I engaged in an important Los Angeles rite of passage today: my first audition. Actually, the audition was for my “nephew” Spencer, a Golden Retriever/Lab mix. I took Spencer over to Venice Beach for the Long Island-based North Shore Animal League’s Tour For Life 2009, billed as “the world’s largest cooperative pet adoption event.” As the name indicates, Tour For Life is a roving pet adoption event that hits many major cities around the U.S. But at Venice Beach, we got the added attraction of Cesar Millan, the “Dog Whisperer.”
According to the print ad in L.A. Weekly (publicity for this event was rather skimpy and did not include a comprehensive website), in addition to pet adoptions, Cesar was going to have a meet and greet, and “Dog Whisperer” producers would be on hand looking for stories for the new season. Spencer’s owner and I have previously talked about getting him some help from Cesar. Spencer, who was rescued from a shelter just two days before he was to be killed, is the sweetest, most gentle dog, except when he encounters skateboarders or German Shepherds. Then he becomes Mr. Hyde, barking, lunging, and spinning at the end of his leash like a pinwheel.
We arrived at the event at Windward Plaza, and, aside from the line of people with their dogs (one of which had a “Cesar — Please Rehabilitate Me!” sign on its side) waiting to meet Cesar, it seemed modestly attended and not especially well-organized. While the dogs that were up for adoption had some kind of “Adopt Me” bandana or banner and were usually with a volunteer, some of them were lounging on the grassy areas off the plaza, where there was less foot traffic. Other dogs were stuck in cages, which must have been sad for them to see all the people with their dogs walking by. I checked with a volunteer at about 1:45 p.m., who told me she thought that three dogs had been adopted thus far. That’s better than none, but I’m not sure it’s a success.
I located Cesar’s producers (not an easy task), introduced them to Spencer, and explained his problem. They were friendly, but they merely gave me a form with instructions to send a videotape of Spencer to the show. I guess you’re really in the television world when a show’s producers are face-to-face with a potential subject, but would rather deal in videotape.
So I need to go produce a “reel” for Spencer. I guess I’m really a Southern Californian now.