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My Karuna: Jamie Lee Curtis Opens Her Heart

Jamie Lee Curtis has illuminated our movie, television, and computer screens for more than 40 years—long enough for many fans to feel like she’s a longtime friend. She has that quality, a gift for connection, and it’s apparent both onscreen and off. You may know Curtis from one of her many films that have earned her an Oscar, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA (British Film Academy Award) for Best Supporting Actress, as well as numerous nominations. She’s a versatile actor with an impressive range—whether horror, comedy, action, or drama, Curtis makes you believe. Her relatability and authenticity have made her a favorite of audiences around the world. Curtis is also a hero to women, having been bold enough to smash the notion that women over a certain age are wilting flowers. Curtis instead proves that women are ever growing, super blooms.


But Jamie Lee Curtis holds many other titles, too—wife, mother, sister, LGBTQIA+ advocate, #1 New York Times bestselling children’s book author, who has written 13 books, television/ film/podcast producer, founder of a nonprofit, CEO of Comet Pictures, and Dog Mom to a magical little pup named Runi.


Runi is short for Karuna, the Sanskrit word for compassion. He is an adorable, white floof with melting brown eyes, and he adores his mom. In fact, you will catch him staring at his mom all day long – even if he’s getting belly rubs from someone else.


The Canine Connection

Curtis lights up when she talks about Runi. “He is my complete. I love him so much.” She describes the first small dog she had, Clark the “no-bark” dog, who looked a bit like Runi. Everyone who met the little dog loved him. After Clark’s passing, Jamie and her family welcomed several other dogs, mainly large breeds, into their home. But in 2016, she found herself craving the companionship of another small dog.

With the help of Nancy Sarnoff of Perfect Pet Rescue, Jamie was introduced to a white poodle mix who had been recently rescued from the streets of Los Angeles. Jamie was working at the time, so she was only able to view a photo of him, but she connected with Runi right away. She knew this dog was meant to be with her. In the days leading up to the formal adoption, Jamie called Nancy every day to check in on Runi, get daily photos, and make sure he was doing well.


Once at home, Runi adjusted in his own time. At first, he was quiet and cautious. No barking—much like little no-bark Clark—but Runi soon found his voice and began to reveal his personality, impressive herding skills, and obsession for yellow balls. He also began working with a trainer right away, Jamie points out. “I hired a dog trainer, because I believe it’s important to train your dogs and establish healthy relationships with them.” Working with a trainer helped Runi become the best version of himself. Although he’s an expert leash walker, sometimes he decides to turn into “a bit of brute,” according to Curtis. But, because of his training, Rumi knows to quickly change his behavior when corrected. Like his mom, he ultimately just wants to bring people peace and comfort, and maybe a smile or two.


Who is Runi?

Curiosity about all things Runi prompted Jamie to request a dog DNA test to reveal what breed Runi’s ancestors might have been. Here’s how Runi’s ancestral breed mix breaks down:

■ 25% Chihuahua

■ 25% Shih Tzu

■ 12.5% Miniature Pinscher

■ 12.5% Poodle

■ 24% “Sporting and Companion” breed group

“So, what is interesting about my little Runi is that all those breed reports are kind of correct, but we learned very early on that Runi is a herder—he is ball obsessed. He will chase it, play with it, and herd it. He’s a natural at herding, much like a cattle dog. He is just an incredible companion, and he’s changed our lives.”


Jamie and Runi share a deep bond, and she honors that bond by making sure Runi is living his best life every day. In celebration of Runi’s 6-year adoption anniversary, Jamie shared a message on her Instagram.

“Six years ago, today my life changed. @perfect_pet_rescue introduced me to Runi and my heart opened. We have had many adventures and he came with me to all the shoots of the Halloween movies, and we have had long separations due to work. He is sweet and fierce and funny and feisty and has discovered his voice. He is loved by my friends and family and has my heart. Happy adoption day to this sweet friend. I love, you Karuna!”


A Day in the Life of Runi

A typical day in the life of Runi includes waking up at 4:30 a.m. with his mom. He hops outside for a quick potty break, then retrieves a toy to show his mom. “Runi is a toy guy. So, in the morning, he will go get a toy, show it to me, we have a conversation about it, and then he goes under my desk to wait on me while I do all my morning work.”

Runi walks every day with a dog walker, but when Jamie is home, she prefers to take him on walks herself. After mealtime he’ll grab his favorite toy – a yellow ball from Planet Dog – and get a little play time in. Eventually, he will find his way to the couch and do his signature move. Jamie calls it “The Drop.” She explains, “You’ll be sitting on the couch, and he will come over and do a very specific movement so he can lean his whole weight against you. Ahhh … it’s better than an Oscar, better than any drink or drug I’ve ever taken. The feeling of him leaning against you is priceless.”

