As the West Coast correspondent for Entertainment Tonight Canada, Erin Cebula can frequently be found on the red carpet brushing shoulders with Hollywood stars.
But back home in Vancouver, the bubbly animal lover is more likely to be spotted climbing rugged North Shore trails with her rescue dog by her side.
Supporting adoption comes second nature to Cebula, who grew up on a hobby farm in Aldergrove surrounded by chickens, ducks, geese and many, many rescue pups.
First there was Cinder, a little Beagle cross. Then came Kipper the herder, Ginger the lovable Labrador cross, Mastiff mix Morgan, and Zoe the “super sucky” Staffy [Staffordshire terrier].
“Our house was always full of happy, healthy rescues that my mom — the real pack leader — kept in line with her own brand of tough love,” Erin says.
“Adoption was the ONLY option at the Cebula homestead and we were definitely regulars at the local BC SPCA.”
In this edition of Rescue Me, the popular TV host shares in her own words how she came to adopt her newest “sweet creature”: A 50-pound pit bull mix named Pickles.
My husband and I adopted our first dog as a couple in 2007. Lenny was seven when he joined our family, and we loved him with all our hearts until he passed in 2014 at the ripe old age of 14. He was – and still is – the coolest dog I have ever met.
If you believe in the Law of Attraction I know you will love the story of how we met Pickles. It happened last summer when I was hiking in Deep Cove with my family. As we made our way up to Quarry Rock, my niece asked me if I was ever going to adopt another dog. I didn’t have an answer for her. I had been mourning the loss of our sweet, Hound/Pitty/Shepard mix, Lenny, for over a year, and I was still struggling.
Luckily for me, my niece – a crazy animal over in her own right – didn’t give up. Instead she suggested I describe the kind of pup I would adopt when/if I ever became ready. I surprised myself by how quickly I rattled off a list of attributes. I didn’t even realize that I wanted a female, 50-pound Pitty mix, with unique markings and a playful temperament until I said it out loud.
When my niece suggested we visit the North Shore Animal Shelter after the hike, I didn’t resist. And believe it or not, when we arrived there was only one dog in the entire kennel: A beautiful, four-year-old, 50 pound Swiss Mountain/Pitty mix with the kindest eyes I had ever seen. I proceeded to blow up my husband’s phone with Pickle pics and all-caps messages, like “I FOUND HER!”
The shelter staff were incredibly professional and knowledgeable. According to their records, Pickles was around four years old and had been surrendered by a young Delta man six months earlier. She had some mild allergies and a little separation anxiety, but it was obvious she had been loved.
Pickles cruised in like she owned the place. Within seconds, this little rascal was sprinting from one end of our condo to the other and bouncing in and out of our patio doors. She was obviously very happy and comfortable right out of the gate. That night she slept right between us. Since then we have been trying – quite unsuccessfully – to get her to sleep in her own bed!
Pickles is an energetic little mama, so exercise is a must. We make sure she gets daily high-flying frisbee sessions and we hit the mountains regularly. Our favourite family activity has to be getting out in the water in our canoe. Pickles loves to swim and even fancies herself a bit of a lifeguard.
I want people to know that there is so much fear and misinformation out there regarding pit-bulls. Pickles is a pit-bull mix that shows absolutely zero aggression towards humans. In fact, she protects our friends’ little ones as if they were her own and cuddles better than any dog or human I know. I want people to realize how affectionate, loyal and sweet these creatures can be if they are cared for correctly.
My words of wisdom to those who would rather buy from a pet store than adopt is: Adopt! Don’t shop.
There are so many lovely animals looking for forever homes. Visit your local shelter and spend some time with these magic souls. Soon you’ll realize how much they have to offer and are willing to give. Rather than focussing on breed, look for an animal you honestly connect with. I knew the minute I looked into Pickles baby browns that we were meant to be. Be open to that!