>Photographer, Robbie Bellon and The Humane Society of the United States’ exhibit tonight at the W New York Times Square celebrates those who rescued or adopted dogs instead of purchasing them from puppy mills or pet stores.
Katherine Heigl’s adorable rescue dogs are featured. Oscar is on the left, Mojo in the middle and Piper on the right.
>This unique program shuttles an overabundance of Chuhuahuas and other small breeds from L.A. shelters to the Humane Society of Utah, where a long list of people wait to adopt them.
They are the “in” dogs of Los Angeles — little poodles, Yorkies, Pomeranians and Chihuahuas. We can thank their rise in popularity to Paris Hilton, aficionado of teeny weeny dogs and films such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which made that breed a much sought-after commodity.
So while backyard dog breeders in the area see dollar signs, every day the shelters of L.A. overflow with tons of unwanted small dogs, now facing euthanasia. “It has alot to do with Hollywood,” says Robin Harmon, the adoption manager for Best Friends Animal Society in Los Angeles. “It got so popular for people to carry purse dogs.”
Meanwhile, in Utah as well as many other areas of the country, small dogs for adoption are rare, usually only for sale. “It’s senseless to have dogs euthanized in one area when dogs like that are in demand in another area,” says Jessica Almeida, rescue and transfer coordinator for the Humane Society of Utah, which almost never had small dogs for adoption.
That was until about two-and-a-half years ago, when Almeida and Harmon figured out what to do: create a pipeline to whisk the tiny strays of L.A. to eager small-dog adopters in Utah. Called Pup My Ride, some 3,500 of the tiny pups have been saved from a city kill shelter, making the trip north to Utah in twice-monthly van rides.
“You have these little dogs and you can’t imagine why no one would want them,” says Almeida. “And to imagine you can make someone’s dream come true, for a dog who had no future, is amazing. It is a fantastic feeling.
Pup My Ride has attracted strong celeb support, none bigger than that of Katherine Heigl and her mother, Nancy, whose Jason Debus Heigl Foundation funds the effort. “They’re awesome,” says Harmon. “We were struggling before trying to get funds.”
Regular volunteers Denise Richards and model Dancing with the Stars alum Joanna Kruppa and other devoted dog lovers show up for transport days. The pups are washed with sweet-smelling shampoos, then driven hundreds of miles to a half-way point in Utah. There, they are transferred to a van from the Humane Society of Utah, which brings them back to the organization’s base in Murray. Soon, Pup My Ride will expands its reach, taking dogs to Montana, another area with a small dog shortage.
The work, however, overwhelms at times. Volunteers must enter the shelter — called Baldwin Park — to find their small dogs to save; all the while, they witness so many sad faces of dogs who may soon be dead.
But focusing on those that are saved is the key to continuing this kind of work. Says devoted Pup My Ride volunteer and actress Stephanie Lemelin: “They (Pup My Ride dogs) know they aren’t going to die, and they would have if they stayed. To help them, it’s the most rewarding thing.”
>The Kittanning Citizens Bridge and several borough blocks and parking lots will be closed from Saturday to Tuesday to accommodate movie crews filming “One for the Money.”
Police chief Ed Cassesse outlined the closures and parking restrictions, adding that filming will occur on the bridge and along Market Street near the bridge.
The bridge will be closed Saturday, Monday and Tuesday from 4:30 a.m. until about 9 p.m., Cassesse said. Traffic will be restricted on the bridge on Sunday, he said.
PennDOT is asking motorists to use Route 422 across the Graff Bridge to the West Kittanning exit to cross the Allegheny River during the closures.
Market Street between Water and McKean streets will be closed to traffic and parking during the filming, Cassesse said. Sidewalks and stores will remain open as usual, he said.
Crews will be filming on the bridge and in the “100 and 200 blocks of Market Street, too,” Cassesse said.
Several parking lots will be closed from Saturday to Tuesday, including ones along South McKean Street behind Citizens Bank and Dizzy Lizzie’s and a municipal lot at the intersection of Jacob and South Water streets. Parking will not be permitted at the sewage plant area as it will be used as a landing zone for a helicopter shooting aerial scenes, Cassesse said.
The lot behind Citizens Bank will serve as a base camp for the crews, he said.
Parking will be prohibited in the 100 blocks of North Water Street and South Jefferson Street, but sidewalks will remain open, he said.
Turney Luke, owner of The 700 Shop on Market Street said his business will remain open on Saturday, one of his busiest days as shoppers pick up clothing for school.
“One for the Money” stars Katherine Heigl — best known for her role on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and for films “Knocked Up” and “27 Dresses.” Co-stars include Daniel Sunjata of television’s “Rescue Me,” John Leguizamo (who provides the voice for Sid the Sloth in the “Ice Age” movie series) and Jason O’Mara, who played a role in television’s “Life on Mars.”
The Lionsgate film follows Stephanie Plum, an unemployed lingerie buyer who takes a job with a bail bond business as a bounty hunter. “One for the Money” is based on a series of 16 crime novels by Janet Evanovich. Its expected release date is July 8, 2011, according to The Internet Movie Database.
Scenes in “One for the Money” are being shot in the region — crews have been at a former UPMC hospital in Braddock and the former Garden Theater on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Film crews visited Kittanning in June to scout the location for the movie.
Kittanning has been the backdrop of a few movies and television shows in recent years, including “The Mothman Prophecies,” horror remake “My Bloody Valentine 3D” and the pilot of “Justified” on FX.