“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
- Anatole France, French Poet
Harry and Virginia Robinson were both animal lovers for their entire lives. Their 16 acre estate made the perfect home for their menagerie of pets who could roam freely and enjoy the grounds. Stories of the many pets who have lived at 1008 Elden Way are legendary at Robinson Gardens.
Harry and Virginia always had several dogs at one time. Some were purebred while others were mixed breeds. One of their most beloved pets was a black French Poodle named “Bravo.” There is a photo hanging in the master bedroom of Harry with Bravo and another dog called “Bo.” Another photo shows both Bravo and Bo sitting as sentries in the doorway, waiting for their mistress Virginia to arrive home in her Duesenberg.
Harry bought the first monkey to spare it from ill treatment. It was in a pet store window on a hot sunny day as he was driving to work on Wilshire Blvd. He stopped and asked the pet store owner to take the monkey out of the heat and sun…which he did. The next day Harry saw the monkey back in the window, so he went back into the store and bought it. When he presented it to Virginia, she laughed and said, “Why just one?” Harry bought another, and the monkeys had a baby that they named “June” after the month in which she was born.
After Harry’s early death, Virginia always had several pets around her. She had her usual number of dogs and birds and a giant desert tortoise that slept in her bedroom at night. When children visited, she would offer them a head of cabbage to feed the tortoise, but first, they had to find it!
Most of us have grown up in homes where pets played an important role in our lives, be it a dog, cat, rabbit, hamster, bird, lizard or goldfish. Never have pets been more important to people than right now during the pandemic. There has been a tremendous uptick in the adoption, fostering, and purchase of pets in this time of isolation. Research has shown that pets can reduce worry, ease loneliness, or add laughter and levity to our lives. We can share joy and find new purpose with them, and they can even encourage exercise and playfulness. Here are photos of our “Friends” with their beloved pets and all the love they bring.