By Arden Moore
Sure, some dogs fetch the TV remote. And some cats come when you call them by name — at their self-decided pace. But no matter the age, breed or species, scientific studies continue to confirm that companion animals can be good for your soul and your funny bone.
So, it is fitting that a hard-working nonprofit rescue group named the Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue is about to treat you to a double dose of pet goodness.
Mark your calendars — twice. First up, head to the Boca Lago Country Club on Oct. 4 to “Laugh Your Tail Off” — a comedy benefit dinner show featuring Glenn Miller, “Master of Comedy Hypnosis.” Then, head to the Lake Worth Beach at 10 a.m. Oct. 6 with your well-mannered pet (or his photo) to participate in the annual Blessing of the Animals performed by Michael King, a minister.
“We are hoping to reach pet lovers and decided that October is the best month to do these events,” says Tracy Green, in charge of social media for this rescue group. “My rescued dachshunds are Gracie and Wee George. They are a bit naughty but beautiful. My dogs truly have a blessed life and I love them very much.”
She is teaming up with Janet Diamond, a retired teacher, who has been involved in animal rescue for more than a decade. She now returns to schools throughout Palm Beach County to give presentations on rescue pets and work with job coaches on helping students earn community school credit for learning pet care skills.
“We are a small but mighty nonprofit and we know these events will help rescue animals,” Diamond says.
The all-volunteer animal rescue is named in honor of Justin Bartlett, a lifelong animal lover who died at age 24 in an automobile accident in 2008. The all-foster-based rescue was formed in his name in 2012 and now has expanded to include the Justin Bartlett Animal Hospital in Royal Palm Beach. Since opening in 2015, this nonprofit hospital has treated more than 28,000 animals and offers low-cost spay/neuter surgeries.
Headlining the dinner show on Oct. 4 is Miller. I caught up with him as he was heading into a Petco store in Boca Raton to pick up fliers about the show to distribute. The store is also posting the flier in the store and online.
“I am a huge animal lover, crazy nuts for animals,” he declares. “My wife, Wendy, and I have three rescues: Shevva Ellen, Jack and Murray. The best people in the world are dogs.”
Miller explains the first pet’s name: “My wife decided she should have two v’s and a middle name.”
Miller, 69, has made a career as a radio deejay, cruise ship art auctioneer and television show scriptwriter, but found his true calling as a stand-up comedian. His specialty? Hypnosis. He got his training at the American Institute of Hypnotherapy in Irvine, Calif., and he is a certified member of the National Guild of Hypnotists. In his private practice, he helps people in one-on-one sessions to lose weight, stop smoking, overcome a fear of flying and more issues.
But his mission on Oct. 4 is to recruit people from the audience and hypnotize them on stage.
“We plan to do some silly acts, maybe hypnotizing them to be dogs meeting each other for the first time or becoming Victoria Secret models and strutting to the music,” he says. “I rely on body language to tell who is really under and who is not hypnotized. For those, I gently put my hand on their shoulder and thank them for coming up, tell them to open their eyes and invite them back to the audience to join their family and friends.”
Playfully, I asked Miller if he would ever want to hypnotize people so that they would adopt dogs, cats and other homeless animals.
“Unfortunately, you will not do anything under hypnosis that you wouldn’t do awake, but I would love that superpower,” he said. “It would mean that there would eventually be no more homeless animals, and wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Details about the two pet events
Registration is required to attend the fundraising events to benefit the Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue. You can get more details by calling 795-9999 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.justinbartlettanimalrescue.org.
• Laugh Your Tail Off dinner show Oct. 4: Tickets are $75 and include complimentary valet parking, two drinks, dinner and Miller’s comedy show. The event will take place from 6:30-10:30 p.m. at the Boca Lago Country Club, 8665 Juego Way, Boca Raton. You can also book your reservation through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/laugh-your-tail-tickets-65114800120?aff=ebapi.
• Blessing of the Animals event Oct. 6: Bring your well-mannered leashed pet to be blessed at the beach at Mulligan’s Beach House Bar and Grill, 10 S. Ocean Blvd., Lake Worth Beach, at 10 a.m. Admission is $25 and that includes a brunch. Register early as seating is limited. Here is the Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/blessings-of-the-animals-tickets-56157073318.
Arden Moore, founder of FourLeggedLife.com, is an animal behavior consultant, author, speaker and master certified pet first-aid instructor. She hosts Oh Behave! weekly on PetLifeRadio.com. Learn more by visiting www.ardenmoore.com.