Wendy and Lucky Diamond Get A Big Treat In New Orleans!
While it seemed like Gustav was going to steal some of my spotlight this weekend, Lucky and I did what any true divas do best, let the show go on! Nothing was going to stop us from remembering the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with the Humane Society of Louisiana and the unveiling of the Katrina Pet Memorial! So, we headed down to New Orleans to do just that! Of course we hadn’t met Gustav – yet, nor had we any idea who the fellow was (he wasn’t invited to my Yappy Hour at the Ritz Carlton, New Orleans but fortunately we, among countless others, evacuated just in time before he hit New Orleans, and normally I don’t let men chase me away from anywhere … no matter how big he is.
Let me say that it is so amazing to see the people of New Orleans sticking together to help out not only the displaced residents, but also the animals that are in dire need of a shelter! The commitment the citizens of New Orleans have is unprecedented. My new, dear friend, Alfred Richard, Movie and Entertainment Reporter for WWL Television in New Orleans, describes the recovery of this beautiful city best: “The people of New Orleans, in a way, are like ants in an ant hill. We had a lot of water dumped on us, we scattered across the area, and now, we start to build our ant hill once more.” Although I don’t see the people of New Orleans like bugs, ants, or insects in any way, I sincerely recognize the drive and passion it takes to reunite such a beautiful and culturally diverse city.
While in Louisiana, I felt so honored to receive the Humane Society of Louisiana’s International Animal Ambassador Award for my work with animals. This was Lucky’s first award! Lucky has won a few pet awards (or as most call it – treats), but all of them came from me. I think she is the world’s greatest crumb cruiser and if there were Dog Oscars she would win Best Leading Maltese. As for my past awards, I think Lucky got me a WORLDS GREATEST DOG OWNER mug once, but that’s not really an award, it’s more of a mug. I’ll admit that during my speech I got very chocked up. I eventually threw the speech to the wind (not literally, a nd it wasn’t 150 mph either) at some point, letting my emotions get the best of me and also letting me speak from the heart!!
At the award luncheon I met a future vision of myself (a mini humanitarian me). There was a thirteen year old girl who had raised over $521 for the Humane society of Louisiana through selling dog treats to her dog’s friends back home! She reminded me of myself from ten years ago, just starting out and so naive, wanting to do whatever I could to help homeless animals! She was a real angel.
I had so much to say in my award acceptance speech that I’d actually like to share the puppy love part with you: “I’d rather help the people that really need help and help the animals that really need help … and Jeff and the Humane Society of Louisiana here in New Orleans represents Puppy Love. What they have done, and the devotion for the city of New Orleans, the unconditional love, the bond with this city and the loyalty to this city, they stayed through Katrina, who are staying here in New Orleans through Gustav. It’s amazing, and if we could all have Puppy Love for our little dogs, even tho ugh Lucky’s not a puppy anymore. It’s like looking at yourself and looking at your life and saying, you know what, it is great to have unconditional love and loyalty and the bond, I personally haven’t found it in a guy yet, but I have found it in a dog!” Just note we got lots of laughs and actual proposals from our speech!
Everyone looks at my dog as an accessory, which drives me crazy, because she actually works for a living, she goes and helps small little animal rescue groups across the country and the world, and she’s been to Russia to help the animal shelter world there, she’s been everywhere! So she’s actually delighted to be the Chairdog of the Katrina Pet Memorial. She’s so sick of being called a lap dog!”
The unsung hero of the luncheon was Jeff Dorson, the face behind the Humane Society of Louisiana who has been on the frontline of Katrina and sadly, their organization received only $100,000 or so since the hurricane struck. I know I keep repeating this, but over $50 million was raised for the animals and I don’t understand where it all went! Did Trouble Helmsley appear out of no where and gobble it all up? Please Go to HumaneLA.org to donate, and let’s get this much-needed shelter built for the animal victims!
As for our own endeavors, in respect of Hurricane Gustav, we had to minimize the planned Yappy Hour function at the Ritz Carlton, New Orleans. The event was planned to launch the Katrina Pet Memorial, of which Lucky and I are Chairperson and Chairdog. Regardless, we had a great crowd at the unveiling, and I was honored that one of my favorite artists, George Rodriguez (who paints the adorable Blue Dogs!), attended, as well as New Orleans Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson, mother of award-winning actress Patricia Clarkson, who was in two of my favorite movies this year Elegy and Vicki Cristina Barcelona. While we were in New Orleans, Lucky and I did find time to stop by a benefit to support an organization that I absolutely fell in love with Feed The Children (FeedTheChildren.org), who held an event to raise money for the Food Bank of Covington, Louisiana and The Samaritan Center. Basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal, who is a Phoenix Suns center and Louisiana State alumnus, and New Orleans Saints Running Back Deuce McAllister were there Deuce is big fan of dogs himself, he’s got two Shih Tzu/Poodles mixes named Bugsy and Archie! I also got a chance to chat up Sean Payton, the coach of the Saints, who said he doesn’t currently have a pup but is a bona fide dog-lover! It was really funny to see Shaq stand next to Lucky. He really made her look like an ant in a anthill.
This event really highlighted the devastation that Hurricane Katrina caused the children, as well as kids from all over the world; I was shocked when they introduced a young boy named Daniel, who was found in Kenya after being abandoned and eaten by dogs. It just reminded me how important it is to keep this and other disasters at our forethought and to do everything we can for kids .