Cara Goes to Hollywood: The Adventure Continues…

Here are the notes I wrote to myself this morning on my phone while waiting in the trailer for my turn on set:

I can do this.


This is not some test or race or desperate attempt to impress.

This is just me. Talking about the dogs I’ve fostered and how if more people fostered dogs – we could save more dogs.

This is a message I know deep in my core. It’s why I wrote the book.

Now, if my nerves could just take a seat and stay out of the way, this should be easy.

Larissa is a really cool person. This is just a conversation with her. I need to forget the cameras and audience and talk with her.

I can do this.



Later that afternoon: Back in the hotel room.

My head is spinning and I really can’t tell you if it went well or not. It went fast.

Getting to the set this morning was more challenging than I anticipated.

It started out innocent enough. I booked an uber and he showed up very quickly. When I got in, he asked me where I was going and I told him. (I assumed he already knew this — but this was the first time I’d booked an uber, so we chatted for a moment about it).

He then proceeded to take me to Gate 3 at Universal, which wasn’t the gate where I was supposed to come in (that would have been Gate 4- the address I had used to book the uber).

The guard explained to us which gate I was supposed to enter through and how to get there and the driver acted as if that made no sense. I wasn’t going to get out of the car in the wrong place, so he asked, “You know where to go?”

I told him I did. So we set off again. I recited the guard’s directions as he drove. Silently, I noted my directions followed the route on the GPS on his dash set for my original destination.

Sigh. I thought uber was supposed to be the end all.

[side bar – I’ve noted that you can’t get anywhere quickly in this town – it took 2.5 hours from walking off the airplane to collapsing in my hotel bed last night- which was really this morning EST. So perhaps this uber driver was a transplant from the east coast who was just trying to take a short cut.]

At the correct gate, the guard said my uber wasn’t allowed in, so I got out and followed her directions on foot to the Home & Family set. It was kind of cool walking up Steven Spielberg lane past old western sets and occasionally being passed by trolleys full of tourists. They probably thought I was someone famous. But maybe not, as I was the only person walking in that entire backlot. Everyone else buzzed by me in a golf cart.

This morning a huge wind was blowing through LA. I was informed (repeatedly) that this isn’t the norm, but by the time I reached the set, my eye makeup had mostly teared off from the wind and my hair was doing its own thing. Luckily, the hair and makeup people had time to repair some of the damage.

I met Larissa, the journalist doing my story, and Susan the producer for my segment. We went through the ‘script’ so I knew how they were shaping the story. Then we headed to the set – which was really amazing.

The Home & Family set really is a home that looks like it’s plucked right out of a New England neighborhood (just like Wikipedia said). The trees in the backyard have fake fall leaves on them. There’s lots of crown molding and Pottery Barnish furniture.


I wish I had taken pictures, but once things started zooming along, there really wasn’t a moment for me to ask the thirty or so camera people, card holders, sound people, other guests (two cooks), hosts, and random people with clipboards and baseball hats (I think they may have been set designers since they did a lot of rearranging throw pillows), to move out of my way while I snapped a few pictures.

Plus, it felt weird to take their pictures (like that meant I didn’t belong there and do this all the time, which I don’t, so not sure why that matters, but we don’t always grow out of our old insecurities).

The show isn’t live, but it’s taped as if it is and goes from one place to the next at the same pace as the real show. Staying out of the way was an ever-present challenge the whole time. (can you find my book amongst the set garble?)


The only do-over I witnessed was when the sound didn’t work for the first attempt at facetiming with OPH foster, Stephanie (who was awesome, btw, as was Glynda, her foster dog). Otherwise, it was go-go-go, like pretty much everything else around here.

I tried very hard to breathe and push nerves aside, and I did that pretty well until one of the hosts, Cameron, asked a very general question that was completely off script – something like, “You’ve fostered 130 dogs, what’s that like?”

The answer to that question is pretty complicated, so I wrote a book about it. That’s the answer I should have given him, but instead, I stumbled around with a stupid answer and can’t even remember what came out of my mouth.

After that things moved on warp speed and I think it went better but I can’t say. I did relax a bit when they popped up a picture of Frankie on the screen. My wubba bubba always makes me feel better.

I walked back to the hotel from the set (it was only a mile or so) rather than chance another Uber (or Super Shuttle – which was MUCH worse). It was a beautiful day and kind of fun to be the only person walking all the way across the entire back lot of Universal.

Other than the fact that there weren’t many sidewalks, I enjoyed my walk. Might have been the best part of my day. I walked by lots and lots of special parking spots reserved for special people, but being a non-TV person who rarely goes to the movies and doesn’t retain the names of famous people anyway, it was lost on me.

Ya know, being on TV is very far removed from what I want to be doing in terms of writing and fostering,  but the deeper I get into dog rescue, the more willing I am to put myself out there if it will help. If me flying across the country, facing my travel anxieties, and stumbling through a few questions under lots of pressure and makeup will help save more dogs, than I’m happy to do it every day.


(But I’m glad I don’t have to do it every day.)

Really glad.

Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.



If you’d like to know more about me, my books, and where you might run into me, check out my website,

If you’d like to subscribe to my (sometimes) monthly e-newsletter, click here.

If you’re a dog lover, check out my other blog, Another Good Dog. And discover my latest release at

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram, and I’m thrilled to get email from readers (and writers), you can reach me at

My latest book, released Aug 2018 from Pegasus books:

Another Good Dog cover

Author: Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and dog rescuer. I live in the darling town of Woodstock, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley with my husband and three rescue dogs (who rescue me on a daily basis). Find more information about my books, my dogs, and all my writing adventures at

4 thoughts on “Cara Goes to Hollywood: The Adventure Continues…”

  1. You are a rock ⭐️!!! All we dog lovers and OPH ers owe you a huge hug of gratitude. And your pups too! Keep rocking! Blessings Victoria

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 2 people

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: