The wiser you get, the less you believe in fairy tales. So it’s refreshing to learn that not only is Prince Charming alive and well, he keeps himself busy rescuing dogs. Oh, and did we mention he’s single?
Viewers of TV’s The Bachelor won’t soon forget the star of season nine: handsome, dashing Prince Lorenzo Borghese, descendant of the royal house of Borghese, grandson of Princess Marcella Borghese of cosmetics fame, and a beauty-products entrepreneur in his own right.
Except Lorenzo’s products are designed to enhance canine beauty — they are high-end shampoos and conditioners for dogs, made with such deluxe ingredients as organic berries, chamomile, and shea butter. His business, Royal Pet Club, is huge on the Home Shopping Network.
Adoptable dogs always get first dibs with Lorenzo. He’s a Gemini, the zodiac’s most clever sign, so each time he appears on HSN, he cleverly harnesses the transformative power of cosmetics to help get homeless pets adopted, using his Royal Treatment products to perform dramatic makeovers on the adoptable dogs of Suncoast Animal League.
The Borgheses are renowned for being not bad to look at, hence their success in the cosmetics business and Lorenzo’s career on TV. But their beauty is much more than skin deep. Lorenzo’s ancestors are some of history’s most intriguing figures: Pope Paul V (aka Camillo Borghese), in whose honor the BVRGHESIVS family coat of arms appears on the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome; and Napoleon’s sister, Paolina Bonaparte Borghese, who is the subject of a famous statue by the Venetian neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova — and is also the star of The Princess of Nowhere, the book Lorenzo wrote about her in 2010.
But of all his endeavors, the project that’s closest to this busy businessman’s heart is Animal Aid USA, an all-volunteer animal rescue nonprofit he founded to honor the memory of his beloved best friend, a Labrador named Belle who passed away seven years ago.
“I know there are other incredible animal welfare organizations in the United States, but I wanted to form my own by bringing together volunteers,” Lorenzo explains. “Because we’re a group of volunteers, the money raised all goes to help animals, instead of paying rent, salaries, etc.”
AAUSA’s dedication has made possible many wonderful happy endings. Immediately after Animal Aid USA’s “Operation Sandy” rescue mission to assist animal victims of the hurricane, AAUSA didn’t take a holiday; instead, the intrepid group celebrated Thanksgiving by suiting right back up and traveling south to rescue 67 puppies and dogs (plus one cat).
“Since October of this year, I have participated in three caravans from New Jersey to Georgia,” Lorenzo says. Each of these covers roughly 1,600 miles and takes about four days. The volunteers pay for their own gas, lodging, and veterinary bills, and also use up all their vacation days to participate in these trips. Their admirable dedication pays off: An average of 85 dogs are rescued per month.
AAUSA always welcomes new recruits, but there are other, less time-consuming ways to help. Lorenzo hopes Dogster readers will visit the group’s web site and sign the petition to end the gas chamber for dogs. “Additionally, I hope you’ll write your congressman or -woman and ask him/her to make the gassing of animals illegal.” (The group’s website provides contact information for representatives per state.)
Lorenzo finds himself tempted to adopt so many of the rescued dogs, but his hectic schedule doesn’t permit him to at the moment. Although dogs are his first love, he hasn’t given up hope of finding a human soul mate. Unconditional love, he believes, is not strictly the birthright of dogs: “My parents have been married for close to 50 years,” he points out, “and I know that when I do get married, unconditional love will exist between my wife and me. … Each day I feel I’m closer to concentrating on other things [besides business], such as starting a family. So I’m sure one day when things slow down I’ll find my princess.”
The lucky gal, wherever she may be, can look forward to some tenderly written voti coniugali (that’s wedding vows in Italiano); Lorenzo coordinated the nuptials of Grace and Daniel, two dogs saved from gas chamber euthanasia by AAUSA, and penned their mutt-rimonial vows, which went like this: “Do you promise to love and cherish till death do you part? And most of all, do you promise to educate people on the humane treatment of animals? To encourage adoption so that one day all shelters will be empty?”
Until his bride comes along, Lorenzo has another book in the works: “It’s about fate and love, and it’s the story of how I became who I am today,” he concludes.
“The central character is my dog, Belle. Without her, I’m sure I would have never ended up in the pet industry. She is the reason I fight for animal rights. Although she is physically gone, her memory lives on in everything I do each day.”
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