Dog lovers and their canines were both welcome at a book signing party celebrating "A Letter to My Dog: Notes to Our Best Friends" at the Anthropologie store in Beverly Hills, where silent auction, pet adoption, and 10 percent of the store's sales during the event benefited the Carrie Ann Inaba Animal Project, founded by the "Dancing with the Stars" judge to develop and create animal rescue, welfare and well-being programs.
Written by Lisa Erspamer and Kimi Culp with photos by Robin Layton, the book features Oprah Winfrey, Fran Drescher, Robin Roberts, Tyler Perry, and Kristin Chenoweth, among others. "I have two dogs that I'm obsessed with and I always said I wish they knew how much I cared about them," begins Erspamer, who voiced that over dinner with her partners and a publisher from Chronicle Books, who bought it on the spot. "Everyone wanted to be a part of it," she noted, from Michael Vartan and Tony Bennett — two of her favorites — to owners of service dogs. "We're going to do a rerelease for next Christmas with extended content because they are so many more people with great stories they want to share."
Paula Abdul is one of those. She has four Chihuahuas — three of them rescues — plus "their cousin, who comes during the day," and can't imagine her life without them. "Life would be so unfair. Thank God I don't have to think about it!" declared Abdul, sharing what she might say in her letter: "I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the happiness, joy and laughter that you provided for me for all these years and I hope I was a good mommy to you. I hope I fed you well and rubbed your belly just the right way."
Abdul has had dogs as long as she can remember, including a Schipperke, cocker spaniels, pugs and a Rhodesian ridgeback (besides the Chihuahuas) and supports the charities Guide Dogs of America and PAWS. She's also a dedicated recycler and was green "ahead of the time," with eco-conscious concert tours from which she donated proceeds to environmental causes.
Lisa Ling (pictured right) isn't in the book and won't be, as she doesn't have a dog, but left her month-old daughter at home with her nanny to support friend Erspamer. She had Dachshunds as a child, "but for the last 20 years I've done so much traveling it's been difficult to have a dog," she explained. She's busy with the baby now, but eventually, "we'll get a hypoallergenic dog, a rescue, some kind of poodle mix."
Ling, who has found that life "looks and feels different" since giving birth to the baby she and her husband Paul tried for so long to have, considers herself really lucky. "I was really afraid that it was going to be a catastrophe and we wouldn't know what to do, but she's just so good-natured and lovely," she says of Jett Ling Song, her name inspired by Jet Li and Joan Jett. Ling had a C-section and is grateful for the four-day recovery time as it gave her the chance to have a "crash course" from the nurses on how to breast feed and pump.
She's sad about the quick demise of CBS' "The Job," but was glad to be a part of it, as she believes it had "a lot of useful information that anybody could benefit from." She has already started exercising again and is starting to work on ideas for the next set of "Our America" episodes, but won't travel for a couple of months. She plans to stay close to home in L.A., where she's furnished a fairly green nursery for Jett. "We have very green flooring, we used green paints. It's not 100 percent green, but we tried our best."
For more information on the book, visit the "A Letter to my Dog" website. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Humane Society of the United States. The authors are planning more installments in the series, including "A Letter to My Cat," "Baby," "Mom," "Dad," "Friend" and "Self."