Former Assemblyman Cameron Smyth Discusses 'Lucky Dog,' Private Sector Life
A member of Santa Clarita City Council, assemblyman for the state Legislature and now, reality TV star.
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All this while his family continues to grow.
Cameron Smyth, 42, of Valencia, who was an avid supporter of animals during his time in the Legislature, earning Legislator of the Year from the Humanitarian Society in 2009, is adopting Willie, a 14-month-old Tibetan terrier, into his home for the CBS show “Lucky Dog.”
“We never gave any thought other than we would adopt an animal, when the time came, when (our children) were old enough,” Smyth said, adding that he was, at first, a bit apprehensive about letting cameras into the family home.
“Admittedly, I was a little more hesitant initially,” said Smyth, a Santa Clarita Valley native who adopted his first dog after someone dumped it in a trash can in front of his childhood home.
“Once we did our research about the show and the purpose of the show -- to promote pet adoption -- I thought it was a great thing to do as a family.”
Smyth lives in Newhall with his wife and three children, ages 9, 7 and 3.
The show is featured around animal trainer Brandon McMillan, who “swoops into shelters across the U.S., rescuing hard-to-love, out-of control and unadoptable dogs and then, at his Lucky Dog Ranch, takes on the seemingly impossible task of turning the frightened pooches into perfect pets,” according to a summary on the CBS website.
The trainers interview the family and then, after working with the dog, select one that matches the dog’s personality with the lifestyle of the adopters, whether it’s suburban, urban or rural, small children, etc., Smyth said.
The show was filmed in four sessions over a period of a couple months, he said.
In addition to promoting animal adoption, Smyth and his wife, Lena, used some leftover campaign money to begin the nonprofit Time 2 Play.
The organization works with other nonprofits and takes donations to bring sports equipment and fitness education to impoverished children in third world countries.
Smyth also is still working as vice president of state affairs for Molina Healthcare, a national organization that operates in 12 states.
Smyth monitors legislation and works with the Fortune 500 company’s other executives to develop their business plan.
He’s also a fellow at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, where he enjoys the opportunity to work with college students.
“It’s been great,” Smyth said, “getting a chance to interact with students, and hear their plans on how they want to affect public policy.”
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