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Shelter pooch marks ‘bark mitzvah’

Once upon a time, 11 years ago, there was a big, black dog that had a very bad day.

The 2-year-old Lab-mix broke her leg and hobbled to the side of a road, where she collapsed frightened and in pain.

The pound picked up the dog and took her to FOCAS (Friends of County Animal Shelters) where she received medical care.

With her sweet disposition and huggy-bear appearance, shelter staff decided she must be given a second chance for a nice home with a loving family. They offered Gypsy as a “Pet of the Week,” in the La Jolla Light newspaper.

That day, La Jollan Suzanne Figi was in her kitchen baking cookies for a shower and thumbing through her La Jolla Light. When she came across the dog’s photo she knew she was about to extend her household.

“I looked down at the paper and saw this gorgeous dog who captured me,” Figi said. She adopted her “Gypsy” girl, and last week, in Jewish tradition on Gyspy’s 13th birthday, Figi hosted Gypsy’s Bark Mitzva, a catered affair complete with valet parking, drinks and treats at the Nine-Ten Restaurant in La Jolla.

About 70 friends and 20 puppy-pals gathered to celebrate Gypsy’s big day on May 5.

“All the dogs behaved themselves and so did all the people,” Figi laughed. “The food was unbelievably fabulous and we closed the party with carrot cake and Frosty Paws (that’s ice cream for dogs and it’s sold at Jonathan’s).”

Figi said Gypsy received 60 to 70 gifts, which included leashes, dog collars, treats and toys. She’ll donate most of them to the Humane Society to share with her less-fortunate friends.

“The moral of this story,” Figi said, “is adopt a shelter dog! There are so many beautiful, loving, adorable dogs without homes and they belong with people because they can add so much joy and fun to our lives.”