A special Latham family dog named Cali

If you’ve never met Matt L. from Latham’s Adult Program, you’re in for a treat! Our Communications team recently found out about his connection to a famous chihuahua – an actual Disney star – and we were compelled to learn more. We set up an interview with Matt over Zoom, and accompanied by Residential Manager Patricia Morgan, Matt shared the heartwarming story of Cali. He was so enthusiastic and joyful about her, but just before we ended our video call, he shared a sincere call to action for all of us. Matt just might be the most passionate and caring animal-lover you’ve ever met.

Before Matt described the wonderful personality of Cali, his family pet, he explained that Cali is a tan and white chihuahua, formerly owned by Holly Browde, a Vice President at The Walt Disney Company. She was named “Carmen” in her movie-star days when she starred in both Disney movies Beverly Hills Chihuahua 1 and 2. (You can see her at the top of the #2 poster with two bows on her head). She became Cali when Matt’s family adopted her.

Talking with Matt about his “famous Cali” was such a delight – he was beaming, describing how she loves to be picked up and held, and loves to go for rides to do errands. “She wants to go – she’ll be right at the door when it’s time to drive somewhere.” Cali has a BIG personality. “She likes to be the boss – she’s REALLY bossy,” Matt said. Funny thing, though, her ‘brother and sister,’ Riley and Howie, are massive silver labs! “She’s really smart; she tells them to leave her alone – ‘I’m the boss so stay away’ she’ll say.” Matt laughs describing her behavior. “But she’s really good! She never barks, but she’s a good watch dog. When she hears a sound, she alerts you.”

He and his folks feel like she acts like a queen, he said – “actually prancing around the house like a queen. She even owns two special beds!” Cali is a good snuggler, and she’s also quite fond of Matt. When he’s at his parents’ house, Cali is usually by his feet; he’s on dog-duty, and he loves it! Matt said he enjoys any job working with dogs – he wishes he could “save them all!” Matt and Patricia said that they often joke about opening a Latham shelter. They have the next-best situation, though. Matt and his housemates often have a special visitor at their home – therapy dog Rocco! (Rocco is pictured below with Matt and Patricia. He’s famous in our Latham world and is quite popular throughout the agency!)

Matt is passionate about animals, commenting that he “especially loves Clydesdales… they’re big babies.” He goes to a horse stable in Plymouth that owns one. Matt said that he’s an animal lover – including all wildlife, and especially any animal that needs saving. He grew up with animals and volunteers at doggie daycare – he is truly gifted with animals and can get any crazy dog to become calm, Trish noted. Matt said the trick is to get on their level, sit on the floor, talk to them and be gentle. “I say, ‘don’t worry, you’re safe.”

It was Matt’s parting words that just might move you to action: his wish to share something important with our entire Latham community and beyond: “I want to make sure that everyone knows how important it is to adopt dogs out of shelters. There are so many out there looking for good homes.”

Thank you so much, Matt! Some of us will be logging into Netflix to watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua – and some of us will probably head over to the Animal Rescue League. Many thanks also to Residential Manager Patricia Morgan for her enthusiastic participation in the interview and for providing background information about Matt and his gifts with animals!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter