The Tragedy of Orlando and the Victims’ Pets Left Behind

I had not seen my old friend Donanne in Los Angeles for many years, so I was very happy to be headed there in the first week of June with the Dog Film Festival. With a grant from the Petco Foundation, I’m touring the country to share these films, which celebrate the remarkable bond between dogs and their people and the animal welfare groups that bring them together. In L.A., the Lange Foundation and Downtown Dog Rescue were both my beneficiaries and I was really happy to be able to give them both a sizable donation from the proceeds of the Pooch Party and screenings.

Donanne came with her adorable rescued Beagles — Billy Bean and Miss Ivy — to the Afternoon Tea Pooch Party, which was thrown by VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital. She came back the following day and stayed for both the film programs at the Crest Westwood theater, and had the super-cool experience I want to give everyone: to share our love for our dogs with a theater full of like-minded people (and in the case of the dog-friendly Crest, with their dogs, too!).

Who would have imagined that so soon afterward Donanne would be writing me to share her dismay about the horrible mass murders in Orlando. This repulsive act of hatred has provoked a national time of reflection, grief and mourning — for the lovely innocent people struck down in a nightclub, and for the whole topic of intolerance.

Donanne asked for my help for the pets of the people in this tragic situation who lost their lives, or who were hospitalized.  She has a friend in Orlando who wrote about the plight of the pets, who are often forgotten in a time of such sadness for the people and their extended families. But we all know those pets were certainly their family members, too. Donanne has a compassionate friend in Orlando who wrote a wonderful piece about this dilemma and gave a great shout out to the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, which has extended all their support for the pets left behind, whether temporarily or forever. If you’d like to show your concern and support, this is a tangible way of doing so.

Let’s keep all of the victims and their loved-ones in our hearts and prayers. And do our personal best to confront bigotry and intolerance wherever we encounter it.

—Tracie Hotchner
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photo credit: Toronto Ontario ~ Canada ~ Edwards Gardens ~ Botanical Garden ~ Glowing Tulips with Bokehs via photopin (license)