Actors and Others for Animals, Loves The Petco Foundation

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Claudia Bassols, star of the hit TV show “Rob,” lent her support and sparkle dust at Petco Foundation’s Hope Gala.

I want to Talk about abundant generosity from one animal welfare organization to another. This is not about commerce but about caring. Above and beyond.

Those who have read this column (for more than several decades) know that Actors and Others for Animals has been my baby since it was born over 40 years ago. Now, by the greatest of good fortune, A&O has become the 2012 Godchild of The Petco Foundation, and is the blessed recipient of all the funds raised at their Fourth Annual Hope Gala.

Infinity of gratitude.…

STARS SHINE IN SAN DIEGO: Betty White, A&O’s sparkling Board member, received the Petco Foundation’s Hope Award. It was big and beautiful, like Betty White’s heart (and Betty hoped that she could get it in her car). She was adored by the attendees, as were many of her friends that also came to pay their respects to the amazing occasion. Ed Asner, that rascal, was in great form as were Cindy Williams, Doris Roberts, Nancy Dussault, Loretta Swit, Fred Willard, and Claudia Bassols (from Rob), and of course Jo Anne Worley, who is the magnificent President of Actors and Others for Animals. The Actors and Others Board of Directors were there to host the VIP Reception and bestow this year’s “Betty White Award” to Ed Asner. Fortuitously, Betty White presented Ed with the award, which she had been honored with in 2011. It seems incestuous in the best of ways.…

Betty and Ed, together again, supporting animals and the Petco Foundation that support animal organizations.

For those of us who traveled from LA, the Gala’s location was spectacular. The Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina allowed us to stay, and play, right on the bay. Their Club allowed us to meet with friends from the Gala the following morning, while enjoying a really good breakfast, and dishing about the magical evening in their huge ballroom. It was great to see Sue Taylor, Actors and Others Exec., finally relax after working so diligently for A&O’s part in the event. And, to meet up once more with Paul Jolly, the astounding Executive Director of The Petco Foundation.…

PAUL JOLLY: Paul is a gentleman, a quiet man with a heroic voice for animals. The leadership of Petco could not have chosen a more inspiring Executive Director for their flourishing Foundation (Thank you, President Charlie Piscitello). At the Gala, Paul took the stage and told a story of a pet rescue, hope, sadness, and more hope. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room (David was sobbing), but it gave life to the purpose of the evening, to raise funds to help keep pets out of harm’s way. And so the money started flowing, via a vital donating whirlwind (led by auctioneer Larry Zucker) that had Betty White standing and declaring the first munificent offering. This was followed by a real live auction of fantastic offerings, while an ongoing Opportunity Drawing and a colossal Silent Auction was taking place. Paul Jolly and his wondrous staff made this happen. And that is just the fundraising.

The Petco Foundation’s mission is to raise the quality of life for pets and people who love and need them. I want you to know more about the endless good that this amazing foundation does for our country. Check the internet and learn about the local and national help that supports over 7,500 pet partners, the 3.3 million animals saved through their stores, and the $90 million dollars already raised and donated. The disaster relief, puppy mill intervention, adoptions, education, constant efforts to prevent overpopulation, and the basic training for owners and pets. So heartening!

It’s also heartening to have the blessing of working with Paul Jolly on the Actors and Others Board of Directors. He came to us after calling for help regarding one of his many rescues. With his appreciation, he became a volunteer, and one of the best things that has ever happened to our organization. With Paul’s wit and wisdom, professional know-how, dedication, and generosity of spirit, he has made us a better organization and, as individuals, better human beings. The word “inspiration” is too small for Paul Jolly. I truly love him.

With eternal hope, we’ll Talk….

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