Charo and the Bull


Pomona, CA - 12/16/2008 --

This is no bull: Charo's pet is OK.

Singer/dancer/actress/comedian/guitarist María Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Moquiere de les Esperades Santa Ana Romanguera y de la Najosa Rasten – better known simply as Charo – took advantage of the abundant expertise at WesternU’s College of Veterinary Medicine Tuesday, bringing in a 14-week-old bull for an exam by several CVM staff.

The Angus mix bull, Manolo, was rejected by its mother after its return from a recent music video shoot with the entertainer. The calf’s owners then planned to sell it, but when Charo heard of its fate, she adopted it and took it home to Beverly Hills.

Concerned that her new friend might have a heart murmur, Charo was referred to Dr. Bob Mason, CVM's Associate Dean for Clinical and External Rotations. CVM Administrative Assistant Renee Cook coordinated the exam Tuesday, when Charo and a few of her family members rolled up to the back door of the Banfield Veterinary Clinical Center in a pickup, pulling the 250-pound Manolo along in a livestock trailer.

Drs. Gary Johnston, Maisie Dawes, Josep “Pep” Ruttlant and Peggy Schmidt all had a hand in the exam, with Dr. Johnston leading the way on an echocardiogram of Manolo's heart. The exam was complicated by somewhat cramped quarters – several media, the doctors, Charo’s family and visitors all were packed into the BVCC’s back kennel room – and Manolo was, unsurprisingly, jittery from time to time.

"If you had this many doctors around you, wouldn't you be afraid?" quipped Schmidt, CVM Associate Professor, who served as bull wrangler Tuesday. "Actually, he's been very good," she added. "Not many calves would be this good."

After several minutes spent simultaneously worrying about her bull calf, feeding him and soothing him in Spanish, and lending an ear to what the doctors had to say, Charo was relieved at the final verdict: "No heart murmur," Dr. Johnston said. Manolo might have a little case of pneumonia, though, and will get some antibiotics.

Shel Rasten, Charo's son and arguably Manolo's best buddy, said his family adopted the bull when it was just three weeks old and had been keeping it near their house and on a ranch in Malibu.

Prior to the exam, Charo told a small group of TV and newspaper reporters that she planned to use her experience with Manolo to campaign against bullfighting -- "He's going to be like a poster child to promote 'don't kill'" -- and to raise awareness about animal welfare issues. "I need your help to get the word out," she said.

The singer's ultimate wish for her pet, though, sounded familiarly parental, mangled syntax notwithstanding.

"I want that he be a healthy bull, find a good-looking cow, and make little bullets," Charo said.

The entertainer also toured the Banfield Veterinary Clinical Center and posed for photos with several WesternU staff members.

  • KTLA Channel 5 did a very nice little piece on it, which can be found here. Once there, scroll through the local news videos to find "Charo cares for abandoned baby bull." Enjoy the cameo by Renee Cook!
  • A report on KABC Channel 7 includes some nice images, especially of the CVM's own Dr. Gary Johnston, but inexplicably fails to mention WesternU at any point. Despite this profound shortcoming - which has been pointed out to the KABC folks -- I offer you the following link to the video.
  • The visit is the front-page centerpiece of today's Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, and is the main art and story on the newspaper's home page.
  • It also was picked up by The Sun of San Bernardino and is here on its Web site.
  • The Contra Costa Times also picked it up. Here's the link.
  • The Business Press of Riverside also has a nice video package about the visit.


(To learn more about this news article please contact Public Affairs Department)
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