What a fantastic fundraiser! There was great food, lots of raffle prizes, a silent auction and of course lots of dogs. Thank you K9 Connection for all you do for the dogs and the kids. You are all amazing!

For those interested in coming to next year’s bash, be sure to sign up for their mailing list. And if you want to donate to the cause, you can do that at any time!

Turn up the volume and take a look at all the fun!





Beach Days

Posted on June 17, 2012

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S.T.A.R.T {One Year Anniversary}

Posted on June 10, 2012

S.T.A.R.T. SHELTER TRANSPORT ANIMAL RESCUE TEAM (A 501c3 non-profit) was formed in May 2011 by Steve Spiro, Suzanna Urszuly, Rene Ruston and Adam Tarshsis.

They began raising money and transporting dogs from high kill shelters here in LA and sending them via van or plane to Oregon, Washington (WA) and Canada where they go to reputable no kill shelters or foster homes.

To date they have transported 1468 doomed death row dogs who are placed into loving homes.

Each transport costs between $2500-$3500 depending on the destination of the receiving group.

THE GOAL – to raise enough money to fund at least 8 transports a month.

They are also are teaming up with a pilot who can fly 30 dogs at a time and made the local news.

Happy one year anniversary guys! You are awesome.





Shady {16 year old dog abandoned}

Posted on June 10, 2012

It’s amazing the difference a day makes. Yesterday I left the shelter depressed and overwhelmed. Today I feel invigorated and filled with purpose.

This face hasn’t left my mind since I walked out of the shelter yesterday.

Her name is Shady. She is 16 years old. She has been at the shelter since May 29th. She is despondent, dejected and lost. Her face has invaded every moment I’ve lived today. Driving to the Riverside shelter…she popped into my head. Photographing the dogs there…she made her presence known. Eating lunch…there she was again.

With every thought of her, it became obvious what I had to do. But I’m still somewhat sane and I knew that it was probably a crazy idea. And so I made a couple calls to some friends to get their thoughts on the subject. My question…Am I insane to pull a 16 yr old dog from the shelter? Turns out no one was around to talk me off the ledge. :) I continued to debate with myself about Shady.

I also sent an email to my contact at Carson to get more information about her. I knew that he probably wouldn’t get back to me soon, as he’s off on sundays and busy on mondays getting back into the swing of things. Imagine my surprise when almost immediately after I sent that email I got a response from him.

I thought Shady was a stray that found her way into the shelter. Turns out I was wrong. She is an owner surrender. My contact gave me all the info about her. Living her entire life with a family and then dumped because she was too old.

With this new information, her face haunts me even more.

My friends were still MIA. Probably ehjoying their sunday with family and friends. I really needed to talk to someone about Shady. The husband was out. If I brought up the subject, I’m sure he would say no way. But he is a softy inside and if I show up with her, he won’t be able to turn her away. (Yes, I’m sneaky like that)

I called my vet. (Who happens to be the best vet around.) He answered the phone with dread, I’m sure. I would never call him on his day off unless it was an emergency.

And so I told him about Shady.

“I have almost made up my mind and I know it’s crazy, but I can’t let her die alone in the shelter. I just don’t know what to do. If you tell me not to, I probably won’t listen.”

He knows me well and didn’t even try to talk me out of it. Instead he told me to bring her in to the office when I get her and he will check her out. See? Best vet ever.

I made one last call to a friend and fellow rescue type, Steve. He is very level headed and doesn’t act on impulse like I do. He asked me what I was going to do. In that moment my decsion was made.

I am going to pull her from the shelter and find her a home. I’m going to treat her eye and make sure she isn’t in any pain. We’ll see what happens. I have no idea how her health is…at 16 years old there could be so many things wrong. But I’m throwing caution to the wind. I think she deserves to spend the last days (or months) feeling loved.

I’ve set up a Chip-In account for her to cover her medical and pull fees. And of course lots of yummy dog treats are in her future.

Sunny today:

Shady has found a new “leash” on life.





Some days are harder than others

Posted on June 9, 2012

Some days I’m filled with hope and purpose when I walk into the shelter. Others I go through the motions, trudging along as if I’m wading through quicksand.

As I walked in the shelter I could physically feel my heart close. It slammed shut without warning. I’m not sure why, but the noise, the smells, the dogs were just too much for me today. Maybe because I was there to photograph the U-Haul dogs. Maybe because I knew that placing some of them would be near impossible. Maybe because even with all my efforts the dogs and cats just keeping coming. It feels so futile.

Love. Warmth. Understanding. A friendly touch. A place to belong. Feeling like you matter. Isn’t that what we all want? Canine, human, feline—our needs are much the same. Is it too much to ask? Apparently it is.

As I walked the rows and rows of kennels, the walls felt like they were closing in on me, the air getting thinner. I imagine it’s what the animals might feel at times. Maybe all the time. The feeling is horrible. I just wanted to run out of there and never look back.

But I didn’t. I stayed. I photographed. I gave treats. I scratched ears.

The dogs cried. Whined. Barked. Some wagged. Others licked. Some turned and fled. Others cowered. Some never even lifted their heads.

My heart stayed firmly locked down. It bothered me that I felt nothing as I walked the halls. I don’t know what it means, if anything. Feeling helpless is not something I’m used to. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve just been given a taste of what it feels like to be a discared animal. Alone. Scared. Shut down.

It’s bleak. It’s dark. It’s overwhelming. No living creature should ever have to endure such things. For me I know it will pass. For the animals…I can’t even think about it.