Living the Sweet Life

Living the Sweet Life
To the rescue, a food truck bringing natural sweets to the street


From the corrugated metal belly of a restored World War II Quonset Hut, La Dolce Vita Animal Rescue was born. The unusual place of genesis, home to La Dolce Vita’s founders, Michael Valentine and his fiancé, Joanna Fiore, offers a not inaccurate notion of the rescue’s free-thinking founders, a pair that does things their own way. And thank goodness for that, for this forge-aheaddespite- the-obstacles mentality is exactly what gets ventures like La Dolce Vita, the non-profit they started with the aim to find abandoned Chihuahuas forever homes, off the ground.

Why Chihuahuas? Though Pit Bulls, with their undeserved bad rep, hold the heartbreaking distinction of being the number one breed put down across the United States, in Los Angeles in particular, there are legion miniature breeds urgently in need of rescue, and Chihuahuas top the list. As Michael explains, “Here in L.A., Chihuahuas and Chi-mixes became the number one dog put down in shelters after the breed became trendy due to popular movies and certain celebrities using them as accessories.” But that wasn’t the only reason why the couple decided to focus on saving Chihuahuas. “We also fell in love with the breed through our own Chi named Vinnie,” admits Michael.

Running a rescue, though, is no easy feat. “The rescue business,” Michael says, “is a hard one.” Finding themselves strapped for cash due to veterinary and maintenance expenses from the dogs, who often come to them abused or neglected and in need of surgery, the couple cooked up an idea to support their rescue efforts: La Dolce Vita Gourmet, a food truck from which 100 percent of the proceeds would go to their nonprofit organization of the same name. The idea came out of the blue one day when discussing the current food truck craze, and the couple took the leap, tapping Joanna’s kitchen skills to start the first charity-owned mobile food truck with the sole purpose of raising funds for dogs. It’s a venture that makes the most of their talents; on top of their rescue work, Michael is a interior designer while Joanna is a chef, nutritionist, and celebrity trainer.

From a retrofitted 1947 Airstream trailer, the couple fashioned a mobile café, serving a variety of gourmet nut butter sandwiches, coffees, gelatos, and other goodies. Among the natural nutty spreads, La Dolce Vita’s star offering is their cashew butter. Joanna developed the recipe herself and realized she had a winner after introducing the treat to her celebrity clients and generating an overwhelmingly positive response. There are now 17 addictive nut-butter flavours available, from Caramel & Pretzel to Upside Down Pineapple Cake. To find the pair on their sweet mission, track their food truck’s location by following @ladolcevgourmet on Twitter; they’re out on the streets of LA everyday. Busy folks that they are, they also frequently hold adoption events throughout the L.A.-area. If you’re lucky enough to be in sunny Los Angeles, be sure to stop on by for a taste of the sweet life.


Meet two of the wonderful dogs up for adoption through La Dolce Vita Rescue

Milania is an 11-pound, twoyear- old female Chihuahua mix in perfect health. She is very sweet and shy. She was abused and is afraid of men so she needs a patient and nurturing environment.

Little Emma is a three-pound, two-year-old female Chihuahua. She has luxating patella(dislocating kneecaps) but that doesn’t slow her down. She is very sweet and loving. Due to her tiny size, a home with children
is not suitable. Red-listed at the shelter, she is now living the sweet life and ready for her forever home.

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Joanna is a chef, nutritionist, and celebrity trainer
Nike Free Run
Wed, 05/01/2013 - 05:52

Dog of the Week!

Meet: Meeka