This celebrity news comes from The Morris Daily Herald.
ATHLETES, ENTERTAINERS AND THEIR PETS: Going to the dogs, catsPortman, La Russas helping animals with calendar
By Mike Cunniff
Herald Sports Writer
A Californian with Morris roots was back home recently.
Brent Portman was back in town to make a delivery of a half dozen 2006 ARF calendars.
For those of you who are unaware, ARF is an acronym for Animal Rescue Foundation.
ARF was co-founded by Tony and Elaine La Russa.
Most of you out there know by now who Tony La Russa is.
The manager of Scott Spiezio and the rest of the 2006 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Elaine is his wife.
Tony got involved in saving abandoned animals when he was the manager of the Oakland Athletics. In May of 1990, during a Major League Game between the A’s and the New York Yankees in Oakland; a lost and terrified cat dashed onto the playing field.
With help, Tony was able to coax the frightened feline into the dugout. Afterward, Tony and Elaine worked with members of the community to find “Evie” a loving and permanent home.
The ARF calendar features a dozen celebrities and their pets to raise animal awareness concerns. ARF’s People Connect programs promote the role of companion animals in society.
One involves the Visiting Animals Program, in which VAP teams drop by skilled nursing and assisted living residents at 22 facilities county-wide with cats and dogs that are temperament qualified for the experience.
Portman lives in Walnut Creek, Calif., about 20 minutes from San Francisco. He currently is employed at ARF.
“I started working here in April,” he said in a recent telephone interview.
Asked why, Portman answered, “Because I love animals and I love sports. I found out about ARF through Tony. I have always been a fan of the Oakland A’s and became a Tony fan when he managed the A’s.”
Now 24, Portman’s mother (Sherry Thompson) and step-father live in Morris. He owns an English bulldog.
“I just like dogs,” he said. “I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease and all the time I was sick, my dog was always there for me.”
Part of Portman’s duties at ARF involve the distribution of celebrity pet calendars at mobile adoption sites and on weekends.
The 2006 calendar includes photos of Dean Cain, Hilary Duff, Vivica Fox, Felicity Huffman, Vicki Lawrence, Masiela Lusha, William H. Macy, Danica Patrick, Julie Roberts, Charlotte Ross, Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Warren Sapp, Nicollette Sheridan and Cardinals outfielder So Taguchi along with their pets.
There is an envelope included to make a donation to ARF. The address is P.O. Box 30215, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, Ca., 94598-9215.
Headliners from the world of music, all-star athletes and top-flight entertainers are appearing in ARF’s 2007 celebrity pet calendar.
They include La Russa, Greg Biffle, Fran Drescher, Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein, Hall of Fame football coach John Madden, Shelly Morrison, the Oakland Raiderettes, Kenny Rogers, Rebecca Romijn, Kelly Rowland, Billy Bob Thornton, Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks.
Calendars can be ordered by going to ARF’s Web site