Glee Actress Charlotte Ross Partners with Best Friends Animal Society to Save Those In NeedThis article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News column on Pet360.com as Glee Actress Charlotte Ross Partners with Best Friends Animal Society to Save Those In Need.

I always enjoy the opportunity to interact with individuals who use their celebrity to promote animal-centric causes.

I recently interviewed film and television actress Charlotte Ross, who you’ll remember from her role on FOX’s Glee as Judy Fabray.  Ross has teamed with Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) and luxury-on-a-budget, interior-goods designer Kenn Gray Home to benefit the welfare of animals.  Through the Kenn Gray Home Gives Back campaign, 10% of the sales of Kenn Gray Home’s “Charlotte mirror” will be donated to BFAS.

In 2011, BFAS created Los Angeles’ largest no-kill city animal shelter and embarked upon the NKLA (No Kill Los Angeles) endeavor. In 2012, BFAS pledged to establish the largest no-kill city animal shelter in the U.S. and embarked upon the NKLA (No Kill Los Angeles) movement.

Here’s the lowdown on Ross, her collaboration with Kenn Gray Home, and her efforts with BFAS.

CR

How did you become involved with Best Friends Animal Society® (BFAS) and their No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) and what are your goals of this collaboration?

I became involved with Best Friends Animal Society many years ago as I’ve been an animal activist for decades, to be honest. I believe everyone innately loves animals and with more awareness of how many innocent, healthy, adoptable dogs and cats are being put down every day (9,000 a year in LA County alone), everyone would become more active animal activists as well.

Best Friends is leading the charge in helping to inform the public about this archaic atrocity of so many needless animals being euthanized and they know how to support and educate the public about how they can join them and many other devoted supporters to help the cause. Every person matters and can help in some small way that has a big impact overall. The founders Silva and Francis Battista are true visionaries that had a dream and have been paving the way to make a HUGE impact in saving thousands (probably millions) of lives and, hopefully, changing some state laws so, it (i.e. shelter based euthanasia) is outlawed entirely.

As you know, NKLA stands for No Kill Los Angeles and Best Friends is paving the way with hard work and determination to make LA a no kill city and then, hopefully, California, a no kill state. They already achieved this with Nevada which is a HUGE win! :) I’ve visited NKLA (in West LA) and their other rescue location in Mission Hills, California (I’ve fostered many kittens and puppies until they are old enough to be adopted from here) and I urge EVERYONE to visit their main location in Kanab, Utah.

That is where they started and it is the largest no kill property in the United States. It’s truly magical. It’s nestled between the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park and it’s hundreds of acres of beautiful, clean, state-of-the-art facilities, including Dog Town (has separate houses for small, sick or senior dogs), Cat World (beautiful buildings that all specialize in different kinds of care), Horse Haven, Marshall’s Piggy Paradise, Bunny House, Parrot Garden Wild Friends (they rescue and rehabilitate everything you can imagine) and the peaceful Angel’s Rest where our beloved pets are laid to rest below the stars in the canyon. Their medical and rehabilitation care is extraordinary and if an animal is never adopted, it will stay as his or her “forever home.”

When you visit, you can volunteer for a day or every day at any of their facilities with walks, feeding or simple hugs and kisses. It’s fun for the family to visit and get involved. Best Friends hosts seminars for people about how THEY can start their own rescue organization, which I love because many well-meaning people try to start rescue animal organizations and fail. It’s a true business and Best Friends knows that we are all in this together and need to help one another (as they say, Save Them All). You can learn more at: BestFriends.org.

So, to answer your question, anything I can do to help lend my voice to bring more awareness to this groundbreaking organization, I’m honored to do so.

Did you work with Kenn Gray Home to come up with the design/concept for the Charlotte” mirror and how did the idea to have a portion of the sales benefit BFAS come to fruition?

I’ve been friends with Kenn Gray for years. Even when we were young, he was always ahead of the curve in fashion and home design. He just has that natural “eye” and creative gift in that regard.

It’s no surprise that he has built a wonderful design company that is seeing such wonderful success. He has always been ahead of the curve and even though his designs looks very expensive, they are actually reasonably priced.

The mirror is so unique and beautiful! I’m honored to be a part of Kenn’s vision in any way. He has an amazing future in front of him.

KG

As a media professional, do your pets play a special role in your life that helps you to emotionally manage your career and other responsibilities?

I think my pets have always played a major role in my life… ever since I was a little girl, actually. Growing up can be lonely and challenging sometimes and my dear dog, Mugzy, was always there with a smile, lick, hug, peaceful understanding and non-judgmental support that definitely added to my natural affinity for animals.

I believe that they can feel what we are feeling and want nothing more than to always try and make us happy. They are forever grateful to have been rescued, endlessly loyal, always optimistic and happy and, I believe, feel as many emotions as we humans do.

So, because of that love, I’ve been compelled since a very young age to help them have more basic rights. For example, if someone hurts an animal with a knife, burn, or something else horrific, he or she should be punished. Period. More laws need to be in place to protect these innocent creatures. As my dear late friend and creator of the Genesis Awards, Gretchen Wyler, said, we need to be a “voice for the voiceless.”

CR

Have you adopted any animals from shelters? If so, what kind of animals, ages, etc.? Any unique stories of overcoming hardship before they were adopted by you?

I currently have two dogs. One was adopted from the South Central Los Angeles shelter and his name was Tyson so, I changed it to Tyler. He was two when I got him. He is a large-sized hound mix and is THE sweetest dog you’ll ever meet. He kisses babies, wouldn’t hurt a fly and tries to sit his huge body on your lap as he seems to think he is the size of a Pekinese – lol!

My other dog was a “foster failure.” I was fostering four puppies for Best Friends Mission Hills until they were old enough to be adopted and I decided to keep one. I heard they were dropped off at a city shelter at three weeks old hungry, dehydrated and covered in dirt and feces. I named her Sadie and she is too cute! Adorable, playful and hilarious. I feel very blessed.

I was slow to adopt a second dog as I had one pass away about a year ago that I’m writing a children’s book about. I was doing a film in Puerto Rico and on my one day off a week (Sundays) I would drive my rented car around the Island feeding all the homeless dogs. I had to something, you know? I can’t just walk by dogs starving or covered in mange and in pain, etc.

I rescued over five dogs from Puerto Rico and found homes for them all. There was one that was being chased by some kids throwing rocks and I told them to stop and asked if the dog “had a casa” (house). They said “no”, so I put the dog in my car, got him vaccinated and brought him back to Los Angeles. I named him Taco.

I found out he was under one year old and he was a true survivor. I tell the story of Taco because many dogs are survivors- they had to be. Living on the streets is no easy task. But, it can take time for them to know that they have a forever home with food, love and care. It took some training and consistent love until Taco finally realized that he was safe and didn’t need to look for food in garbage cans, etc.

I want people to know that Taco, and dogs like Taco, DO become THE most lovable, forever grateful pets you could imagine. We should never give up on animals just because they’ve had hard or unfair experiences in life. Taco went on to live just over 18 years, was on the cover of over eight animal magazines, and became the poster dog of why rescued dogs make the best pets and will be forever missed as my, “Dear Taco, the survivor.”

Thank you for interviewing me and to every animal lover out there, as Jane Goodall says, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Other celebrities have also team with BFAS, like True Blood’s Kristin Bauer van Straten who partnerted with BFAS for the NKLA cause.

Thank you Charlotte Ross for your contributions to animal welfare and the betterment of society through your partnership with BFAS and Kenn Gray Home.

Thank you for reading this article.  Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond).
Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook.

Copyright of this article (2014) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format. 

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