Giving Back

Jamie Lee Curtis is an outspoken, compassionate human being who moves people to action and stands up for her beliefs and her people. She believes in small acts of kindness and offering comfort and support to those in need. To steward this belief, she created My Hand in Yours (myhandinyours.com), an online shop featuring items handcrafted by artists and makers. Everything on the site has a pleasing touch, a softness or smoothness, that’s designed to bring comfort when touched. These comfort items are perfect for a loved one, friend, or colleague going through a hard time and as celebration gifts as well. Best of all, My Hand in Yours reports that “100% of every sale goes to the care and treatment of critically ill and injured children at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, so it’s a gift that will keep on giving year-round.”


Her love for animals resulted in a new offshoot of her nonprofit, My Paw in Yours. This online store is a collection of made-by-hand pieces for dogs and dog lovers. The proceeds from these sales support the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles program that brings service animals into the hospital to comfort and cheer up the hospital’s young patients.

The Little White Dog by Her Side

At the end of our interview, Jamie shared a sneak peek of the cover art of her most recent children’s book, to be released at the beginning of next year. Her 14th children’s book, Just One More Sleep, is written by Curtis and illustrated by artist Laura Cornell. As she revealed the colorful and playful cover art, I saw it. It was right there on the cover, of course—the little white dog. The one who’s always by her side.


Runi Fun Facts

Runi’s Top 5 Things He Can’t Live Without:

  1. Yellow Ball
  2. Yellow Ball
  3. Fuzzy Beach Ball
  4. Small Animal Toy
  5. Yellow Ball

Runi’s Best Party Trick: Yellow Ball.

Runi’s Greatest Obsession: Mom (and Yellow Ball)

My Paw in Yours Featured Pieces

My Hand in Yours (myhandinyours.com) has a collection we love called My Paw in Yours that features items for pet parents and pet lovers. Some of those items include: a comforting Warm Up Puppy, a beautiful leash and companion bag, artful stainless steel water and food dishes. Like all items available on the site, 100% of every sale goes to the care and treatment of the children at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Visit My Hand in Yours to shop the pet lovers collection and other comfort gifts at: myhandinyours.com and be sure to follow them on Instagram @my_hand_in_yours for news and new product announcements.

Warm Up Puppy ERICA CHAN
Warm Up Puppy
Dog Leash
Dog Bowl

Happy Tails

Photo Courtesy AnimalSamaritans.org

This is Tinker’s story. Before being rescued by his loving family, Tinker was a homeless stray. Tinker’s family found him on a rainy desert night—cold, alone, and scared. That was 8 years ago, and his adoptive family has loved and cared for him ever since.

His owners say Tinker was always a happy, healthy dog. Then one day, his owner noticed that something about his eye looked different. He explains that Tinker’s eye “suddenly became cloudy,” so they booked an appointment with Animal Samaritans Pet Ophthalmologist, Dr. Pamela Ko.

Dr. Ko has been treating Tinker for several months. Dr. Ko determined he had developed glaucoma in his right eye and was suffering from a painful deep corneal ulceration. For the sake of Tinker’s well-being, the doctor strongly recommended enucleation of Tinker’s right eye.


Tinker’s owners had done everything they could to treat his eye condition, but unfortunately, they exhausted their financial means and could not continue to help him. They feared they might have to consider euthanasia.

When Animal Samaritans realized they were struggling to provide for Tinker’s treatment, his owners were encouraged to apply for assistance through Animal Samaritans grant funds. These funds, supported by the Annenberg Foundation and donations through the Animal Samaritans Senior Fund provide qualified seniors with financial aid for their pets’ medical treatment.


With the help of Animal Samaritans grant funds, Tinker’s family paid just over $400 for his treatment. Thanks to a generous Annenberg Foundation grant and donations through the Animal Samaritans Senior Fund, Animal Samaritans was able to cover the remaining $3,740 owed for Tinker’s surgery.


If you or someone you know has a pet in need and are struggling to cover the cost of that pet’s treatment, email us at info@animalsamaritans.org to learn more about our programs. Or, for more information, visit animalsamaritans.org.


Does Your Dog Know if You’re Nice?

Understanding the moral lives of animals can be mysterious and challenging. There is still much we don’t know about how they perceive the actions of others, including ours. Do our dogs make moral judgements? Do they understand concepts such as altruism and selfishness? While we don’t yet have the answers, there are some intriguing studies that attempt to explore these concepts.

One example is a 2015 study at Kyoto University that aimed to look at how dogs perceive sharing. In the first experiment, dogs watched a scene in which a person was trying to open a can. When they weren’t able to, they asked another person for help. In some trials, the second person would help, while in others they would refuse. Sometimes a third person was present, who would be neutral and do nothing at all.

During the second experiment, the dogs watched two people turn up with three balls each. The first person would ask the other to give them all their balls. The second person would agree and hand them over. They would then ask them to be given back. In some instances, the first person would return the balls. In other instances, they would refuse. A bit like a conflicted game of fetch!

