Sunday, July 25, 2010

Family Portrait

Tommy, his human, and cousin Zoe

When I found a home in Pasadena I had the great fortune of moving directly across the street from a woman who has since become my hero, Veronica Ferrantelli, founder of The Dog Rescuers. Sure, I guess you could say I saved Tommy; Veronica, on the other hand, has saved hundreds of dogs. The pack at her house is an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of dogs, rescued from high-kill shelters or some other horrific fate. Veronica fosters them until they’re adopted or transported to shelters far from LA County where they’ll have a much greater chance of finding loving homes.

Zoe is one of three permanent members of her pack.

The other night I called to see if I could stop by to pick tomatoes from her garden, an invitation she’d recently extended. “Come on by!” she said. And then I asked, “Can I bring Tommy?”

She hesitated. “Why don’t you come alone and bring Tommy by later?”

The full pack was in the yard. And so I went and picked tomatoes, without Tommy, while ten dogs wandered around the yard keeping me company. Ten dogs!

I shudder to think what would happen if Tommy’s testosterone-fueled, high-strung, bully energy were to enter the fray. And I don’t intend to find out. Before I arrive with Tommy, Veronica puts all the dogs into their respective dens in the house, except for Zoe, who has the grace and maturity to keep Tommy in his place.

Zoe is noble and kind. She is also playful. She and Tommy do a flirtatious dance together—the play bow, the run and chase. If Tommy gets too riled up, Zoe warns him with a growl and a nip, and Tommy backs off. Zoe is no pushover.

Unfortunately when I went by to pick tomatoes I forgot my camera, but here’s a picture from a few months ago that shows the house of doggie love.

Veronica used to have two dogs: Zoe and Cooper, the handsome copper dog in the forefront. She now counts little Lola (far left) as a permanent member as well. Lucky Lola!

Notice there is no Tommy in this picture.


  1. You and Tommy are a perfect pair! Sounds like your neighbor is my hero too; no, I don't know her, but anyone who is devoted to rescue in that manner you can't help but admire. I dabble in rescue with a small group in El Segundo (a friend of mine runs), making flyers updating the website etc. But pulling dogs and fostering is not something I can do at the moment. She has her hands full, and keeps the dogs she finds boarded. I will have to go check out her website 

  2. Oh my, I am humbled in gratitude. Such a beautiful heart to write such kind words. I am the lucky one having you magically move in across the street with Tommy Lee. What fun we have had with all our silly dogs and many adventures. There is something so comforting to have someone so like minded living right across the street. I am trying to post a few photos of you and Tommy. Maybe you can add them later. Thank you for all the love and unending support. "You Dangerous"

  3. daisydog, I guess Tommy and I are a match made in heaven. Thanks for the kind words about Veronica. She's very special but I must say you have opened your heart to help animals in a big way too. You're right up there in my book.

    Miss J, you too. I've seen your pooches on your blog. Thanks for stopping by.

    dog rescuer, I'm so happy to have landed in your 'hood.

  4. Dang it, I wrote a long comment for this post yesterday and I guess it evaporated. Suppose it all came down to: You and your friend are good people.

  5. Found you at Altadenahiker, and I like your stories. I think it's hard to write about pets without crossing into Sappyland, but you walk the line (nod to Johnny Cash). The "You Dangerous" post is my favorite.

    Unbalanced Ear dogs are especially appealing.

  6. Love it! And I love your photo with Tommy and Zoe - such posers! Walter is camera-shy so I have to sneak up on him and it's hard to get a good shot. If I had a lot of money and didn't have to work, I would buy a big place and take in as many dogs as I could. Tell your friend Veronica she is my hero, too!

  7. P.S. I love that one ear up and one ear down on Tommy! It gives him a gentle look!

  8. I love the one ear up and one down on Tommy too. He has such an intelligent looking face that I think he would be much more intimidating without the one floppy ear.

  9. Hiker, thank you for the kind words. You held Vandy's head while she bled: clearly you fall into the "good people" category as well.

    Banjo, thanks for stopping by. So nice to hear you like the Tommy stories and that I haven't spiraled into sappiness.

  10. flurrious, thank you as well for visiting.

    I agree with you, Liz, and Banjo: that floppy ear adds much to Tommy's appeal.

  11. I count myself among the lucky to have met Veronica. What she does is nothing less than amazing, and she's a delightful person to boot.

    I love the portrait and the story.

  12. Petrea, thank you. Another great thing about Veronica is that she brought me to your blogging seminar so I met you and learned about Pasadena Daily Photo. Lucky me.