Our Icon, JD

 

 

Award-Winning Filmmaker JD Disalvatore is Our Icon

JD dear friend
Kane 9 Photography snapped this cute photo of me with this little dear

 

JD Disalvatore Has Shared Her Battle With Cancer and Her Life’s Mission With Us

Los Angeles, May 26th, JD Disalvatore learned 4 years ago that she has stage 4 cancer. Most of us when we hear news like this would start making our Bucket List or planning trips to see family.  When my father had bladder cancer 2 years ago, I felt devastated and I dedicated my work and time to be there for every step of his cancer treatments.  During this time, my father showed me the true meaning of grace in the hard times.  JD reminds me of my dad and what it means to take each day at a time, but to also build your legacy when you can.  Don’t wait to make something of yourself and a legacy when it’s too late.  As long as I have known JD while covering Club Skirts Dinah Shore, I saw her creating innovative video content and she became my role model for LGBT content.  I never told her that and to be honest, I wouldn’t think she would know me if I every approached her.  In 2014, when I was interviewing a bride at Dinah, I saw JD turn her camera to me and said ‘great job.’  I felt honored and to be honest wanted to pass out from excitement.  Since then, she continued to make amazing films and put into motion the campaign to make Los Angeles a “no-kill” city for our furry friends living in animal shelters.

As long as I have known JD while covering Club Skirts Dinah Shore, I saw her creating innovative video content and she became my role model for LGBT culture and content.  I never told her that and to be honest, I wouldn’t think she would know me if I every approached her.  In 2014, when I was interviewing a bride at Dinah, I saw JD turn her camera to me and said ‘great job.’  I felt honored and to be honest wanted to pass out from excitement.  Since then, she continued to make amazing films and put into motion the campaign to make Los Angeles a “no-kill” city for our furry friends living in animal shelters.  With her Activism and filmmaking experience, Disalvatore is combining her dedication and talents to the movement to make Los Angeles a no-kill city, and is making a documentary about the fight called “How To Save a Dog”.  How to Save A Dog is a feature documentary project that provides a compelling inside look at what it takes to rescue animals in America.I’m honored once again to be able to interview JD so she can tell you how important your help is in the fight to save animals in shelters.  

We can all stand up and fight with JD to make this mission succeed. 

JD Camera Dog
Sometimes you meet a dog at the shelter that is just unbelievably amazing… Sparticus is one of those dogs. He got rescued, thankfully – he’s an amazing senior mastiff – BIG character, full of energy, full of love and tricks.

 

1)  JD, what inspired you to be a filmmaker?

I fell in love early with storytelling due to voracious reading and film-going habits as a small child.  I also listened to Broadway cast recordings on my Fisher Price record player and had to imagine the parts in between – which is a great primer for storytelling.

 

2) When you were diagnosed with cancer, did you have a moment where you thought of things you wanted to accomplish? Or a bucket list?

No.  Basically just thought, fuck this shit and went into the fight more.

 

3) Do you have any regrets in your life?

When I look back at all the stupid, reckless things I’ve done in my life I now think… holy god, GOOD!  I’m so glad I did it all!  Seriously, take every day as if it’s your life, and take risks.

 

4) The documentary “How to Save a Dog” is your life’s mission to dedicate your time and life to saving animals in animal shelters. When you were diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer what inspired you to create the film?

I’d been a volunteer at the local animal shelter since 2010 when I revolved off the Board of Directors of the LA Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.  So being there every week, seeing things get better, then worse, then better… it motivates you to see the light at the end of the tunnel and want to really push for it.
Dogs and cats are only here in America because we want them to be our pets.  So humans make them, and we also kill them.  You may not be the one injecting the serum at the shelter, but we as humans and a society are killing these dogs because we allow it.
Animals are innocent.  It kills me to see a dog who is so eager to please… who sits and waits for a treat and is so obviously trusting of humans… and then we take them to the back and kill them.  I mean – is this the America you want to live in?
Believe me, some people do not care one bit.  So if you do care, you really have to do something to stop this.  Even if it’s just sharing a photo on social media a few times a month, and sending a check for $10 to a rescue.  Seriously, do it now.  If we all did just these two things, we could stop the killing.

 

5)  What can we do locally to help your mission to make America a “no-kill” nation?

Support local rescues, big and small.  Spay and neuter your pets, and get them microchipped (it takes up cage space when we are babysitting your runaway dog…. microchipping allows us to get your dog or cat back to you THAT DAY).  Never buy from a breeder or craigslist.
The most important thing you can do is sharing photos and videos on social media.  Our shelter has an Instagram, twitter, facebook and youtube account.  The dogs, cats, rabbits, and iguanas that get the most shares (don’t laugh, one of our lizards got over 100,000 hits!) get adopted, rescued or fostered.  So it’s a numbers game .
It should be no skin off your nose to share one dog or cat photo once a week on your social media.  And the help it will do is UNBELIEVABLE.
In the old days (being 2010), the shelter killed so many animals.  I made videos and did photos but only a hundred people would see them.  These days, because everyone is on social media, the videos I make every week get an average of 60,000 views… and the animals always get out about 4 days after they go viral.  So do a search in your neighborhood for the local rescue or shelter and share, share, share.