So, what did the researchers learn? At the end of each experiment, those involved in the trials offered the dog a treat at the same time. In every scenario, dogs were happy to take a treat from the helpful or neutral person, but were reluctant to receive a treat from those they saw acting “selfishly.” Which just goes to show, we should be on our best behavior around our dogs! In fact, the researchers suggested that dogs may make social judgments in very similar ways to human infants.

Dogs are masters of observation – they are constantly studying us and the world around them for clues and information. This skill allows them to live successfully alongside us and helps to keep them safe. So, don’t forget – your dog is always watching!

Will ER Care Be There When You Need It?


On February 23, 2015, after an anonymous tip, San Bernardino County Animal Control discovered an apocalyptic sight at a run-down property in DeVore, California. Nearly 200 dogs had been abandoned by backyard breeders, most crammed into cages and wooden crates with barely any room to move. They’d been left without food and water. They were forced to live in their own filth, as well as with the dying or dead bodies of their companions. Older purebreds were found weak and malnourished from over-breeding that resulted in producing too many babies – some of whom were blind.


All the dogs, including a timid gray and white terrier with one blue and one brown eye, were rounded up and taken to the Devore Animal Shelter. They were checked by a vet (many could not be saved because of their grave condition). A local pet groomer volunteered to clean up the survivors. The plight of these dogs made national news. And the little 10-pound terrier with one blue and one brown eye was featured getting groomed on television screens across Southern California during the evening newscast of a Los Angeles news station.

Lindi Biggi, president and founder of the animal rescue nonprofit Loving All Animals based in Coachella, California, was in line with other rescue groups responding to the DeVore emergency. Lindi and her friends were on hand bright and early to be a part of a lottery to obtain as many of the mill pups as possible. They were given seven rescued dogs, including the adorable terrier. Lindi and her team made plans to place the puppy mill dogs into local foster-to-adopt programs to rehabilitate, socialize, and train the feral pups to make good companions. After weeks of social training, I was blessed to adopt the terrier with two different-colored eyes. I named her Amy.

Painful Lesson

Amy was as cute as heck, with an outgoing personality that garnered her many awards and an impressive Facebook following.

Then, four years later – on December 22, 2019 –- tragedy struck. I opened the French doors to let precious Amy and our 75-pound American Bulldog Sugar go out into our backyard to sun themselves on the chaise-lounge, as they loved to do in the California high desert. Our property overlooks wide vistas of rugged desert terrain. We were aware there were predators – coyotes, bobcats, hawks, owls, and rattlesnakes – but we’d never encountered any in the few months we’d lived in our new home near Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert.

Amy and Lindi Biggi

Until we did. I let the dogs out one day, as usual. I turned back briefly to pour some tea, and in that instant, my Amy was gone. Killed by three large coyotes. We were utterly heartbroken. I was traumatized and shattered.

To honor our special fur-baby, my fiancé Jeffrey and I decided to start a foundation, Amy’s Purpose, to help educate and bring awareness to pet owners to better safeguard their dogs and cats, and even themselves.

About a year after Amy’s death, our American Bulldog Sugar injured her back leg and was in extreme pain. I contacted my local veterinary clinic, a five-minute drive from my house. The doctor/owner was on overload and could not take my dog. I ended up calling every vet and emergency clinic in the high and low desert to no avail. Sadly, the answer was always the same, “Sorry, we are too busy.” We ended up driving almost an hour to the nearest clinic willing to accept our emergency. When all was said and done, I initiated an online poll. I asked, simply, “What the heck is going on?”

Amy and DeAnn Lubell

Where are the Veterinarians?

I received dozens of responses, horror stories from pet owners who experienced the same challenge of having to drive miles outside of their communities to obtain medical treatment for their dogs and cats. Some of these stories did not have happy endings. Pets died along the route. The critical shortage of veterinarians, vet technicians, and vet assistants is activating a major crisis in animal emergency healthcare. Panicked pet owners seeking urgent medical aid for Fido and Fluffy are regularly being turned away as veterinary hospitals are critically short staffed to handle the demand.

I was determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. I contacted my veterinarian, Dr. Linda Colburn, owner of Companion Animal Clinic. Dr. Colburn was a wealth of information. She said that there are three major reasons contributing to the crisis. One, too few veterinary medical vet schools exist in the United States. Vet medical schools are as expensive and as academically challenging as human medical schools. For every veterinarian in this country, there are 18.5 positions available. Vets can choose to work wherever they wish to practice. Second, people were obtaining more pets than usual during the pandemic, which caused an overload of veterinarian healthcare needs on top of what was already an impossible scheduling feat. Third, there are simply not enough qualified and certified veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants.

My first call was to my friend Michael Phipps-Russell, executive director of Loving All Animals. He is a walking encyclopedia of information regarding animal welfare, rules, and regulations. We discussed the problem at length. It seems that animal rescue groups were facing the same roadblocks as pet owners. It was not that long ago when it was a breeze to get a veterinarian to see a newly received rescued animal. Now it can take days, if not weeks. It became clear that the best way to help was to offer, through Amy’s Purpose, veterinary assistant scholarships to individuals interested in animal sciences.

