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Maritza and Ray met 36 years ago while they were students at Cal, where they became best friends and never dated each other. They both were active in the Filipino-American student organization on campus, known for their obnoxious but playful ways, and always joked about opening an amusement park called Lizzieland, named after Ray's favorite Rampage video game character, Lizzie.


Fast-forward five-or-so years: Ray proposed to Maritza in his 1980s Honda CR-X, after a failed romantic attempt at strolling through Golden Gate Park and snacking on Cracker Jack, inside which a diamond ring was hidden. Less than five months later, their new world capsized when Maritza was diagnosed with colon cancer. They both had just turned 27.


Ray and Maritza often talked about raising two dogs. Ray envisioned two golden retrievers; however, after Ray took Maritza to a dog show in San Francisco, she fell in love with beagles. This wasn’t a surprise, given that Snoopy was Maritza’s favorite childhood character. Ray and Maritza's first dog, Casey, was just like Snoopy—anthropomorphic and lively.


Beagle number two, their sweetly shy Charley girl, came along two and a half years later. She and Casey, for 18 years total, represented the children that Ray and Maritza didn’t think they could have, due to Maritza’s chemotherapy treatment most likely affecting her fertility.


So, the Beagle Years ensued. Maritza and Ray forewent traveling abroad and drove to Carmel Beach, Santa Barbara, Mendocino, San Diego, LA, even Las Vegas—to give Casey and Charley the world, albeit condensed. They adorned their home with dog-themed decor, replaced their wedding bands with silver paw-engraved rings, volunteered at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, and donated money regularly to their favorite animal shelters.


Fast-forward to present day: With Ray, Maritza was able to conceive two beautiful, spirited children, named Marco Casey and Emilio Charley. They are two of the craziest-active kids in Park City, the family’s current city of residence. Their activities epitomize what Maritza and Ray want for other children, too. For this reason, their dog and kids’ retail-boutique dreams metamorphosed into a family foundation, named after Casey and Charley. Their memory will forever live through this organization and its efforts to “give the world” back to others.


Oski the Goldenbeardoodle—a.k.a., Oscar—joined the family in the summer of 2021. Oscar, Maritza, Ray, Marco, and Emilio plan to help continue giving this wonderful world back to others, starting with Lectura Lounge and its Reading Buddies program.

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