6) Some have made the argument that we need kill shelters because it frees up space in the shelter.  What can you say to the critics of the “no-kill” program?

To my knowledge, no one supports this system, even the people that work in it.  No one wants it, it’s just these shelters are government run. So it’s a money thing.   Maybe you can talk your elected officials into giving more money to the shelters so they can have larger facilities, but good luck.  They would have to take that money from law enforcement, fire department or education – it’s all the same government budget.  So while I want this to happen, the other way to approach it is community engagement.

 

7)  How can we all help you create “How to Save a Dog”?  Where can we donate to your mission?

Donate!!!  There are three ways to donate and all can be done at www.HowToSaveADog.com.   You can donate, or buy something from our amazon list, and if you want to make nonprofit donations, we have fiscal sponsorship.  Then follow along on our facebook page – How To Save a Dog, so you can see your money at work!

 

8) What can we do to help our local animals in shelters?

I cannot stress enough – share photos and videos on social media.  It is a powerful tool of the revolution.  You have the power!  Just do a search for a rescue or shelter in your area, then SHARE.
Every shelter needs blankets, towels, and newspapers.  You can just get in the habit of dropping off these things.  They are huge needs.  Also, it’s kitten season, so if you did nothing else, buy some kitten formula for your local shelter.
I shop a lot at Amazon Prime just so I don’t have to haul kitty litter and big boxes, so I chose the Humane Society as my charity.  You can change your charity if you use this to an animal one!  My local grocery store also has this, so I go to my Ralph’s points website and I chose animal rescues as my charity.  So I am giving every time I shop.
But seriously, share photos. You can go share our photos and videos at facebook.com/FriendsofEastValley.   You can also buy us a box of kitten formula!  We currently have over a hundred kittens in foster, and we really need this.   Last year during kitten season, we got 1500 kittens in just one month.

 

9) What can you say to individuals that only want to buy dogs from breeders and not adopt from shelters?

Don’t do this, because it’s just gross.  George Clooney, Peter Dinklage, and Jennifer Anniston all have rescue dogs and they are all very very rich and pretty hip people – so the classy thing to do is to rescue.
I know the biggest drawback to adopting from rescues is their application and screening policies.  I hear ya on that!  But you can go to a city or county shelter and adopt any dog you like without an application.  Only rescues have a screening process.
Also, if you must have a pure bred, there are rescues for all of them!  Many of my friends have the most amazing pure bred dogs from local rescues.  So there is no reason to “shop”.  Also, if you use Craiglist to buy a dog, I cannot even being to tell you the backyard breeding horror shit show you are supporting.  Believe me, I work at the shelter and we get those breeding dogs when they are done with them, and we also get those puppies when they don’t sell.
I’ll leave you with this.  One of my nurse’s at the cancer hospital decided to try a city shelter to adopt a dog.  Previously, she’d bought from a breeder.  This is what she said to me this week, “Oh my god, there are so many beautiful, perfect dogs there!  It was just like you said, and the staff was so helpful.”  She proudly showed me the new dog on her cell phone with her young son – who was so happy!  She got one of those breeding dogs – it’s a pure bred bull dog.  That dog has probably never had a moment of love and fun in her short 3 years, and the nurse told me the dog ran and ran around in the backyard and that her family loves her.  “We’re going to get another one!  And this time, we are coming to your shelter!” she told me.

 

10) How do you feel this project has changed you? Or your everyday life?

It sure is busier!

Thank you, JD for being downright amazing and my personal Icon!

Kristin Thomas, Trip Out Creator & Host

How To Save A Dog

 

 

JD Meeting
JD at her valley neighborhood council Animal Welfare sub-committee meeting

 

JD Dog
JD had a visit from her beloved Colin Biddle. Colin was adopted from a dachshund rescue years ago where he was a dumped because he was a failed show dog!

 

JD Lainie
JD interviewed Lainie Kazan

 

Grooming
Grooming at East Valley Animal Shelter

 

Grooming 2
Grooming East Valley Animal Shelter.

 

 

Millicent
Millicent got adopted

 

Veronica Perry
Veronica Perry

 

Boxer
Damn! (A1607466 – 5-year-old boxer who came in as a stray at East Valley Animal Shelter, Van Nuys)

 

 

How To Save A Dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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