This is when the award-winning journalist, Bruce Fessier, along with the College of the Desert (COD) Personal and Career Education (PaCE) Veterinary Assistant Program located in Palm Desert, California, came into play (the only veterinary assistant program in the Coachella Valley). Fessier became actively involved with Amy’s Purpose and its missions after his little dog Gracie was hit and killed by a car. Bruce realized that if Gracie had required emergency care, trying to find an animal care facility in an emergency would have been a nightmare. He became especially interested in an Amy’s Purpose scholarship program to help educated individuals interested in becoming veterinary assistants.

Sydney Villavicencio

“We learned that the tuition to the seven month class costs $3,195, plus accessories, and the average pay for a veterinary assistant is $16 an hour,” said Fessier. “We felt we could encourage more students to enroll in a class to become certified as a veterinary assistant if we could provide scholarships for students who couldn’t afford that tuition. The course includes an externship at local veterinary clinics and hospitals, including the VCA Rancho Mirage Animal Hospital. It also prepares students to be placed in veterinary assistant jobs after they graduate with an American Veterinary Medical Association certificate. We prepared questionnaires for our scholarship applicants to fill out to ensure they will work in the Coachella Valley or Morongo Basin, and we placed a highest priority on students interested in continuing their education to become veterinary technicians or veterinarian doctors.”

For some nine months, Fessier and I worked around the clock to organize a fundraiser at the Palm Springs Art Museum – we called it “Pet Love and Rock & Roll.” Our goal was to raise a dozen or more scholarships at $3,200 each for the seven-month course, which includes remote and classroom learning, culminating with hands-on externships at local veterinary clinics and hospitals.

Through a partnership with the COD and PaCE, 18 scholarships have been underwritten so far (including 5 that were matched by the COD Foundation), with enough net proceeds to help Amy’s Purpose sustain its pet safety programs. Amy’s Purpose scholarship recipients will make a difference in filling needed positions in the desert communities. Six attended the 2022-23 fall/winter session; six are currently attending classes; and six more will start the program this fall of 2023 thanks to generous underwriters – a team of dedicated Amy’s Purpose executive board and advisor board members; and loyal supporters.

“Because of the Amy’s Purpose Veterinarian Assistant Scholarship,” said Sydney Villavicencio, “I got the opportunity to receive an education in animal sciences. I probably would not have been able to take the course without it, especially coming from a lower income family. Hopefully, I can continue in this career field without having a financial burden. I really appreciated this scholarship. It has enabled me to get a jumpstart into the very competitive career path of veterinary medicine. I am extremely grateful.”

To learn more about Amy’s Purpose, its missions, and upcoming events, please visit amyspurpose.net or call 760-831-3090.

Tips for a Healthy and Happy Summer


Make sure your pet always has access to clean fresh water, which is even more important during summer months.

Stay active:

Have your pet exercise indoors in a climate-controlled environment.


If you do take your pet outside for a walk or to play, make sure you have them wear booties on their feet. At the very least, always touch the ground with your bare hand. If you can’t keep your hand on the ground comfortably, then your pet’s feet should not be touching the ground, either.

Eating habits:

Most dogs eat less food during the warmer months. Don’t be alarmed, but make sure your pet is still receiving the necessary nutrients daily.


Brush your dog’s coat regularly to remove excess hair. During the heat, many dogs will shed their undercoats, and this will help keep them more comfortable.


Be sure to guard against fleas, ticks, and lice, all of which become more active in the warmer months.

8 of the Best Pet-Friendly Hotels in Southern California


Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a lengthy vacay, traveling with your furry friend can be tricky. Hotels claiming to be “pet friendly” sometimes offer nothing more than admission—with no notable pet amenities. Even then, they may have breed restrictions, weight restrictions, or high fees that don’t accommodate you and your dog.

If you want to stay somewhere that “gets” pets, look no further! From Santa Barbara to San Diego, these eight Southern California hotels are committed to catering to your canine companion.

La Valencia Hotel

Vintage meets modern luxury at the La Valencia Hotel. This hotel overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is a remarkably beautiful getaway for you and your dog. Your best pal can pick their favorite dish from La Valencia Hotel’s restaurant dog menu and savor their meal from the outdoor patio. The nightly pet fee is $50 per pet with a maximum of two pets in each room. Plus, there’s a “Pampered Pooches Package” that comes with a plush dog bed and dog bowls, $25 daily credit on the dog menu, a tennis ball and waived nightly pet fee with two dogs included in the rate. La Valencia Hotel is located at 1132 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037. Learn more at lavalencia.com.


Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

If you’re looking for a luxury experience and breathtaking beach views to enjoy with Fido, Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is a must-visit. Located less than a mile from the Santa Monica Pier, pets are welcome in every guest room, suite and bungalow hideaway. The hotel provides your dog (or cat!) with a lavish bed, collapsible travel bowl, all-natural treats and waste bags during your stay. There’s a $100 pet fee, with 10 percent of the fee donated to Wags & Walks. Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is located at 101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Visit fairmont-miramar.com.


