A man in Warriors fan clothing stands in front of a house painted blue and gold.
Lloyd Canamore, owner of the famous Warriors House in West Oakland, stood on the front steps with a picture of him and his mother on July 20, 2020. After her passing, Lloyd took refuge in his love for the Golden State Warriors and the dogs he lived with. Credit: Pete Rosos

Lloyd Canamore, the longtime West Oakland resident known for his Warriors-themed house, died in August at age 61. Now, Oakland Animal Services is urgently trying to find a new home for his two beloved pets, dogs Baby and Rambo.

Canamore had an abiding love for his many canine companions. They’d jump into his arms, obey his—and only his—commands, and hang out the windows of the 35th Street house that had been in Canamore’s family for over 50 years. 

That home became known as the Warrior’s House in 2016 when a friend helped Canamore paint it blue and gold. They decorated it with team flags, newspaper clippings, and photos of the Dubs. Canamore sold hot dogs at Warrior’s games as a teenager and was a lifelong superfan. He and his brothers were stellar youth athletes in their own right, playing basketball for McClymonds High School.

Countless Warriors games were watched in the Canamore home, progressing from a tiny, black-and-white TV decades ago to more modern equipment, said his niece, Victoria Canamore. Some years back, rapper Bizzle filmed a music video at the Warrior’s House for his song about the team. It starred Steph Curry—and to Canamore’s delight, he and his mother Clemmie were given cameos.

“He loved music,” said Victoria about her uncle. “He just had a joy of life. He wanted to hang out, he wanted the barbecue, he wanted the party. He was free-spirited.”

Any time someone would drive by the Warrior’s House and honk in support, “he’d be so pumped,” remembered Ali Roth, Canamore’s friend who used to live on his block.

“He’s the neighborhood ambassador,” she said. “Everyone knows him, he knows everyone.”

Financial troubles and the loss of his home

warriors house
Rambo jumped into Canamore’s arms when The Oaklandside visited Canamore and his dogs at their new home in North Oakland earlier this year. Credit: Natalie Orenstein

In the last few years, Canamore faced the loss of the beloved family house and underwent a period of hardship and uncertainty. After his mother Clemmie, who lived with Canamore in the Warrior’s House, died in 2019, he found out that she’d taken out a reverse mortgage on the property. 

A reverse mortgage allows a property owner to borrow against their own home equity, but when they sell, move, or die, they or their heirs owe the loan amount. Canamore, who lived off small disability payments, could not afford the unfathomable $350,000 bill.

“It’s just been really heavy,” said Roth. Clemmie was the latest in a string of close family members, including siblings and a child, Canamore had lost.

“It would be hard for anyone to take, but for someone who doesn’t have solid access to resources or a support system, it’s really taken its toll,” said Roth, describing Canamore as a “very emotional, feeling person,” who struggled with the upheaval. 

Roth started a fundraiser that brought in a lot of support for Canamore, and with foreclosure looming, the Oakland Community Land Trust attempted to buy the house before it went to auction, planning to fix it up for Canamore and keep it as affordable housing for years to come. The organization was still raising funds for that effort in August. In the meantime, Roth and supporters helped Canamore secure a rental in North Oakland, so he wouldn’t end up on the streets if the house was foreclosed on. He moved in February.

The Oaklandside visited Canamore at his rental home this spring. He showed off shelves of family photos, news coverage of the Warrior’s House, trophies, and bobbleheads. Canamore said the amenities in the house felt luxurious but didn’t override the crushing loneliness of living away from his West Oakland community.

Victoria was close with Canamore, visiting him every other day. The two were some of the only relatives each other had left. Victoria’s father Victor had been a mentor to the younger Canamore, who would go everywhere with him.

“Whatever he had going, he had his little brother,” Victoria said. “A lot of the stuff Lloyd learned, he learned from my father. He learned the streets of East Oakland because of my dad. He taught him how to detail cars.” With their other brother Calvin, they were “like a tag-team of boys.”

When Canamore was grieving Victor’s death in 2016 a friend offered to Warriors-ify the house to cheer him up.

A real estate listing recently went up for the Warrior’s House. “It’s true,” it reads. “The eye-catching iconic Warriors House in West Oakland is up for sale.” Roth said the ad was posted the same day she learned about Canamore’s death, and it felt like another of many “blows.” 

Dogs up for adoption

Canamore called himself “Dr. Doolittle” because dogs were drawn to him. Credit: Pete Rosos

Oakland Animal Services took custody of Canamore’s dogs Rambo and Baby on Aug. 31, and the shelter is seeking a new owner for the pets.

Rambo, a 50-pound male, is about 10 years old, and Baby, a 62-pound female, is around 6. They’ve been having a tough time adjusting to the stressful shelter environment after the loss of their owner, said Ann Dunn, executive director of OAS.

“They were the center of his universe, they were with him all the time,” she said. 

Dunn said the shelter is looking for a household that can take both of the dogs and “appreciate what they’ve been through,” treating them with patience. They’re used to having a backyard to run around and need a “simple routine” she said.

The dogs were distraught after Canamore’s death, said Victoria.

“To see their owner pass away in front of them, that’s a lot for a dog,” she said.

She wishes she could adopt them, but lives in a small apartment with another dog and doesn’t have space. Whenever Canamore’s dog had a litter, he’d ask Victoria’s daughter and another young family member which they liked best, and that’s the one he’d keep, so the children could visit them.

“He will be missed,” Victoria said.

A memorial service is planned for October. We will update this story when details are available.

Natalie Orenstein covers housing and homelessness for The Oaklandside. She was previously on staff at Berkeleyside, where her extensive reporting on the legacy of school desegregation received recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists NorCal and the Education Writers Association. Natalie’s reporting has also appeared in The J Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere, and she’s written about public policy for a number of research institutes and think tanks. Natalie lives in Oakland, grew up in Berkeley, and has only left her beloved East Bay once, to attend Pomona College.