The 2019 Malibu Times Best Dog of Summer crown goes to three-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback and German Shepard mix Luna, a loyal family dog who rose to the occasion, helping keep her family calm while they evacuated from the Woolsey Fire in November.
Her owner, Devin Dimattia, said she is a true Malibu girl who loves going on hikes and loves to explore. She said Luna is able to hike mountains without a leash—Dimattia isn’t worried Luna is going to run off because she has always been loyal and stays nearby.
Dog treats are Luna’s favorite; however, she loves Costco steak.
“She’s spoiled, I know—she gets the leftovers,” Dimattia admitted.
Luna knows all the tricks in the book: sit, stay, left paw, right paw, both paws, lay down, roll over and many more. “She’s really trained; it’s really amazing,” Dimattia said.
Luna was one of several dogs nominated for this year’s title who took care of her family during the Woolsey Fire.
Dimattia said before they had to evacuate their home, she went to the vigil for the loss of her friends from the Borderline mass shooting that occurred in Thousand Oaks that same week.
“I get home from the vigil, turn on the news and we have to evacuate,” Dimattia said. “The power goes out and my grandma said, ‘We’re not leaving’—but I think it was time for us to go.”
Dimattia said Luna was calm and collected throughout the evacuation. They evacuated to Zuma Beach and Luna knew how to adapt and stay calm in the situation.
“Luna just jumped in the car. She knew what was going on, she knew we were all stressed out. She protected us throughout the duration of the fires and guarded her three feline brothers and sisters, Moose, Scarlett and Bella,” Dimattia added.
In happier times, the pup is more playful. What kind of Malibu dog would Luna be if she didn’t love the waves?
“Her favorite place in the whole world is the beach. Every time we go to the beach, she greets everyone with a friendly hello, and loves to lay out in the sun,” Dimattia wrote in her email nominating Luna for this year’s prize. “She always has to swim and take a dip in the ocean along with everyone else, and shows everyone that she isn’t scared of the waves.”
Dimattia said that before she was rescued, her name was Princess, but her family wanted to change that.
“We brought her home for the first night and we had no idea what to name her,” Dimattia recalled. “We were looking up dogs’ names and someone said, ‘Luna,’ and she looked over and we knew that was her name.”
Dimattia said Luna was delighted but a little scared on her first day home. She had three cat brothers and sisters she had to meet.
“They’re all [best] friends now,” Dimattia said. “Her first few days [were] amazing. She got really used to us, which is amazing. She was really happy and carefree—that’s really what we wanted. Our prayers were answered.”
Dimattia said they will soon be moving to Hawaii for her job and Luna is preparing to begin work as Dimattia’s service dog. Her family realized the older she gets, the more helpful she is to people.
“She’s really receptive—if someone were to [be] having a seizure, she calms down and she knows what to do to calm the person down,” Dimattia said. “She is the ultimate protector dog, amazing companion and a best friend to many.”
To honor Luna’s hard work, loyalty and loving nature, she and Dimattia will walk away with great prizes from this year’s contest: a $50 gift card for Pacific Coast Pets, a free car wash (up to $25 in value) from Eco Auto Spa, free boarding night and a free bath at Malibu Dog Hotel, a free grooming visit with Malibu Grooming Co. and passes to “A Science Tail!” exhibit at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
Congratulations to Luna and to all the fun loving, hard working, good looking dogs nominated this summer!
Of the more than two dozen entries in this year’s contest, we received many stories of playful pups, award-winning pooches and helpful hounds who make Malibu families complete.
What stood out this year were hero dogs who helped evacuate during the Woolsey Fire and even saved an owner’s life.