Party marks rescue pet store opening

The fall social season has yet to start, but surely a reception of wine and spirits, hors d'oeuvres and stuffed grape leaves. But this party was for rescued pets and their owners at Pet Rush in Kenneth Village. On Thursday, all the elements of the most swish of receptions were there — adult beverages, balloons and the attendance of our city fathers.

Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian and City Councilman Dave Weaver added gravitas. Yapping dogs and their chatty owners provided the late-afternoon ambiance. All was preserved digitally by Channel 6 staffers interviewing anyone accompanied by an animal.

Pet Rush prides itself as being Glendale's first rescue-only pet store. Owner Rene Karapedian described turning it into a "humane store" six months ago. "Rescued dogs need a home. We should not support puppy mills," said Karapedian, as he held "Buddy," a 9-month-old dachshund also in need of a home.

Weaver, who for four years was the host of the Channel 6 show, "Weaver's Doghouse," would routinely find owners for the dogs he highlighted on TV. A dog lover himself, Weaver explained the title of his now-defunct show, "I was always in the doghouse with my colleagues."

Glendale dog owners present included Lindsay Reeves. Her 9-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Eliza Doolittle, was rescued by Best Friends Animal Society after the dog bred puppies for eight years in a puppy mill. Soon after, Reeves adopted Eliza from Best Friends.

Burbank resident Karyn Miller was accompanied by Payton, a 3-year-old pug Chihuahua mix. Miller adopted him from the Burbank Animal Shelter. The dog came into the shelter as a stray.

Representatives from Best Friends Los Angeles helped sponsor the event.

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A fitting coda to the Pet Rush party was the opening of "Menagerie: The Art of Animals" at the museum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. The exhibit features artwork from a bevy of human and non-human artists.

Animal art lovers came from several communities to see the exhibition on Saturday. Closest to Glendale was Jane Davis from La Crescenta. Julie Svendsen hailed from Burbank. Photographer Brandon Galvin came from Atwater. He was curious about Forest Lawn's cross on its hill and serendipitously discovered the museum. His favorite work at the exhibition was "Menagerie," an oil on canvas by artist William Stout. Anna Alfaro from El Sereno was at a funeral and, afterwards, stopped by the museum with sons Joshua Alfaro, 11, and Jason Alfaro,7. Both boys are museum buffs.

The exhibit will continue through Jan. 2.

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Glendale's Palate Food and Wine was the setting Saturday to celebrate the inauguration of Helen McDonagh as the new president of the Downtown Glendale Merchant's Assn. The hors d'oeuvres and wine event was also a fundraiser for Friends of Aviation, starring a helicopter in Palate's parking lot. The "mosquito" helicopter, owned by Jay Carlson, was there to represent the airborne equivalent of Glendale's Cruise Night. On Aug. 13 next year, the Flight Festival will show off five helicopters, 20 airplanes and a mini Mars Rover along Brand Boulevard.

Glendale VIP residents present included Friends of Aviation President Nick Rahkonen and his Chief Financial Officer Kevin Rush. Rahkonen learned to fly as a youth in Sweden. His mission is to correct the public's "misconception" of aviation. Flying is more than "rich people hanging out at airports or flying toy airplanes," Rahkonen said. He envisions the Flight Festival as a way to introduce children to aviation and show the public what aviation nonprofits are doing, from transporting the ill to fighting fires.

Also present were more officers of the Downtown Glendale Merchants Assn. including Glendale Arts' Elissa Glickman and Damon's Patrick Campbell.

Friends of Aviation operates as an umbrella for charities such as Angel Flights, whose volunteers fly cancer patients to treatments. Also under the Friends of Aviation purview are volunteer air firefighters.

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