You know our reporters and anchors from your television screen, but behind many great on-air folks working from home is a dog silently wagging its tail or a cat stretching behind the camera lens.
Clear the Shelters event is a month-long affair due to the coronavirus pandemic. In past years, NBC and Telemundo stations across the country held the adoption drive on an August Saturday and droves of animal lovers would show up to their nearest shelter to welcome a pet into their lives
That won't be happening this year out of health and safety concerns. However, the ambition for this year's event remains the same -- to get as many animals into loving homes and raise funds to help animal shelters nationwide.
In honor of this year's Clear the Shelters event, we're introducing you to some cute critters that call some NBC 7 employees their family.
This little dog sandwiched between reporters Audra Stafford and Joe Little has a name that suits her perfectly — Happy! Happy the dog was adopted by this dynamic duo during last year’s Clear the Shelters event at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society. This sweet and energetic pup has a variety of interests, like taking naps with Audra and wrestling with Joe.
Dash the Boston Terrier may look quaint in anchor Monica Dean’s arms, but don’t let his serene disposition fool you — he is an energetic expert at fetch who will tire any human who’ll throw a ball his way! Five-year-old Dash loves to swim and he’s a tough, little fellow. Monica says Dash has epilepsy and is given medication twice a day to calm his seizures. This remarkable pooch has also survived a rattlesnake bite and broken leg!
Anchor Catherine Garcia says her 1-year-old chocolate Labrador, Ponch, is a super lazy and loving pup.
In addition to Ponch, Garcia has Lulu the rescue cat. Don’t let this innocent photo of Ms. Lulu fool you — she’s a feisty feline who can be cranky and is forever loyal. Fun fact: she likes to eat lettuce.
The Garcia household is a diverse bunch, with a second cat in the family named Olive. She, like her sister Lulu, is a rescue kitty who is the most cuddliest cat Catherine has ever met!
Everyone, meet Dexter! This beautiful pit bull rescue belongs to reporter Ramon Galindo. This pooch enjoys taking late night walks around the neighborhood to relax, reflect and smell the flowers. He regularly takes long naps during the day but once he’s all rested, Dexter likes to run circles around the kitchen.
Reporter/anchor Melissa Sandoval and her rottweiler Apollo have been attached at the hip since this gentle giant was just 5 weeks old!
Apollo is an emotional support dog who loves to play, nap and give kisses. He also looks like a great adventure buddy!
Anchor Mark Mullen says his pooch Finn is the best dog his family has ever had! Photogenic Finn was adopted from the Helen Woodward Animal Center.
Just look at that smile from Rosie! Sports anchor/reporter Derek Togerson said he and his wife were searching for a new pet at last year’s Clear the Shelters event, but the lines were out the door (which is great news for the animals). The pair returned the next day in search of a new dog and there, they met Rosie, a 1-year-old Australian cattle dog. Togerson said she’s been an amazing addition to their family.
Anchor/reporter Steven Luke says Ginger the 9-year-old mini golden doodle is a great friend to his three children. Ever so loyal, this pooch tends to follow Steve around the house.
Not only is Ginger the backyard protector (she’s chased off her fair share of bunnies, lizards and crows), but she regularly keeps Steven company on the couch during morning broadcasts when he anchors from his living room. Perhaps one day she will make an on-air appearance.
They may not have known each other for very long, but time doesn’t matter when you have a bond as true as this! Reporter Priya Sridhar adopted Chulis the chihuahua on July 17 from The Animal Pad, a San Diego-based rescue that places street dogs from Mexico into loving homes.
Sweet, little Chulis, 5, came from a shelter in Ensenada. She’s a relatively quiet pup who never really barks, and her hobbies include sleeping and going on walks.
If there’s a camera nearby, Button Vargas is ready to pose! Reporter Melissa Adan says her pooch is a caring and sweet individual is always there for her and her family when they need her.
Button the dog loves going on walks and keeping Melissa and her family company. This photogenic queen’s skills in front of a camera come in handy since she has her own Instagram page! Find her via @imbutton.
This sweet boy’s name was Kramer, who belonged to NBC 7’s News Operations Manager Donna Stewart. She said before Clear the Shelters, NBC 7 had a “Pet Parade” segment and that’s how she met and instantly fell head over heels for Kramer.
"Most of the animals, particularly the cats, that came in for the segment were pretty nervous. Not Kramer," Stewart said. "He walked around like he owned the place. He was curious, comical and cute. He had eyes that felt like they could see into your soul."
“I got home from work that night and could not stop thinking about him.,” Stewart continued. “The next morning I woke up in a panic thinking if I wasn’t first in line at the shelter, someone else would grab him.”
The feline was named Cheetos by the woman who had been fostering him, but Stewart said he later got the name Kramer “based on the Seinfeld character because of his mad dash into a room when he was looking for me.” He later welcomed stray cat, Yonex, into the household with open paws.