The animals lost a friend when Scott Sellman died Thursday night. But, somewhere out there, an anonymous young man will attest that the 42-year-old owner of in Foothill Ranch did not limit his good deeds to those with four legs.
“Right before we were open, a kid came to the front of the restaurant and asked for some food because he was hungry,” Robbie Decapua, Milo's manager, recalled. “[Sellman] gave him a meal and told him to stop by whenever he needed food. The kid stayed around and helped whenever he could because of Scott’s generosity."
"He showed his compassion even before we opened our doors.”
But Sellman, who apparently suffered a fatal heart attack while doing paperwork in the office of his renowned dog-friendly cafe, was best known for his constant support of animal causes. In addition to his establishment, a favorite stop for pets and owners who enjoy dining together, Sellman regularly donated and provided support to local animal rescue organizations, including Friends of Lake Forest Animals, Barks of Love and Coastal German Shepherd Rescue.
“He was a great guy and always allowed us to come out here on the weekend,” said Jamie-Lee Nelson, an animal rescue volunteer. “When I first heard the news that he died, I was shocked. I talked to his family and they decided that we would continue coming here and helping the rescue. It’s what he would have wanted.”
His generosity wasn’t limited to local causes either. When Japan was struck by a devastating tsunami in March, Sellman immediately raised funds and gathered thousands of pounds of dog food to ship to Japan. The money and food were donated to Desperate Paws of Orange County, which shipped the materials to areas of need.
“He was a really easy-going guy and loved animals,” said Decapua. “He had a big heart for a lot of the adoptions. He was really observant of the community.”
Decapua was with Sellman when he was suddenly stricken about 8:30 p.m. Thursday. “He got up from his chair and said, ‘I don’t feel really good,’ ” the cafe manager said. Moments later, he fell "gently" to the floor.
Decapua called 911 and Sellman was rushed to Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 9:08 p.m. According to Decapua, the cause of death was a heart attack.
Less than two days after her husband's untimely death, Sellman’s wife, Grace, was determined to continue running the restaurant.
“His vision will continue. We’re going to make this work,” she said. “This isn’t the end of Milo’s Café.”