San Ysidro Ranch

Ready for a magical stay with your canine companion? Practically designed right out of a fairytale, San Ysidro Ranch has had a historic guestlist in its 130 years, including Audrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball and John and Jackie Kennedy. The hotel offers a “Pampered Pet Program,” where your dog can sign in alongside you in the registration book and get their very own welcome in the form of a pet-friendly cookie treat! The program also provides plush pet bedding, personalized welcome amenity, water bowls and an in-room dining menu. Dogs of all sizes can stay at San Ysidro Ranch’s pet-friendly cottages with a one-time cleaning fee of $150 per stay. San Ysidro Ranch is located at 900 San Ysidro Ln, Montecito, CA 93108. For more information, visit sanysidroranch.com.



Kimpton Hotel

A trip to La-La Land wouldn’t be complete with a stay in the Kimpton Hotel. This sleek and stunning boutique hotel is about as pet friendly as it gets. There’s no size or weight limit, no limit on the number of dogs you can bring, and no deposit or cleaning fees charged (!). Additionally, there are courtesy bags for walking your dog and dedicated floors for guests with pets. The Kimpton Hotel has also partnered with Wag! in case you’re seeking pet walking, boarding, or sitting services over the course of your stay. Kimpton Hotel Palomar Los Angeles Beverly Hills is located at 10740 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024. Learn more at hotelpalomar-beverlyhills.com.


Hotel Indigo San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

Looking for a hotel with a convenient location with stunning views of downtown and Petco Park? Hotel Indigo San Diego Gaslamp Quarter welcomes all pets with no pet fee, complementary treats and accommodations and access to their rooftop pad. That way, you and your pooch can bask in the sun or catch a nice evening breeze. Hotel Indigo San Diego Gaslamp Quarter is located at 509 Ninth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101. Visit hotelinsd.com.

La Quinta Resort & Club

This peaceful Palm Spring oasis knows how to create a wag-worthy experience. The La Quinta Resort and Club has an exclusive PAWS La Quinta Canine Experience that includes seemingly endless dog-friendly, in-room and resort amenities. There are more than 45 acres of open grounds to trek and sniff, including hiking trails and doggie relief stations. Your BFF will be thrilled to have their own comfy dog bed, high-quality food and water bowls, and even a PupJoy box filled with a treat, toy and travel bowl. La Quinta’s dog fee is $150 per stay. The hotel is located at 49-499 Eisenhower Dr, La Quinta, CA 92253. To learn more, visit laquintaresort.com.


Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Just five minutes away from the beach, you can overlook Coronado Bay with a downtown skyline view at Loews Coronado Bay Resort. This lovely, luxury resort is the perfect hideaway from the daily hustle and bustle for you and your pup. You can expect your canine companion to get treats, bowls and placemats upon check-in, as well as gourmet room service menus designed by the chefs themselves, luxurious bedding, and even dog-walking route maps. There’s a $150 per stay fee with a limit of two pets per room. Loews Coronado Bay Resort is located at 4000 Coronado Bay Rd, Coronado, CA 92118. For more information, visit loewshotels.com/coronado-bay-resort.


Paséa Hotel & Spa


Located less than two miles away from the doggie paradise that is the Huntington Dog Beach, you’ll find an equally marvelous destination known as Paséa Hotel & Spa. This hotel knows how to spoil dogs! Your four-legged friend will bark in delight for tasty gourmet treats, exclusive dog park access and dedicated doggie menus. There’s also an option to upgrade with the hotel’s VIP Paw-séa Room package, which includes dog-friendly accommodations, keepsake items and more. Paséa is located at 21080 CA-1, Huntington Beach, CA 92648. Visit paseahotel.com to learn more.

Help Your Dog Keep His Cool This Summer


By Wyatt Dalton


Who remembers the blistering summer we experienced last year? Some parts of Southern California reached well above 110 degrees. Heat that intense is dangerous. During heat waves like we experienced last year, we need to be intentional about taking care of ourselves and the ones we love. Of course, this includes our dogs.

Our Dog’s Unique Way of Regulating Heat

Dogs have a unique way of dealing with heat. While humans are able to cool down by producing sweat, our dogs have very few sweat glands, and most of these are located around their paw pads. So when things heat up, dogs can’t cool themselves down as efficiently as we can.

Instead, dogs rely on panting to regulate their body temperature. When a dog pants, they evaporate moisture from their tongues, nasal passages, and the lining of their lungs, and this process helps to cool them down as water vapor is carried away with their breath. Additionally, a dog’s coat can help regulate heat by insulating their skin from the sun and directing airflow to cool them down.

However, while these mechanisms can help dogs cope with heat to some extent, they are not enough. Dogs can still easily become overheated or suffer from heat stroke. So it’s important to be aware of the dangers and take precautions to keep your dog cool during the hot Southern California summers.

