When actor David Arquette married journalist Christina McLarty in 2015, the ceremony was attended by their two basset hounds, Luna and Dallas. The following year, the Arquettes— who have two sons together — also adopted a third basset hound, Simone.
When Simone died in October 2017, Arquette described the experience as “so sudden and so shocking,” while Cynthia acknowledged that the hound was “part of the family.”
“We miss the craziness of having three basset hounds,” Cynthia said in a January 2018 cover story for Pet Age. “David loves to sing off-key, and they all start howling with him when he sings. We’re missing that third howl.”
While many people perceive David as an offbeat actor and an avid collector who enjoys flashing his eccentric side, few know of his philanthropic endeavors. One his collectibles, a basset hound costume, came in handy when the Arquettes and two of their basset hounds attended and hosted the Haute Dog LA Howl-O-Ween Spooktacular at The Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California, in October 2017 — just weeks before Simone’s passing. David actually donned the outfit, while Christina and their basset hounds walked the runway of the annual doggie fashion show, which benefits Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships at no cost to the recipients.
In addition to the fashion show, the 2017 edition of the annual Haute Dog LA event included cocktails, a pet psychic and, thanks to David’s connections with Sid and Marty Krofft, an appearance and performance by members of Nickelodeon’s “Mutt & Stuff” children’s TV series. And much of the Halloween décor at the event was provided by David’s sister Patricia Arquette, who donated her personal “Day of the Dead” collection to the fundraiser.
David and Cynthia Arquette were invited to the annual Haute Dog LA by their longtime friend Esther Ginsberg, owner of Golyester Vintage Clothing in Los Angeles. In the months leading up to the event, and especially at the event, the couple said they were deeply moved by the story of Annette Ramirez, a member of the event committee whose life has been positively impacted by the services of CCI.
“I’ve always had a passion for animals and an interest in service animals,” David said of how the Arquettes learned of the CCI fundraiser. “[Esther and Annette] had come to us about Canine Companions and showed us the amazing work that they’ve been doing. With the need for these assistance dogs — and Annette’s story is so inspiring — we thought it would be a nice charity to support and help raise awareness and money.”
CCI dogs are trained in approximately 40 commands to help adults, children and veterans with disabilities accomplish everyday practical tasks. The service dogs can open and close doors, retrieve dropped objects, activate light switches and provide emotional support to their human partners.
According to Jeanine Konopelski, national director of marketing for CCI, the concept of assistance dogs for people with disabilities began when the organization was established in 1975. Assistance dog instructors staff six training centers across the country, with more than 5,500 graduates being teamed with service dogs since that year.
CCI breeds labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and a cross of the two breeds to be assistance dogs, with volunteers caring for the dogs and nurturing puppies for eight weeks. The puppies then spend the next 14-18 weeks with volunteer trainers who provide basic obedience training, socialization and care.
Konopelski recognizes how important it’s been to have celebrities like the Arquettes supporting CCI and playing an active role in its events and fundraisers.
“It’s a great connection for CCI to have David bring awareness to the event, but also for him to get involved,” Konopelski said. “We’re excited to have them help us spread the word and to participate. They’ve supported a lot of animal nonprofits and charities.”
The eighth annual Haute Dog LA is set for October 20 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Notable names scheduled to attend include John O’Hurley, Laraine Newman, Ed Begley Jr. and Tony Dow. Click here for tickets and more information.