How Her Pets Helped Carrie Ann Inaba Heal

Dancer, television personality, animal activist and Guideposts‘ January 2015 cover star Carrie Ann Inaba shares how her pets saw her through a health crisis.


Hi, Guideposts. I’m Carrie Ann Inaba. You know me from Dancing With the Stars, and I am also a huge animal lover.

This is Lola, my little munchkin. I have three dogs and three cats. I remember reading about a celebrity that was really famous and she had an animal sanctuary, and ever since I was young, I was, like, “I’m going to become a celebrity, so I can save animals.” I kind of did it backwards, but now I’m able to help animals, and I started my own foundation called the Animal Project Foundation in 2012, when my first rescue, Shadow, passed away. He was a cat.

My three dogs are just incredible. I have today with me Lola and Buddy and Peanut, and they’re wonderful. Animals love you no matter what, and it’s the most beautiful thing in the world. It’s the most healing thing in the world, because life is filled with ups and downs and trials and tribulations and when you come home to an animal, they just are always the same. They love you no matter what you do.

I was actually doing a television show and I was promoting animals, and the rescue put her in my lap because we were trying to get them all homes. The rescue was Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, which does great work and I work with them all the time. They put Peanut in my lap, and we’re trying to get them adopted out and no one adopted Peanut. This is what happens a lot with black dogs and black cats, actually. It’s something that people don’t know about, but black dogs and black cats have a harder time getting adopted out because it’s hard to catch their expression in their face with the photograph, so people aren’t as interested in them and people are sometimes still afraid of them.

I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition a few years back. It started with my back. I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and I had to have a little surgery to take care of it. At that time, my health just went downhill. Now, I was a dancer my whole life, so health was never a problem. I guess I kind of took it for granted.

When all of these things happened, this is when I brought all the animals in. They helped me through it in so many ways that it’s hard to describe, but one of them was, every morning I had to get up and take care of them because they needed me. They taught me that I was stronger than I thought I was.

The way they loved me on the days that I had to stay in bed all day, as well as the days that I was out and about and wild and having fun with them, it was always the same. Their love for me and my love for them never changes. To me, that’s what God’s love is.

They teach me things. Sometimes they’re challenging, just like life is challenging, and yet I always know that everything that happens is for a better life. A happy moment. Or not a happy moment, but like a happy ending. I think life is really just the journey to a happy ending, and that’s the way I like to live and that’s the way I hope everybody likes to live.

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