Risk of Dehydration

Dogs can quickly become dehydrated if they don’t have access to water, especially when they’re out and about on hot days. Always ensure you carry plenty of water for your dog during outdoor activities. Dehydration can lead to serious health issues, so keeping your dog hydrated is crucial.

Potential Paw Pad Damage

A dog’s paw pads, when directly exposed to hot pavement or asphalt, can be severely burned. If the ground is too uncomfortable for you to press your hand against for ten seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog.

Dangers of a Hot Car

Leaving a dog in a car, even for a few minutes, can be extremely dangerous. The temperature inside a car can rise quickly, even with the windows cracked. On a 75-degree day, the inside of a car can jump to 85 degrees in just five minutes and 122 degrees in an hour. This can lead to heat stroke and even death for your pet. Never leave your dog in a parked car.

Signs of Heat Stroke

Dogs can suffer from heat stroke if their internal temperature reaches 104 degrees. Signs of heat stroke in dogs include heavy panting, thick saliva, dark gums or tongue, dizziness, disorientation, collapse, and vomiting. If you suspect your dog is experiencing heat stroke, immediately take action to help them cool down. Place cool, damp cloths on their chest and paw pads, offer them cool water to drink, and seek veterinary attention.

How Do I Help My Dog Stay Cool?

Helping your dog stay cool during the hot Southern California summers is crucial for their health and well-being. There are several strategies you can employ to ensure your furry friend remains comfortable and safe in the heat.

Keep Them Inside

One of the easiest ways to keep your dog cool is to simply avoid the heat altogether. If possible, during particularly hot days, consider keeping your dog indoors in an air-conditioned environment.

Water-Based Outings

One of the most enjoyable ways to help your dog cool down is to take them to a dog-friendly beach or lake, especially in the evenings when the temperatures are lower. Soaking their skin and fur in cool water is an effective way to lower their body temperature.

Frozen Treats and Toys

Because dogs cool down through panting, frozen treats can be extremely helpful. You can fill a Kong or puzzle ball with canned dog food, broth, or a homemade mixture of dog-friendly ingredients, and then freeze it. You can also try soaking a rope toy or a soft, absorbent stuffed toy in water and then freezing it.

Cooling Mats and Vests and Surfaces

Cooling mats and vests for dogs can be very effective in helping to lower your dog’s body temperature. These products are typically filled with a gel that can be refrigerated for added cooling power. Alternatively, providing a cool area of tile or concrete for your dog to lay on will do wonders for helping them keep their internal temperature down.

Wrapping Up

The hot Southern California summers can be tough on our furry friends. But by understanding how dogs handle heat and the risks of extreme heat, we can ensure their safety and well-being. Remember, your dog’s comfort and health should always be a priority, no matter the weather. They rely on us to keep them safe, comfortable, and cool—especially when summer gets intense.

Recovering from Surgery Let the Healing Begin

It’s 6:00 a.m. on a Monday, and your recently adopted 1-yearold shepherd mix pup Luna is staring at you hungrily from the side of your bed. You roll out of bed and give her the usual morning snuggles and love but are not feeling very good about not giving her breakfast. She is scheduled for her spay surgery this morning, and the veterinary clinic gave you strict instructions: No food after 10:00 p.m. the night before her surgery. As she follows you hopefully to the kitchen, you notice again how nervous you are about her surgery. Will she be okay under anesthesia? Will the surgery itself go smoothly? Will she be well behaved at the veterinary clinic? Will she ever forgive you for the lack of breakfast today?

By 8:00 a.m., you’ve dropped her off at the clinic and gone to work, where you anxiously await the post-op phone call, pretending you’re getting some work done. Finally, just after lunch, you receive the call—Luna has safely recovered from the anesthesia, and the procedure went well. You breathe a huge sigh of relief. The ordeal is over. But what you’re about to discover is that perhaps the hardest part of the surgery is just beginning!

Helping your dog or cat recover from surgery takes time, effort, and absolute adherence to the instructions given by your veterinary team. None of it is much fun, but the consequences of not following instructions can lead to serious, and in some cases, life-threatening consequences.

First, a short treatise on the dreaded Cone of Shame, aka the Elizabethan or E-collar (named after the large, stiffly starched collars popular in the Elizabethan era). People, and especially dogs, tend to heartily dislike the E-collar for many reasons, ranging from aesthetic to prosaic—including difficulty getting in and out of the pet door, some pets won’t eat or drink with it on, and many seem to use the hard plastic ones as a human bludgeoning tool on your shins.

As a veterinarian, I give you this advice: USE THE E-COLLAR. I worked as an emergency veterinarian for years, and nothing is more devastating to owners and the veterinary staff than having a young, healthy dog present at 2:00 a.m., sutures from their spay chewed out, causing their intestines to hang out of the incision. This can lead to one of two things: (1) An expensive second surgery to try to put intestines back (after removing the most damaged parts). Or, (2) if the damage is too great (or the cost too great for the second surgery, which can range from $2,000 to $4,500, depending on degree of damage), then euthanasia may be the most humane option. Of course, this option is heartbreaking for all concerned.

