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Hollywood Goes to the Dogs for Film

By Aaron Blevins, 4/19/2012


Actress Dee Wallace gets a kiss from Robert, a dog up for adoption through The Amanda Foundation, Tuesday at a screening at the Egyptian Theater for the film “Darling Companion”. The film, directed by Lawrence Kasden, is based on a true story. Photo by Aaron Blevins

There were plenty of celebrities at the premiere

of “Darling Companion” Tuesday

night, but none of them quite stole the show

like the rescue dogs from The Amanda

Foundation in Beverly Hills.

But, they had some pretty stiff competition

from actress Diane Keaton, actor Kevin

Kline and Kasey the dog, who plays

“Freeway” in the movie and wowed

paparazzi and journalists when he

“answered” their questions by barking on


The premiere was held at the Egyptian

Theatre and benefitted The Amanda

Foundation, which rescues dogs from all six

Los Angeles shelters and serves the majority of the city.

Several of the foundation’s dogs were on hand, making a strong point for adoption.

“We’ve got everything from small and fluffy to big and magnificent,” said president

Teri Austin.

The organization was invited to the premiere by Sony Pictures Classics after director

Lawrence Kasden and his wife, Meg, who co-wrote the movie, expressed an interest in

getting a local animal shelter involved. Austin said Keaton had been a supporter of

the foundation in the past.

“It’s not too often such an illustrious cast and a famous director do something with a

local organization,” she said.

Furthermore, the movie is based on the three-week adventure of a Los Angeles shelter

dog the Kasdens rescued seven years ago. The mutt, Mac, gave the family quite a scare

several years ago, when he became lost in the Rocky Mountains during an outing. Though

he returned three weeks later, the drama that unfolded created the backdrop for “Darling


In the film, Beth Winter (Keaton) rescues a bloodied stray dog she finds on the side of a

busy freeway. After “Freeway”, as it comes to be named, becomes a part of the family,

Winter’s husband, Joseph (Kline), loses the dog following their daughter’s wedding in

the Rocky Mountains. Adventures and misadventures unfold as the couple, along with

friends and family, begins to search for their beloved “Freeway.”

Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, 5th District, an outspoken advocate

for animal rights, attended the premiere. He praised the film’s message, and was pleased

that the story originated from a Los Angeles animal shelter adoption.

“It is amazing to think of how Mac being adopted years ago led to a Sony Pictures

Classics film being made, with such magnificently talented participants involved and

countless people in audiences around the world soon to be entertained and enthralled

— yet that extraordinary sequence of events illuminates what happens every single day in

our city shelters: animals are adopted, and then loved, and the caring relationships that

develop end up transforming lives forever,” Koretz said.

Austin said she was pleased to partake in the event, as they raise awareness about

adoption services, leading to an influx of adoptions and shelter visits. It also promotes

the necessity of spay and neuter services, she said.

The Amanda Foundation conducted 6,000 such surgeries last year, Austin said.

Considering the litters that those animals may have birthed, those surgeries likely prevented

20,000 additional animals from roaming the streets or winding up in Los Angeles Animal

Services shelters, which are a part of the largest animal shelter system in the U.S., she


“Our problem is so bad, we have our own department of animal services,” Austin


She said the organization, which has operated in Beverly Hills while serving Los

Angeles for more than 30 years, has approximately 100 pets up for adoption on any given

day. Its Spaymobile services areas of the city with the largest stray problems. The Amanda

Foundation operates a pet hospital on site. For more information, call (310)278-2935

or visit www.amandafoundation.org. The organization is located at 351 N. Foothill Rd.

in Beverly Hills.

“Darling Companion” opens in Los Angeles on Friday. It is rated PG-13.




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