By EMILY LESLIE, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT
Actress Sylva Kelegian has appeared off-Broadway and guest starred on television dramas like “Cold Case” and “Without a Trace,” but her most life-changing moment came when she adopted Sammy, inspiring her to write the book “God Spelled Backwards: The Journey of an Actress into the World of Dog Rescue.”
“She was the female love of my life,” Los Angeles resident Ms. Kelegian told the News-Press by phone from a Thanksgiving gathering in Carmel. Sammy was a rescued Corgi Shepherd mix who was starved by its previous owners. Through her, Ms. Kelegian dove into the world of dog rescue, helping hundreds of out of abusive situations and into caring homes.
“Luckily for me, she just literally changed my life,” she said. “Because of her, I’ve saved over 500 lives.”
Ms. Kelegian will hold a signing of her Xlibris self-published books 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Santa Barbara Arts, 1114 State St., Suite 24 in La Arcada Court in Santa Barbara .
When Ms. Kelegian moved from New York City to Los Angeles , the amount of stray dogs she saw further ignited her passion for saving them.
“It’s really horrible,” she said. Dogs are “all over the streets; it’s just a nightmare.”
Ultimately, Ms. Kelegian found that working round the clock to rescue dogs is an overwhelming task to undertake and decided, in addition to rescuing, to try to raise awareness of the issue on a larger scale – and that’s where the book came in.
“I could rescue dogs every day for the rest of my life and it wouldn’t even make a dent.”
The memoir, which was the 2015 Memoir Winner from the Global E-book Awards, walks through her “spiritual journey” and what she learned through rescuing abused dogs.
“God Spelled Backwards” will be featured at the book signing event, along with Ms. Kelegian’s children’s book, “The Dolphin Princess,” which takes readers along to a magical island with 8-year-old Saroya, who befriends animate objects that come to life.
“Adults seem to love it just as much or more than children,” she said of the book, which was the Global
E-book Awards’ 2015 Winner for Children’s Literature Fiction and the Beverly Hills Book Awards’ 2015 Winner for Children’s Fiction.
“It brings them back to their childhood, in a sense, in a fantasy life that we all have as children that we lose as adults,” she said.
Half of the author proceeds from book purchases, both from Ms. Kelegian’s website and at the book signing, will be donated to rescue groups. Audio books are also available.
For more information, go to sylvakelegian.com.