For those facing serious illnesses, the unconditional love of a pet has proven to provide physical, emotional, healthy and healing benefits.
Pets Are Wonderful Support/Los Angeles, a nonprofit founded in 1989, provides veterinary care, pet food and supplies to people with serious illnesses such as HIV and AIDS, so they can keep their pets. Volunteers make house calls to deliver pet food, walk dogs and clean cat litter boxes.
"Particularly for our clients, these animals are often their closest friends and families. At the time when they might be faced with losing them because of their illnesses, is the time they need them the most," said PAWS/LA Director Pamela Magette.
But the care PAWS/LA gives to its 1,600 clients and their 2,300 companion animals doesn't come cheap. So the organization is holding its second annual pet art auction Sunday to raise funds.
On the block will be more than 180 works of art and photography featuring cats, dogs and other animals by John Dill, Keith Haring, Dennis Hopper, David LaChapelle, Ed Ruscha, William Wegman, Greg Gorman and others. Pieces are valued between $100 and $7,000, so, "there will be something for everyone,' " said Magette.
Gorman, a photographer, said he became aware of the power of animals last year when he and his French bulldogs, Pepe and Lupe, befriended Dash Dunbar, a 5-year-old with brain cancer.
"Every time I spoke to Dash, all he could talk about was my dogs," Gorman said. Dash died earlier this year, but his legacy lives on through Gorman's work with PAWS/LA. Gorman will host this year's event, and Lupe posed for the invitations.
Pet Art 2, Sunday, 4 p.m. El Rey Theatre, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets, $25. Information: (323) 876-7297, Ext. 112.