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An Unexpected Gift

by Lisa Pellegrene 11 months ago in adoption

Good does prevail!

Photo by Lisa Pellegrene - Larchmont

It started out as any other day had in the springtime in Los Angeles, I was out for a walk with my dogs. We passed by the park, and on toward the ocean, admiring the beautiful flowers of late spring. In general, my dogs are almost as observant as their human mom, always on the look out for something interesting or simply, something out of place. This day we went for a hike at Runyon Canyon. It was busy that day at Runyon, filled with many people and their dogs. Tux and Alex are kindred spirits in many ways; both interested in every sight that they could see on the way up to the top of the canyon. Obviously, hiking to the top to see the Hollywood Sign (as we've done a seemingly a thousand times over) is not of interest to them, as in "dog perspective" it's nothing too thrilling at all. What matters the most to them is taking in invigorating fresh air and walking quickly enjoying the freedom and intrigue of seeing many different sights in nature, and new faces - both human and canine. As they both strutted to the top of the canyon with me, with so much joy and determination (yes they strut on each walk with joy and confidence); observing every single dog and person along the way, both made (albeit most of the time quickly) eye contact seemingly with every single human and their respective pooch.

We stopped to sit on a park bench about 3/4 of the way up to the top of the canyon - at their command. ha! They both stopped, it was more like a screeching halt. According to Tux and Alex, it was time to stop and take a break. This is what I thought at the time, perhaps they needed a break, yet it didn't seem like it. I learned it was MUCH more than that. I wanted to continue walking and Tux and Alex both seemingly demanded "no, no not ready to go yet, let's just sit here." And apparently, "wait." As I learned later that day as a matter of fact, they followed their strong instincts and literally made me stop and take a break. So we did. It was eighty degrees that day with a nice breeze and I always thought that in addition to Runyon simply being one of the "go-to" place to hike in Los Angeles, it is simply beautiful and you never know who you will run into. I mean that quite literally recalling this day. Also, as a side note, sitting on the park benches on the perimeter of the hiking trail at Runyon, has always reminded me a bit like looking down into "Jurassic Park" haha, well, what it would look like in real life - minus the fictional Jurassic Park dinosaurs, and the fact that it's not the big screen. Runyon is just really beautiful, I always thought so, from the first day I hiked there.

And at Runyon, or even for that matter, at the beach or shopping on Melrose, or out to lunch at the Veggie Grill, or Bodhi Thai (a great little Thai restaurant off of Pico) you really never know who you will run into. That day in late spring however was a bit of a surprise, EVEN for Los Angeles. Now I will say, for those of us who have spent many years living in Los Angeles, this story will be somewhat believable, yet unbelievable to most. So, back to the story, I tried again to get up and walk with my dogs, and they both looked at me as if to say, "NO, stay put, wait for it." They didn't want to leave for some reason, so I thought sure okay, we'll wait." Just then, a man and a women are running up the hill. It seemed as if they were a couple, dating or married - to this day I am not sure. They just seemed to know each other well, as she was yelling at him, "No I am not going back to our apartment until you re-home our Iguana. Gertrude doesn't like me, please give her to your grandma, Gertrude loves your grandma." Tux and Alex even looked at me with eye brows raised, as if to say yes this is odd, but this IS Los Angeles. Sometimes you hear seemingly dramatic and interesting conversations. Just then the man looks up at us, as his girlfriend was then walking in an upset, rather huffy manner and he looks at me to say, "Would you make a person give up their beloved pet Iguana?!" I said, "Well I really don't want to get involved in your conversation, but no, and then recalling what the girlfriend said, I said, "well, she thinks your grandma will take good care of Gertrude, right?. He said "yes and yes she would, but I love my Iguana." He then said, "hey, wait a minute, don't I know you,?" pausing, he continued, "you knew my friend Becky and you do rescue don't you?." I said, yes and yes. I did not recognize this person, but I did have a friend named Becky who lived in Santa Monica.

He said, "Will you please adopt, well foster (until he figured it all out) Gertrude, until I work this out with Sally (his girlfriend's name)?" Tux and Alex looked at me, and I paused for a moment and then said, "What about your grandma adopting Gertrude, then you keep her in the family,?" He said, "well no grandma has birds and she loves Gertrude but she can't have another pet." At this point, I knew I was fostering or adopting "Gertrude the Iguana." This is the unbelievable part as adopting an Iguana (I love them by the way) and the spat with he and his girlfriend, was not too out of the ordinary of a conversation one might hear in LA. The unbelievable part which was very real, and shows that good deeds can bring so much more good. He said, "oh by the way, Sally wants me to give up one more thing." I said, "What's that,?" Ben (the boyfriend of Sally) said, "My Little Black Book." Sally is glaring at him as he hands it over and tells me to just throw it away, but NOT before looking inside to see what he put in there as a donation to help care for the animals. He put his card in there so that I could call him after our hike to work out adopting Gertrude, and I noticed he turned his back and put something else in the book, yet I didn't see it nor think too much of it. After the hike Tux and Alex and I got in the car, stopped for lunch, drove home and then I took out Ben's card to call him to meet Gertrude and out falls an envelope which had been folded in half. It said on the outside, thank you for your dedication to animal welfare. So I opened it, it was a check for $20,000. In the memo it said "animal rescue work,"Gertrude's ongoing care and other animals you decide to help." And just like that, our rescue was funded.

You never know who you are going to meet who become blessings in your life. Stay kind, and stay open to the blessings. :) We met Gertrude the Iguana later that day, she is a love!


Lisa Pellegrene

I am an animal welfare advocate/rescuer, who also has a background in TV/FILM, as talent on Travel Channel's World Best Beaches, and a producer for films. I work as a publicist and publisher, and am the author of "Be Epic, Choose Love."

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