The hard plastic E-collar is frequently the least expensive, and most effective, option. But depending on type of surgery and location (surgery is like real estate: it’s all about location, location, location), other types of E-collars may be options. These include blow-up “donut” type collars, soft-sided cones, and surgical recovery suits/leg covers. Depending on activity level and the severity of the dog’s intolerance of the E-collar, sometimes two are combined, such as the soft-sided cone and blow-up donut. The surgical recovery body suits (that have attachable leg covers for knee and other leg surgeries) can be a great option, but they have some drawbacks, too. Always discuss with your veterinary staff the most appropriate option before going rogue and duct taping your grandchild’s inflatable water wings together around your dog’s neck (yes, this happened!). Also, the veterinary staff will know whether your dog has been wearing its E-collar. If I’m holding the leash of a bouncing baby golden retriever and the E-collar looks brand new, fresh as a spring day—you’re clearly not using that E-collar! If the E-collar comes in looking like it’s been through 8 of the 9 circles of Dante’s hell, then you get a gold star.

If your dog is struggling to accept the unpleasant necessity of the E-collar, or even to stay quiet and rest—I’m looking at you, young post-neuter Labrador—talk to your veterinarian about sedation medications, aka “better living through chemistry.” There are many safe options out there, and your veterinarian would love to discuss these with you to decrease the chance of post-op complications that result from overdoing it or being extremely dramatic about wearing the E-collar.

Which brings us to a brief discussion of what “strict cage rest” means. If your dog, post-ACL knee surgery, is placed on strict cage rest (except for recommended physical therapy/potty breaks), this entails confining your pup to a crate (crate training is a blessing, not a cruelty!), a small exercise pen, and possibly a small bathroom or pantry, etc. This means no jumping on and off furniture, no stairs, no going outside except to potty and only on a leash with either a harness or collar, no zoomies, and absolutely no dog parks or doggie play dates. Even post spay or neuter, too much exercise/motion/movement can lead to “dehiscence,” which is the fancy vet word for “the incision fell apart.” Strict rest is recommended for 10 to 14 days, which is the usual time before skin sutures are removed. Also there is no swimming or bathing until the sutures are out. Summer in the Coachella Valley is a great time for all living creatures to play in the water, but not for 10 to 14 days after surgery.

The consequences of not following instructions can lead to serious, and in some cases, life-threatening consequences.

Now let’s discuss pain medication. There are many different pain medications that can be utilized before, during, and after surgery. Controlling pain is integral to healing well from surgery with minimal complications. Some pain medications may make your pet drowsy, mildly sedated, or even occasionally cause the pet to act somewhat strange. Please call your veterinarian with any questions or concerns about strange behavior on the pain medications, but do check with your vet before deciding not to give them. The vet can prescribe different ones that your dog may do better on, but please do not just stop providing pain management. The exception here is that if any vomiting or diarrhea or lack of appetite occurs, I give you full permission to stop giving the meds, but then you need to call your veterinarian right away or go to the urgent care or ER to have this looked into immediately. Some pain medications can negatively affect the stomach/intestines, liver, or kidneys, and your veterinarian will want to recheck blood work right away if this occurs (yes, even though your pet just had a pre-op blood panel last week).

The post-op recovery period for your pet can be successful and relatively uneventful. As we’ve discussed here, this is mainly dependent on how well you as the owner follow post-op instructions, monitor your pet closely, have them wear the E-collar religiously, strictly adhere to any and all exercise restrictions, and give all medications (but especially pain medications) as directed unless vomiting, diarrhea, or not eating is noted. I always advise owners to just accept that the 10 to 14 days after surgery are going to be a lot of work and worry on their part, but that this is essential to a smooth, uneventful recovery. And I always tell them that their veterinary staff is here to help them and support them in any way possible!

Perfect Pet Rescue

Courtesy Perfect Pet Rescue

Nancy Sarnoff tells how she used to take her mother to visit the animal shelter to visit the dogs, in hopes of adopting one. During their visits, Nancy noticed that her mom was always putting money into the donation jar, even if she didn’t adopt anyone that day. Witnessing her mother’s unfailing support of these organizations inspired Nancy to start volunteering at a local organization, Orphan Pets. There she learned the ropes of rescue and saw first-hand the dire need for more people to step up and take action to save the lives of homeless pets.

The life saving began 30 years ago, and Perfect Pet Rescue has saved 14,000 dogs to date.

Expanding her commitment, she began volunteering at West LA Shelter. There she met a woman who was as passionate about saving lives as she was. The two knew they could help in a more impactful way, and together they created Perfect Pet Rescue (PPR). Starting from scratch, the women found a veterinarian who generously offered to house their rescues and provide medical care. From there, the life saving began. That was 30 years ago, and at the time of this publication, the organization has saved 14,000 dogs.

