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October 31, 2008

I Think This Will be a Must-See-TV Event

In 2001, an LAPD officer in South Central Los Angeles named Tami Baumann noticed a homeless woman with a shopping cart and a couple of dogs – nothing too unusual in Baumann’s world.  But the effect the two women would have on each other’s lives, as portrayed in Hallmark Channel’s real-life drama, “Accidental Friendship” (which premieres Saturday, November 15 at 9pm/8c), would be something neither would ever forget.  This story is available, with photos, for all press uses from Crown Features Syndicate.

No Bailout for ‘Foreclosure Pets?’

Crown Features Syndicate

The lonely dog was tied to the door of an animal shelter when the first worker arrived one morning.  The note pinned to his collar read, “I’m sorry, I can't take care of my kids, and take care of my dog. Please take care of my dog."

It would be shocking if it wasn’t becoming so commonplace.  In light of the immense economic troubles everyday people are finding themselves in, many families are being forced to give up beloved animals, leading to the coining of the phrase “Foreclosure Pets.”

Animal shelters across the country have reported a year-to-year increase in animal drop-offs of 25 percent or more.  Many shelters have had to buy temporary trailers to house the new arrivals.  In some heart-wrenching extreme cases, some pets are just abandoned.  In the Midwest, there have been stories of horses simply being set free, because the owners can’t even afford vet costs for euthanasia.

On Saturday, November 15 (9/8c), Hallmark Channel presents “Accidental Friendship,” the true-story of a woman (played by Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s Anatomy”) living on the streets of Los Angeles after losing her home and job, but whose life was given some meaning thanks to the dogs she cared for and protected at all costs, even if it meant forgoing necessities for herself. 

It is a stark reminder that, even in times of hardship, pets bring us joy, companionship and often a sense of purpose.  They can be a beacon of hope and should not be discarded lightly, even – and perhaps especially – during the difficult times many of our friends and neighbors find themselves in.

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