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Club hosts dog adoption

Compassion In Action Club organizes what it hopes to become an annual event at Newport Harbor High School.

June 05, 2008|By Michael Miller

NEWPORT BEACH — Baby, the most famous dog in America the last few months, has been speechless throughout her time in the spotlight.

That would be speechless, literally. The 9-year-old poodle, now the figurehead of a nationwide campaign against abuse at puppy mills, had her vocal cords cut when she was confined in a breeding cage.

Since a stranger rescued her and handed her off to her eventual owners, Baby has posed for a picture with Sen. Barack Obama, visited major league baseball dugouts and had her shaggy white fur and beady black eyes displayed in bookstores across America.

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When she stopped at Newport Harbor High School on Wednesday afternoon for the Compassion In Action Club’s inaugural Dog Adoption Night, she remained quiet as always as the festivities whirled around her.

But her owner, Jana Kohl, had an idea what might have been going through Baby’s mind.

“I do think she must wonder about it,” said Kohl, who signed copies of her book “A Rare Breed of Love” while Baby sat in a red-and-pink stroller beside her. “After being accustomed to humans being a source of pain, she must wonder where all these nice people were for so many years.”

Baby was one of several famous faces at the Dog Adoption Night, which featured book signings by Kohl and activist and author Rory Freedman and an appearance by TV journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell.

The main guests of honor, though, were the more than two dozen dogs who lined the courtyard outside the Newport Harbor gym in hopes of finding new owners. Adopt A Saint, the Pet Project Foundation and other nonprofits displayed their animals in cages while the crowd snacked on vegan food and bid in a silent auction.

Teacher Karen Coyne, who founded the Compassion In Action Club in 2006, began planning the event just five weeks ago after watching an “Oprah” episode about puppy mills. Seeing the footage on TV, she said, inspired her to take action.

“Of course, I had known about that for years,” Coyne said. “But it finally pushed me to want to do something about it.”

For Marty and Lyn Janota, the parents of a Newport Harbor sophomore, the Dog Adoption Night fulfilled a longtime dream. Their daughter, they said, had wanted a dog for years, and they adopted a 9-week-old Chihuahua mix to present to her that evening.

“She’s at soccer practice, and we’re going to pick her up,” Lyn said. “She’s going to be surprised.”

For more photos, click here.


MICHAEL MILLER may be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at michael.miller@latimes.com.

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