An actress who first broke into national prominence in the 1960s, Toni Bua starred on the CBS daytime drama "Love of Life" as Tess Krakauer opposite her real-life love and husband, Gene Bua.
As the years went by, Toni and Gene left New York and came to Burbank, where they made their mark by teaching and showcasing new talent through their Acting for Life Theater. They also worked with at-risk youth — work for which they were recognized by elected officials on federal, county and local levels.
The past few years have been rough ones for Toni Bua. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, she continued to place her focus on caring for Gene, who was suffering from Parkinson's disease, while also carrying on his legacy by teaching master classes at Acting for Life.
In November 2012, Gene Bua lost his battle with the disease, and, just a short time after his death, Toni Bua also lost her Siberian husky, Anushka, to old age and learned her cancer had spread and that she would be in need of continued and ongoing treatment.
Unbeknownst to her, the recent past also proved to be an extremely difficult time for another life — a white husky who had been abandoned in a Los Angeles trash dump and was starving, suffering from severe mange and skin infections, and barely clinging to life.
Alerted to the plight of this emaciated dog, Eldad Hagar of the animal rescue organization Hope for Paws, located and rescued her last December. Naming her Miley, Hagar rushed her to a veterinarian who administered intense medical treatment that included various surgeries, a good diet and heavy follow-up doses of human interaction and love.
Hagar also posted the video of Miley's rescue and rehabilitation on YouTube, where it went viral garnering more than 10 million views, nationwide media attention and offers to help and adopt Miley from people as far away as Europe.
Miley responded well to the medical care and affection and, once she was well enough to be placed in a permanent home, the Fuzzy Pet Foundation was asked to step in to handle her adoption. Putting the word out that they were looking for just the right home for Miley, they received more than 500 applications, including one from Toni Bua.
"I knew Toni was the right one from the moment we received her email," said Sheila Choi, the founder and chief executive of the Fuzzy Pet Foundation. "She wrote directly to Miley and really poured her heart out. It was so genuine and sincere, explaining that, just like Miley, she had also been through a very rough time and was in need of love and healing."
Choi went on to say that when representatives of the rescue organization first met Toni, they were immediately impressed with how warmhearted, loving and thoughtful she was.
"There was also an immediate and indescribable bond between Toni and Miley," Choi said. "During that initial visit, Miley would not leave Toni's side. It almost seemed like they were long lost family members."
Following that meet-and-greet, the decision was made that the two were meant to be together and, this past weekend, Miley formally arrived to begin her new life with Toni. With a rolled out red carpet and a house-full of friends and supporters bearing gifts to welcome her, Miley charmed everyone in attendance including Dorothy Harrison, Tammy Tennison, Connie Rouse and Sandy Morris from the Fuzzy Pet Foundation, and longtime Bua friends Liz Baumann, Scott Halloran, Shelly Whizin, Peter Rousch, Max Andrews, Ayla Machado, Steve and Roberta Greenberg, Kenny Morse and Maya Waterman.
"I can't express how happy I am to be able to share our first day together with all of you who mean so much to me," Toni Bua told the assemblage as they joined together in a champagne toast to Miley's new life.
"As much as Miley needs me to care for her and love her and help her to continue to heal, I equally need the care and love and healing light she will bring me," she added.
DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 563-1007.