Dogs come into the care of PPR in various ways – shelter dogs who are out of time, owner surrenders, pets whose guardians have passed away, abandoned, and injured animals found by good citizens, backyard breeder turn-ins, the list is endless. But, no matter how a dog finds their way to PPR, all are treated with compassion, given the love and care they deserve, and most importantly, each dog receives the gift a new beginning.

Prior to adoption, all dogs are treated for any medical conditions, a full dental examination is performed, they are brought up to date on vaccinations, and are spayed or neutered. Some dogs are fostered by volunteers and some live at the rescue’s home base in Los Angeles, where they get plenty of play time, love and attention from staff and volunteers and, of course, Nancy.

Nancy says that every dog she saves each has a deeply rooted place in her heart, as do their adopters. “Over the years, I have met so many special people, and been lucky to become friends with them and have them be a part of my life. Recently, a couple visited who had just lost their dog to cancer. While visiting us, they fell in love with a dog we were caring for who had a large tumor. They fell in love with her, said they would take care of her medical needs, and adopted her. Those kinds of adopters are very special, and I know that sweet dog will have the best life with her new family.”

A few years ago, Nancy saved a white fluffy dog from the shelter who was found on the street—he was dirty and “just a mess.” But, she says, “He was so sweet.” Once rescued, a photo of the dog caught the eye of his future mom—Oscar-winning actor and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jamie Lee Curtis. Nancy says, “She flew down to meet him, and it was like it was meant to be, ” Nancy reveals. “Runi and his mom Jamie have become wonderful advocates for animal rescue, and their wide-reaching support helps everyone in the field of rescue.”

Nancy says her future goals for PPR are simple: Keep saving the dogs who need it most. To achieve this, PPR depends on volunteers, adopters, and donations of all kinds. She says they always need more volunteers to facilitate dog walks, play dates, and Doggie Day Out style field trips for the dogs. If you are interested in volunteering, adopting, or supporting PPR in any way, a visit to their website perfectpetrescue.com will get you started. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Available Dogs section, updated daily—perhaps you’ll find your perfect match.

As for all those trips Nancy made to the animal shelter with her mother? Well, her mom never did find “the right dog.” But perhaps her bigger plan was to show Nancy where she was needed most.

A Few Furry Faces From Perfect Pet Rescue

Adoption status of dogs pictured is unknown at time of print; please contact PPR for more details. www.perfectpetrescue.com IG: @perfect_pet_rescue FB: @PerfectPetRescue

Las Vegas Pet Tattoo Artist Ayala Bratt


Ayala Bratt is not your average tattoo artist. At only 23 years old, she’s made a name for herself as one of the best pet tattoo artists around. Originally from Israel, she moved to Las Vegas a year and a half ago to pursue her passion for tattooing.


Ayala’s journey to becoming a tattoo artist started at the young age of 13. She was the youngest tattoo artist in Israel, and 10 years later, her passion for art has only grown stronger. Once she immigrated to the United States, her tattoo career took off—especially her pet tattoos, loved by local Las Vegas residents and visiting pet owners who are looking to honor their furry best friends in the most permanent way.

Her specialty is fine-line and one-line artwork, which she discovered when a customer asked her to draw his dog using only a few lines. Ayala realized then that she had a special talent for fine- and one-line artwork, and it was the perfect medium for capturing the essence of pets. Ayala recounts that she found it “fascinating how you can tell a whole story in just a few lines.” Since then, she’s become an expert at using just a few strokes to convey an animal’s spirit and personality.


Her love for pets extends beyond her artwork—she has a Chow Chow named Puzi, her constant companion. When Ayala arrived in the U.S., she didn’t know anyone and spoke very little English. But she had Puzi, who was always by her side and provided comfort during that difficult time. As a result, he is the most spoiled dog in the world with his own bedroom, pool, and even a closet full of clothes and treats!

Ayala’s most memorable tattoo experience was with a customer who had special needs. He asked Ayala to tattoo his service dog, who had passed away, so that he could have him with him always. Ayala felt honored to create such a meaningful tattoo, and when she showed the customer the finished product, he was overcome with emotion. It was the most amazing reaction she’d ever seen to one of her tattoo pieces.


Her love for her dog Puzi—and all animals—has led her to a special niche in the tattoo world. For Ayala, tattoos are more than just a way to express herself artistically. They are a way for her to connect with and help other pet owners, by remembering and honoring the pets in their lives. She takes great pride in creating custom pet tattoos that are unique and meaningful to each customer.

With Puzi by her side, Ayala is living her dream as a tattoo artist in Las Vegas, and she’s excited to see where her career will take her next. You can connect with Ayala on Instagram @ayalatattoo1, on TikTok @ayalatattoo1, or through her website, ayalatattoo.com.

Visit her studio at 5300 Spring Mountain Road, Suite #105, Las Vegas, Nevada 89146, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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