By Todd Neikirk

Since the 1985 release of the hit song, Conga, Cuban-American singer Gloria Estefan has been a constant presence in the world of pop music. From her time with The Miami Sound Machine, to solo stardom, to the hit Broadway show, On Your Feet, Gloria has had an incredible run of success. Anyone who follows her Instagram account also knows that she is a passionate lover of dogs. She’s even written a series of children’s books inspired by her beloved Bulldog, Noelle. Her love for dogs started at an early age when her father, who was in the Army, got her a dog. Below, Gloria tells us about the life-long love affair with her four-legged friends.

A Tragic Loss
Pet owners are all too familiar with the shattering loss of a pet. This feeling can be exacerbated when you lose a pet before it reaches old age. In 2012, Estefan experienced this threefold as her three beloved English Bulldogs, Isaac, Biggie and Noelle tragically passed away due to in-breeding problems. She explained, “Dogs offer unconditional love. They are such a wonderful gift, but also a responsibility that demands purposeful consideration. It is brutal to lose them, I love them so much that I feel every moment of pain when they go.” With so much pain in her heart, Gloria swore she would never get another dog. Then Bernadette Peters called to ask if she could help with her Broadway Barks the annual adopt-a-thon in NYC.

A New Beginning
While Peters was able to convince Estefan to participate she did so reluctantly, “I told her I would do it if she blindfolded me. The thought of looking at beautiful dogs who needed love and a home would be so tough. I knew I would want to rescue 5,000 of them.” While she did not go home with 5,000 dogs, she did go home with a litter of pups. And when she came home, everyone she loves adopted a dog from that litter. Since all the dogs were able to stay within her family, they get to see each other often, “We have a big backyard, so six dogs is not a problem. They are the center of the family and genuinely need to be in the family unit.”

To the Rescue
This is the 20th Anniversary of Broadway Barks and it presents a great opportunity to bring a new pet into your home. While the Charity has a 24 hour wait to avoid adoptions that are made on impulse. It does give animal lovers the ability to experience the joy of adopting a rescue dog. According to Estefan, “Rescue dogs are so grateful, so appreciative of the love and protection they receive. They are so sadly thrown away.” You can help rescue one of these amazing animals by participating in Broadway Barks, taking place on July 14th in New York City’s Shubert Alley.

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