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Has Sundance Film Festival Gone to the dogs? "Absolutely," said Cesar®Canine Cuisine publicist Lizzie Grubman at the first ever Cesar®Spa retreat, where small dogs and their celebrity owners got pampered in preparation for the glamorous Sundance premieres and parties. Among the many stars attending were hosts Shannon Elizabeth and Christopher Ameruoso, every Hollywood dog's favorite photographer.

Aside from the fun, the event benefited a great cause, Animals Avengers charity, founded by Shannon Elizabeth. Speaking with pal Winnie snuggled in her arms, she said, "I am very excited to build awareness of my charity at this year's Cesar®Spa." The charity raises funds to rescue animals from immediate danger and to care for them until they can be placed into safe and loving homes."

Christopher Ameruoso, appearing with his pup pal Stella, a perky little Chinese Crested, signed his book "Pets and Their Stars" for the enthusiastic crowd. Perched atop the signing table, never too far from dad, Stella wore a mini blue-and-black-trimmed hooded sweatshirt, the numbers "98" across her back. Their significance? Stella's birth year! Chris' book features great photos of Stella Blue, as well as the biggest stars in Hollywood with their pets, revealing private moments in his subject's otherwise very public lives.

Ameruoso credits friend Chris De Rose, founder of Last Chance for Animals (www.Icanimal.org) and Linda Blair's World Heart Organization (lindablairworldheart.com) for inspiring him to take up the cause of fighting for and protecting animals. In the forward to his book, he describes what happened.

"A few years ago, my life came to a crossroads when I made a decision to move on from a career in music. I began to notice celebrities walking their dogs and became fascinated with their relationship-how open and candid they were around their pets. My father, Vito, is an artist who dabbled in photography, and both my parents always encouraged me to think creatively. I took a risk and made a career change to photography, where I find myself now. Thus, I began on a journey of working with celebrities who could help make a difference."

He continues, "Celebrities have a way of getting people to look and listen. We don't always see them in their true light, but often stereotype them from what we see on television and the silver screen. At times, the public has portrayed them as villains. But I want to show the real side of these talented and decent individuals. Armed with my camera, I set out to photograph some of Hollywood's finest along with their pets, who truly bring out the best of these stars."

"My initial goal was to raise awareness on the issues of the animal world. If I could get people to view animals livelihood differently through my photographs, then I could help make a difference. Today, the same desire and goal-to raise animal awareness-is what drives me as I continue to work with celebrities and animal charities. People listen to celebrities, and, because of my work, I've had the opportunity to invite them to animal events and fund raisers for homeless animals. This has made an impact and resulted in positive changes in our society as people are becoming more educated about the overpopulation and mistreatment of animals."

"The majority of my time and profits have been donated to the cause of animals and their needs. Thus, it is my continuing wish and goal to give more. By purchasing this book, you will have donated to Linda Blair's World Heart Foundation (www.lindablairworldheart.com) and are helping to make a difference for animals in need. It takes an incredible amount of manpower and funding to run a rescue organization. This is the least I can do to help."

He concludes, "I thank you for the interest in my work. Please help me in educating others about the mistreatment of animals. Adopt. Spay. Neuter."

As we watched the sophisticated guests and their pampered pets depart with their books and their Puchi dog-bags and other gifts, we were thrilled that so much fun could be had for such a great cause. Woof.

Cesar®Canine Cuisine is an indulgent, highly palatable and premium priced gourmet food for small dogs. Find out more at www.cesar.com

To find out more about Christopher Ameruoso, or to purchase his delightful books, go to www.chrisaphoto.com

For more about Shannon Elizabeth and the Animal Avengers charity go to www.animalavengers.com

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 56 - September 2018
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