2011 was filled with heartwarming tales of the bonds between people and their pets, and Los Angeles was home to many of these uplifting stories.
Ashlan Gorse and her Siberian Husky, Aurora
Ashlan Gorse, host of E! News Now, is the proud mom to a rescued Siberian Husky named Aurora. Gorse recently went through a scare that no pet owner ever wants to face after Aurora was diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately for both dog and owner, Aurora completed daily radiation and is on the road to a full recovery. Gorse says the experience has been life-changing for both human and dog, as caring for a suffering pet has made the bond between herself and Aurora unbreakable. Gorse is now an advocate on how important it is to routinely check your pet for abnormalities, as this is how she found the bump on Aurora’s elbow early enough for treatment.
Carol Quinn and her Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Sheila and Nairobi
Disoriented with her life and fed up with a complicated love affair, Los Angeles author Carol Quinn decided to switch things up by enrolling her two rambunctious Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Sheila and Nairobi, in dog agility training. Agility training is a highly competitive sport full of timed obstacles that require the participation of both dog and owner. Under the tutelage of a tough and eccentric Eastern European dog trainer named Irina—who dispensed hard-nosed dog training tips and unvarnished wisdom in equal measure—Carol discovered that dog agility is much more than a hobby—it is a metaphor for life. Carol says agility training will appeal to any dog owners struggling in a bad relationship, or those who are looking for some direction in life. Quinn’s book, “Follow My Lead,” is the story of a woman discovering happiness by working with her dogs.
Found Animals and Rickety the kitten
Found Animals, an LA-based non-profit group, reported a wonderful story about a family who adopted a kitten with cerebellar hypoplasia (CH). CH is a disorder found in cats and dogs that causes jerky movements, tremors, and generally uncoordinated motion. The newly-adopted owners of this kitten, aptly named Rickety, say special needs cats offer many rewards and are even more endearing because of their circumstances. For instance, of the adoptive family’s three cats, only the “healthy” cat known, as Squeaks, seeks to live 95% of her life amidst the once-clean countertops and dishes. Rickety, on the other hand, leaves the counters clean, opting instead to snuggle with guardians Alicia and Mike. Since CH cats tend to shimmy and shake frequently, they find comfort and stability from hugs. Rickety actually enjoys being held, which is a rare treat for cat lovers.
Adam Wilkenfeld and his dog, Bella
Documentary filmmaker Adam Wilkenfeld got the scare of his life when his dog Bella escaped from a Vancouver kennel by jumping over two 6-foot fences. The LA-resident brought his rescued boxer-lab mix along whim him to Canada, where he was working as the executive producer for a new television show called “Saw Dogs.” After escaping, Bella was gone for 30 days before finding her way back to the set of Adam’s TV show when she was spotted Bella wandering up the driveway. She was 65 pounds when she escaped and only 39 pounds when she returned to her owner. Adam says it’s a miracle that Bella survived in the wilderness by herself, as she was on unfamiliar terrain in very cold and wet conditions. On the day Adam got the call that Bella had disappeared, he had just bought an engagement ring for his fiancé. Now the three can live happily ever after.
If you have to head out of town – but can’t take your pet — here are some of the best overnight spots in town.
Susan Hartzler helms Alpha Dog Public Relations, whose clients span the pet, travel and technology industries. Hartzler is the LA Pet Products Examiner and keeps track of both pet and family issues and topics for you!