Santa Barbara Humane showcasing some dogs and cats up for adoption.

One of the First Animal Welfare Agencies in the West

SB Humane champions animals and the people who love them by providing essential services such as low-cost veterinary care, vaccines, spaying/neutering, humane dog training classes, pet adoption, and rehoming services. Since its inception in 1887, the local nonprofit organization has remained steadfast in its commitment to animal welfare. It started with a passionate group of individuals united by a common goal: to combat animal cruelty and establish effective measures for their safeguarding and well-being. Now, more than 135 years later, the organization's dedication to this mission endures, continuing to make a positive impact in our community to this very day.

A vintage black and white photo of the Humane Society Thrift Shop with a woman looking in the window.

Growing in the Present to be Stronger for the Future

Over the years, SB Humane has undergone significant evolution and growth, extending its services beyond Santa Barbara. In a landmark event in 2020, the culmination of generations of dedication and support culminated in a historic merger between Santa Barbara Humane and the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society. This pivotal merger breathed new life into the organization, fortifying its capacity to serve the community.

Today, both the Santa Barbara campus located on Overpass Road and the Santa Maria campus situated on Stowell Road provide comprehensive services including sheltering, animal adoptions, top-tier veterinary clinics, and behavior training programs. In response to a staggering 300% increase in requests for financial assistance, the organization has taken proactive measures, including extending clinic hours and augmenting medical services at both locations. Additionally, initiatives such as the relaunching of the Trap-Neuter-Return program and the establishment of an off-campus dog training facility underscore this group’s unwavering dedication to meeting the evolving needs of the community.

A cute kitten sitting on a dog's head with the dog looking up toward the kitten.

Embracing Socially Conscious Sheltering

For years, SB Humane has remained steadfast in its commitment to the principles of Socially Conscious Sheltering, embodying a profound dedication to the well-being of all living creatures. Grounded in compassion, transparency, and ethical decision-making, this approach serves as the cornerstone of their operations, guaranteeing that each animal entrusted to their care receives the compassion and assistance they rightfully deserve.

At the heart of Socially Conscious Sheltering lies the principle of prioritizing the well-being of every animal under their care. Here, each animal, irrespective of its background or circumstances, is provided with shelter, medical care, and tailored training to address behavioral needs. Moreover, the dedicated staff lavishes each animal with love and attention, fostering a nurturing environment aimed at ensuring their physical and emotional welfare. Through these efforts, the ultimate goal is to find each dog or cat a loving forever home where they can thrive and be cherished.

Recognizing the Value of Cooperation, Coordination, and Community Participation

Furthermore, the dedicated individuals at SB Humane recognize the importance of collaboration and community involvement in realizing common objectives. Through close partnerships with shelters, rescue groups, and community organizations, they amplify their influence and ensure efficient allocation of resources. This collaborative ethos extends to broader matters such as pet overpopulation and animal welfare legislation, where they actively advocate for policies that prioritize animal welfare and promote responsible pet ownership. By uniting efforts and advocating for systemic change, SB Humane continues to champion the cause of animal welfare and create lasting positive impacts within the community.

The organization is committed to openness and honesty with supporters, stakeholders, and the community regarding its operations, obstacles, and achievements. By fostering a culture of transparency, SB Humane cultivates trust and accountability, ensuring that every action taken is in the best interests of the animals under their care. This unwavering commitment to transparency not only strengthens relationships but also underscores the organization's dedication to upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct and animal welfare.

Moreover, SB Humane is committed to perpetual learning and enhancement. Understanding that the landscape of animal welfare is continuously evolving, staying abreast of the latest research, best practices, and innovations are prioritized. Through continual education and training initiatives, they strive to enhance the quality of care provided, resulting in optimal outcomes for the animals under their guardianship. This steadfast dedication to growth and advancement ensures that SB Humane remains at the forefront of animal welfare, consistently delivering compassionate and effective solutions to meet the evolving needs of their furry companions.

A birthday card from SB Humane, with a dog and cat wearing party hats in front of a cupcake with a single lit candle.

How You Can Help

SB Humane operates independently and does not receive funding or support from organizations such as The Humane Society of the United States or ASPCA. Instead, it relies on the generosity of local donors and volunteers to provide essential care for homeless dogs and cats. Your contributions and volunteer efforts are crucial in ensuring that these animals receive the care and support they require to thrive.

Supporting the vital work at SB Humane is achievable through various means, one of which is volunteering your time. Volunteers play a crucial role in its operations and are offered hands-on training and ongoing support to ensure that they are well-equipped to contribute to the cause.

If you don’t have time in your busy schedule to volunteer, there are other ways to get involved. Community members are encouraged to donate now, pledge a legacy gift, donate to the TLC Fund, create your own donor-advised fund (DAF), donate a wish list item, foster an animal, host a fundraiser, donate your vehicle, or simply send an e-card like the one pictured above. Your support, no matter how big or small, makes a meaningful impact in the lives of animals in need and helps SB Humane continue its crucial work in our community.

As you dedicate yourself to being part of the solution at Santa Barbara Humane, let me handle the sale or purchase of your home in any of the upscale communities in and around Santa Barbara. With my expertise and personalized service, you can focus on your noble cause while I manage all aspects of your real estate needs. Don't hesitate to reach out to me at (805) 886-9378 or via email at, and I'll handle everything else, ensuring a smooth and stress-free experience for you.

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    Client Reviews

    “It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

    - J & A

    “Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

    - M.F.

    “Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

    - P.B.

    “We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

    - T.C.

    “Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

    - D.R.

    “I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

    - M.A.

    “Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

    - D.K.

    “Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

    - S.N. Decker Ph.D.

    “Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

    - Johan and Paula van den Berg

    “Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

    - John and Lacey Williams

    “After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

    - Michael & Nancy Lee

    “Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

    - Richard and Catherine Frinier

    “Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

    - Laurie Siegel

    “We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

    - Ken Saffir

    “Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

    - Michael & Susan Marquart

    “A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

    - Rob & Judi Kelch