Gretchen Wyler was a beautiful woman inside and out. She took great care of herself keeping her figure thin and her skin flawless. Gretchen used her charm to draw people into her cause; charm combined with a unique accent that was completely original. She didn't speak like she was from anywhere in particular, she had more of a pronounced diction, perhaps from her theatrical background. Wherever her uncommon sound came from, it was just one of the many qualities she utilized in the fight against animal cruelty. That look, that voice and that passion made her contributions to the cause invaluable in so many ways, not the least of which was gaining support from her celebrity friends. In fact, she had a host of celebrity advocates who she called on. They would attend events promoting the charity and freely allow Gretchen and her team to publicize their involvement. One such event was a press conference we were about to hold at the animal shelter in downtown Los Angeles.
Celebrity Bob Barker from TV’s The Price is Right brought the media out in droves to the Lacy Street Shelter for the press conference set to start at 1:00 pm on April 1, 1984. It was my first ever media event and I was a bit nervous with butterflies flying around inside my stomach. I hoped the event would be a huge success not only for me, but also for the animals. We were promoting a month long program for free spaying and neutering of dogs and cats living in Los Angeles.
I was the first to arrive, waiting patiently just inside the building at the shelter’s front desk. I tried to ignore the constant cries from the dogs inside, the same deafening barks and growls I had heard when I rescued Blondie at the pound earlier that year. I started to feel anxious, my hands sweating, my heart racing. I knew if I allowed myself to listen to those howls, I would either be reduced to a blubbering idiot or would adopt every single animal. Neither were good choices, especially since I was trying my best to look and act as professional as possible.