Meet The Performer: Lola Yamasaki
Author: Katherine Monberg, Literary Associate
Meet Lola! Lola is a nine-year-old shepherd mix, and our esteemed canine guest for the Tucson run of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. In the text of Steinbeck’s novella and on the stage, Lola is a symbol: of love and connection in an isolating world, of goodness, innocence, and of enduring commitment to those souls who depend on us for survival and for so much more.
But this is just the surface. Beneath the literary layers, Lola’s story is one for the ages. Lola was born and raised a barnyard dog, a farm companion for a family just outside Tucson. A sweet and loving animal with a penchant for belly rubs, Lola was outside one still sunny day as some riders on horseback appeared. Unknown to many – and certainly to Lola – are the canine casualties that emerge as a cost of border violence; illegal traffickers have been known to shoot dogs who witness their passage, to preserve secrecy and avoid barking alerts to their trespassing. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Lola was shocked into silence by a bullet wound to her upper leg. Her family heard the shot, and Lola was rushed to an emergency veterinarian. They saved her leg, but a year of recovery and rehabilitation in a kennel would follow.
Lola returned home to discover the sudden development of severe pet allergies within her family – the anaphylactic shock kind, rather than the Claritin kind – and she was relegated to the open outdoors in an effort to keep the family both together and breathing.
But Lola’s challenges would continue. Lola’s leg was further injured one dusk as she defended a puppy from a pack of foraging javelinas. Nursed back to health but unable to save her injured leg a second time, Lola found herself in a new, complicated situation as an older dog with newfound mobility challenges. Where now could she go?
Enter now the good people at The Animal League of Green Valley, who run an offsite adoption program that allows animals like Lola to stay with their families as they seek new homes. In partnership with A Loyal Companion Canine Swim and Recreation Center, who specialize in the rehabilitation of dogs with mobility issues, Lola has regained her health, happiness – and her forever home, in the arms and on the comfy couch cushions of an ATC staff member!
Lola’s happy ending is the work of many caring organizations and individuals, whose commitment and passion continue to resound with every gobbled milk bone, counter surf, and contented belly rub. Our immense thanks and gratitude go out to those who’ve made such goodness possible, and made way for a little more love in the world. Cheers to Lola! With love, from the ATC family.
Read more like this in the Play Guide!