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Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Owner of Milo’s Café dies at 42

Published: June 17, 2011  -  Updated: June 18, 2011 5:02 p.m.

By ERIKA I. RITCHIE  -  THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

LAKE FOREST – Scott Sellman, owner of Milo’s Café in Foothill Ranch, has died. He was 42.

According to friends and family, Sellman was in his office at the restaurant doing paperwork when at around 8 p.m. Thursday he said he felt short of breath and dizzy. He leaned back in his chair and collapsed, said Louis Teng, a friend and business adviser, recounting the story of another friend who was in the office with Sellman at the time.

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Scott Selllman loved animals and the friendship they helped spark among people who owned them. He died on Thursday at Milo’s Cafe, the restaurant he opened in March.  -  REPORTED BY ERIKA I. RITCHIE, PHOTO JOSHUA SUDOCK

The friend tried to help Sellman, and when paramedics arrived they administered CPR. Sellman was transported to Saddleback Memorial Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 9:08 p.m.

Otto Cedeno, Sellman’s bother-in-law said the coroner told them at noon Friday that it appeared as though Sellman had an enlarged heart and died from a heart attack.

Sellman opened Milo’s Café after a yearlong effort to find just the right spot. Initially, he tried to open up at a new center built at Muirlands Boulevard and Ridge Route Drive. Those efforts were stopped by nearby neighbors who complained to the Planning Commission about potential traffic, noise and liability issues that might result from the restaurant and its outdoor play area for dogs.

The Planning Commission ruled against the restaurant for a different issue, noting that the patio would have to be built too close to the intersection. Sellman appealed the ruling to the City Council, which sided with the Planning Commission.

Sellman eventually found the spot in Foothill Ranch when Fuddrucker’s left the shopping center on Rancho Parkway that houses 24 Hour Fitness and the Home Depot. Sellman worked 16-hour days for months to create the restaurant environment he wanted – a dog-friendly eatery where people could get healthy food. His dog Milo, a 2-year-old shar pei-bulldog mix, was the project’s mascot.

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Sellman replaced Fuddrucker’s red carpet with porcelain tile, installed a dog-bone shaped bar and a half dozen 50-inch flat screen TVs. Andy Warhol dog art hangs on the wall, mixed in with family photos and pictures of Sellman’s dogs, Milo and Jake, a pug.

The dogs were the inspiration for the restaurant, Selllman once said. He called the dogs the great ambassadors of friendships between people. Sellman embraced the pet community, holding weekly fundraisers with groups such as Barks of Love, Coastal German Shepherd Rescue, Orange County Bulldog Rescue, Desperate Paws and Friends of Lake Forest Animals.

When the tsunami hit Japan on March 11, Sellman put out a call for donations and gathered several thousand pounds of dog food for Desperate Paws of Orange County, a Newport Beach-based dog club that shipped the food to Japan.

"Scott Sellman was a remarkable man who dedicated his entire restaurant to dogs and to helping our needy dog community," Desperate Paws founders Stephen and Brandi Terry said on Friday. "His dedication to local rescue groups, the Blankets of Love Program, to our Paw It Forward Campaign as well as our pet relief effort for Japan helped benefit dogs and cats greatly. He will be missed and we send our heart felt condolences to his family."

Tiffany Norton, director of Coastal German Shepherd Rescue, said she enjoyed working with Sellman and found his love for rescue dogs to be contagious.

"I knew him as an unselfish, honorable man who deeply wanted to give back to the community," Norton said. "He will be greatly missed by all."

Wendy Rashall, who owns pet-grooming service Furry Best, remembered Sellman’s love for animals.

"There was such a look of pure joy on his face every single time he gazed at his beloved Milo or Jake," said Rashall, who oversees the dogs that play on the restaurant’s patio. "Wherever he is now, I know he is finding comfort and joy surrounded by four-legged creatures that adore him. "

Councilman Scott Voigts regularly visited Sellman at Milo’s Cafe.

"I’m in schock," Voigts said upon hearing the news on Friday. "Over the last few months Scott has become a true friend. He was a wonderful and caring human being. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and those of us that new him."

Sellman’s wife Grace will continue to run Milo’s Café, Cedeno said.

"He believed in his business and helping people," he said. "He believed in charities and wanted to make sure all pets had a home. His vision will continue."

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Contact the writer: 949-454-7307 or eritchie@ocregister.com

Reposted at Just One More Pet

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Gerber Baby Foods… You be the judge!  Gerber was once an totally American owned company and Milo’s was until recently an independently American Owned […]

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