Guiness Lately by Marda Winnick
Blanche DuBois wasn't the only one who came to depend on "the kindness of strangers." Such was the story of Guiness, a 7-year-old Chow Chow/German Shepherd mix, who wound up at the West LA Shelter last summer.
Beset with some behavioral issues early on, his reputation was that of a problem dog. No one gave him much chance for a happy outcome.
But one day he caught the eye of a shelter volunteer who began to form a bond and work with him. He proved to be an affectionate, eager-to-please learner, whose problems began to disappear. But before he could be adopted, he was transferred to another shelter, where he was soon red listed.
Thus began a frantic race against time by the volunteer to save him. The usual suspects were contacted—Chow Chow and other rescue groups, networking websites, and more—but at each turn she was met with the recession-based realities of filled-to-the-rafters rescue groups and too many dogs for too few available homes.
As the clock ticked down, an amazing thing began to happen. Amidst the din of all the dogs needing help, Guiness' story took on a life of its own. Rescue organizations and networking sites went to bat for him; total strangers pledged money to any rescue group willing to pull him; some unknown person posted his story and photo at a pet store in Burbank; and a Los Angeles Times reporter featured his story on her online blog (the beginning of Guiness' "show biz career").
Tick, tick, tick. Two days left to Guiness' life, with no more reprieves possible.
Hope rising and being dashed, it seemed like a roller coaster ride without a seat belt. Several "maybe interested" parties popped up along the way, then fell through. A rescue group was ready to board him using the donated funds; that fell through. At the last minute, through the untiring efforts of ResQPet, a rescue group was found that would take him. He'd at least be out of harm's way, but facing an unknown future.
But then, the magic moment. A networking site was contacted by an interested party. No maybe; touched by his story, someone wanted Guiness.
And thus began the rest of his show biz life. Guiness, now known as Chunk, has "inked a long-term contract" with comedian Chelsea Handler, host of the hit late-night comedy show Chelsea Lately and best-selling author.
Her latest book, Chelsea, Chelsea, Bang, Bang, comes out on March 9. (Hey, for providing our boy with a fairy-tale ending, a plug is the least we can do....) And, by the way, guess who is on the cover with her—none other than Chunk!
Lucky Chunk enjoys the dog's version of "the life of Riley." He has appeared on Chelsea's show and gets to spend his days at the office, where he is loved by all and receives more attention than any dog could ask for. And it's clear to all who see Chelsea with him the special bond these two share.
Owning a dog can have a way of changing not only the dog's life, but also its owner's—in many forms. Notes Chelsea, "Chunk has made me a mother and I promised I would never let that happen. I also promised I would never sleep in the same bed as a dog, but I do that too."
And on the serious side, " I love Chunk and everybody who meets him loves him. Now, I want more dogs." Uh, Chelsea, Chelsea, hint, hint, when you are ready, we know where you can find more wonderful dogs like Chunk.
Who could have imagined a better Hollywood ending: from shelter red-lister to Hollywood A-lister!