Mayor Dana Hobart is one of the Coachella Valley’s biggest proponents of rescue animals. The three-time Rancho Mirage mayor and current Councilman paved the way for his city to host Loving All Animals’ Super Pet Adoption Fair at Whitewater Park the weekend of November 17 and 18. Upon taking office, he elected to represent his city on the Coachella Valley Animal Campus commission which oversees our Riverside county shelter in Thousand Palms. To encourage more pet adoptions, Mayor Hobart instituted a program whereby the citizens of Rancho Mirage can be reimbursed the adoption fee for a county shelter pet.
Mayor Hobart and his wife Vicki are the proud parents of three rescue dogs, each with an amazing story of how they joined the family. Ten years ago the Hobarts went out to breakfast at Don and Sweet Sue’s restaurant and spotted a forlorn Pug/Brussels Griffon mix dog sitting outside. They tried to find the owner and learned the dog was outside the restaurant for days. Vicki relates, “Without saying a word to each other, we picked her up and put her in the car, and that was it. Rosie was part of our family. After rescuing this wonderful dog, we decided to never buy another expensive dog from a breeder. Rosie was timid, scared, and dehydrated. She ate bugs and lizards. She wouldn’t even drink from a bowl at first, preferring to drink drainage water.” Dana describes what a special dog Rosie became, “If I’m having a bad dream in the middle of the night, she paws me to wake me up and if that doesn’t work, she stands on top of me. When Vicki developed a serious illness, Rosie never left her side until the time the dog knew she recovered. Rosie could easily be a therapy dog or one who detects seizures.”
Three year old Giaco was once imprisoned in a cramped cage in a San Diego puppy mill, never knowing the touch of a gentle hand or the feel of soft earth beneath his feet. Then the puppy mill owners got a divorce and dumped him at the public shelter. Unsocialized and traumatized, the Brussels Griffon dog had little chance of adoption despite his pedigree. A local branch of the National Brussels Griffon rescue picked him up around the time Vicki Hobart applied online for a rescue Griffon. The rescue group checked the Hobarts’ references, and another contact drove the dog to meet them in nearby Riverside. Giaco was so terrified he would not come out of his crate which finally had to be turned upside down. Like so many dogs in puppy mills, Giaco was underfed and had muscle atrophy from being continually crated. Even today he is more comfortable in certain parts of the home, and shirks if anyone puts up their hand, never quite forgetting the cruelty he must have endured. Giaco is slowly healing, coming out of his shell, and reciprocating the love the Hobarts provide.
Last year the Hobarts started fostering rescued shelter dogs for Loving All Animals’ Mobile Mutts program. One of the fosters, a white terrier from the county shelter, decided she would become a permanent resident. Vicki tells the story, “There was no way we were going to get a third dog. We wanted to foster and save more lives. Then right after coming to us, Lola had a seizure. We rushed her to the vet who explained this was not the type of seizure disorder requiring medication. But we were worried this incident would reduce her chances of adoption, and we were concerned she needed owners who could provide good vet care. So we adopted her! She earned her way into our lives, but interestingly she hasn’t had a seizure since. No matter what dog we call, Lola comes running. She is a wonderful little dog and loves the other two.”
Are you or someone you know mourning a pet to the extent your heart won’t let you consider adopting another? Dana tells them, “When you lose a dog, it’s not disloyal to get another one. Get another one as fast as you can. You can cry for the old one while holding the new one. I don’t know anyone who has adopted a rescue dog who doesn’t say it’s a miraculous connection.”
Vicki adds, “The dogs find their way to you. They know they’ve been rescued and appreciate their homes. I would never trade the experience of rescue for a pedigree dog again. Dogs work miracles in our lives. Sometimes it seems they also work miracles to orchestrate their own adoption, arranging the timing of events to secure the perfect home.”
Mayor Hobart explains his affinity for these marvelous four legged creatures, “I’ve had dogs all my life. As a kid I’d walk up and down the aisles at the dog pound in Los Angeles and cry. Now as an adult I do the same thing when I walk through our local shelter. I always tell people that if they want a little more love in their life they should get a dog!” Next project for Mayor Hobart is the establishment of Rancho Mirage’s first public dog park adjacent to Whitewater Park, where dogs can romp with four-legged friends.
Dana Hobart, while a practicing attorney in Los Angeles, may be the only person to bring a dog into the courtroom as a witness! He represented a man accused of loitering while walking his German Shepherd dog in a city park. The situation escalated, and the man was arrested and charged with assault and battery due to the dog’s alleged behavior. During the jury trial attorney, Hobart suddenly told the judge he was going outside to bring in a new witness, leaving them no time to object. He returned to the stunned courtroom with the shepherd on a leash. He had the officer testify this was the same dog from the park incident. Dana then shoved the dog several times, and the dog sat calmly without response. Dana queried, “Officer, would you like to come down here and test this dog for aggression yourself?” The officer declined, and the jury returned a verdict of innocent.
The Coachella Valley animals are fortunate to have this elected official as their advocate. And three special rescue dogs hit the adoption jackpot when they arrived at the Hobart home. The Hobarts believe when it comes to animals, “Love will find a way!” There is an animal waiting for you now at a shelter who will work his way into your heart forever. Contact the Coachella Valley Animal Campus at (760) 343-3644, or view their adoptable animals online at

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