MONTECITO, Calif. - School children had an uplifting start to their day with the arrival of hundreds of "comfort" dog dolls in Montecito this morning provided by Beanie Baby creator Ty Warner (Ty Inc.)
The new plush creation is "Cito" the search dog. It was "born" after the shocking January 9 mudflow that sent tons of rocks, dirt and destructive waters into hundreds of homes in Montecito. Two of Ty Warner's properties, the San Ysidro Ranch and the Four Seasons Biltmore remain closed due to damages from the natural disaster impacts.
Warner wanted to help the children traumatized by the event. He also saw the rescue dogs actively trying to find missing people through the first days of the catastrophe. They continued on for several weeks. 21 people were deceased, and two are still missing. There were more than 50 rescues, including some people who were located by the search dogs.
Each Cito doll has a tag with a special inscription written by Warner that reads:
“If there is a fire or flood, even if there’s a lot of mud, I will help you find the way, if you are hurting or gone astray.”
Children arriving at Montecito Union School were handed the plush Beanie Baby doll at 8 a.m. as they headed off to class.
There will be more available in the Upper Village Saturday during a special business promotion.
Other children including those at Crane School and the All Saints by the Sea school will be treated to the Beanie Baby Cito dogs next week.
Principal Nick Bruski was on hand to help distribute the dolls along with Ty Warner Director of Development Zack Sage.