“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” —Anatole France
Animal lovers know nothing quite compares to loving a pet. The numerous benefits to sharing your life with an animal friend include companionship, love, loyalty and laughs. As local pet lovers will attest, pets enrich our lives and enliven our souls. Whether furry, feathered or scaled, animals share a special place in our hearts. Unfortunately, many animals are euthanized each year, often left at shelters, abandoned or abused. Thankfully, animal rescue organizations run by caring humanitarians have stepped up to assist animals in need, treating medical conditions and providing food and safety until they find a forever home.
In addition to government-run animal shelters, private and nonprofit rescue organizations save thousands of animals every year, with the goal of matching pets with people who will love and care for them. Thanks to the efforts of local pet rescues, thousands of animals are enjoying new homes with generous, loving families who welcome them into their lives with open arms and hearts.
Sadly, animals that have suffered abuse or injury can be harder to find people willing to adopt them, however, rescuing these special creatures brings immeasurable rewards, as discovered by Pacific Palisades residents Brett and Karen.
“Star Paws posted a picture of Leo, very neglected, on Mother’s Day,” recalls Brett. “Karen saw the post and knew no one would adopt him because of his terrible condition.” Her heart went out to Leo. “She instantly responded, ‘We will take him!’” says Brett.
Undergoing emergency surgery to remove a potato-sized calcium stone from his bladder, Leo quickly recovered and became a cherished family member.
“He has adjusted very well to his new home and is a happy dog now!” says Brett, whose family made a video celebrating Leo’s incredible new life.
Rescue organization: Star Paws
Favorite toy: Any stuffed animal
Favorite food: Cheese
Favorite activity: Being pet; making up for times when he had no love.
Favorite family member: Brett
Why you love him so much: He has overcome so much abuse and just wants to be pet and loved.
Funny things he does: Any time he sees carpet, he flips on his back, rolls and moans!
Catch Leo on YouTube: Search “Leo’s Story, Star Paws Rescue.”
When Pacific Palisades resident Cathi met Mowgli, a Labrador mix with crooked ears and a crooked smile that a neighbor had adopted from the West LA Animal Shelter, she felt an instant bond.
“Mowgli looks a little bit like my last dog, Blue, so when I saw her, she brought back happy memories,” says Cathi, who happily stepped up when her neighbor needed to re-home Mowgli.
Cathi credits Mowgli with motivating her to exercise, helping her get to know the neighbors, and teaching her valuable life skills.
“She is a very anxious dog, and has needed lots of exercise, which I need as well. Learning how to deal with her anxieties has helped me understand better how to deal with anxious people,” says Cathi.
Rescue organization: West LA Animal Shelter
Breed: Lab mix
Favorite toy: Kong bone filled with treats
Favorite food: Salmon
Favorite activity: Going anywhere, in the car or on foot, just being out and about. She loves people!
Favorite family member: Cathi, but her favorite dogsitter, Cornelia, is a close second, as is neighbor Don!
Why you love her so much: She is good company and always wants to spend time with me. She has helped me get to know my neighbors.
Funny things she does: She tells me when it is time for me to go to bed by barking at me and making it impossible to watch television.
Bula found her way to her Malibu Colony home via Star Paws Rescue Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Animal Rescue Activist Victoria Burrows, who grew up in Malibu. When Bula’s “parents” first laid eyes on the cute little Teacup Lab, their hearts melted, and they welcomed Bula to the family, soon realizing she was much more than just a pretty face.
“She’s very smart,” Bula’s “mom” says, adding, “So much so that we gave her a middle name of Einstein!”
Bula enjoys a wonderful life filled with love and affection with her new family, who even take her along on trips.
“She has been to Canada and braved the harsh winter like a champ! She is a star!”
Rescue organization: Star Paws
Breed: We call her a “Teacup Lab” (a mix of Chihuahua, terrier and mini poodle).
Favorite toy: A squeaky furry skunk, given to her by her grandmother!
Favorite food: She’s obsessed with all food (like most labs)!
Favorite activity: Fetch, by far, fetch.
Favorite family member: Papa bear—her tail wags like crazy!
Why you love her so much: She’s the BESTEST! I have never had someone so excited to see me when we have been apart for 10 minutes.
Funny things she does: She prances!
Beau was adopted via the Petfinder website by a loving Malibu family that includes Jennie, Brian, Kiki and John Luke.
“Everyone should check to see if there are animals that need to be rescued from abusive conditions or neglect,” says Jennie. “Forget the breeders. Your soulmate dog or cat may be confined in a local shelter. Give them a home and your home will be enriched by a whole new source of love.”
Born with a birth defect that caused his intestines to protrude, the Landseer Newfoundland/Golden Retriever underwent lifesaving surgery by local hero vet, Dr. John Lupo.
“Beau seems to know that he needs to ‘pay it forward,’ bringing smiles and laughter and joy wherever he goes,” says Jennie.
Rescue organization: Petfinder
Breed: Landseer Newfoundland/Golden Retriever Mix
Favorite toy: A black and white Holstein cow stuffed animal
Favorite food: Fuji apples
Favorite activity: Swimming in the ocean and checking out surfers to be sure they are okay and don’t need to be rescued!
Favorite family member: Beau is an equal opportunity lover!
Why you love him so much: He brings so much joy (and goofiness) to our family, to strangers and to other animals he meets.
Funny things he does: Digs a resting place, a beach chair made of sand, for me at the beach and then rolls in the adjacent sand.