Monday, June 20, 2011

There's a hero in all of us

I had the great pleasure of hearing Wayne Pacelle speak Friday night at one of my favorite bookstores, Capitola Book Cafe. Wayne is the president of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), one of a handful of organizations confronting animal cruelty on a large scale, nationwide and beyond. I wasn’t surprised at Wayne’s passion and dedication – I knew he was a champion for animals– but I didn’t know he was once just a boy who was crazy about animals. I didn’t know he was funny or that he was humble and easy to talk to. I didn’t know he wasn’t so different than you and me.

Friday night’s gathering was a book signing. Wayne Pacelle, in a book that’s beautiful cover features a tender exchange between a grateful child and a knowing dog, emphasizes the deep relationship human beings have with animals today and the surprising level of animal cruelty that still exists despite ours and their capacity to love. I’m just about to crack the cover of my signed copy of “The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them” and I’m sure I will be inspired all the more in my own quest to make a better world for animals. Wayne read a passage from a chapter devoted to the rescue of Hurricane Katrina animals and I immediately knew I would enjoy the writing style of this compassionate personality.

As Wayne Pacelle talked during the evening, I felt many feelings I’ve had about animals, animal rescue and animal cruelty validated. I also felt hope and pride. The choices I’ve made in my life reflect my values and being true to myself is the air that I breathe, it’s the life I lead, and I don’t do it selfishly. As God is my witness, I will make a difference for animals. There's a hero in all of us.

The local Santa Cruz SPCA received a grant in the amount of $5000 from Wayne Pacelle on Friday night. Lisa Carter, the SPCA's executive director and top animal welfare lobbyist, beamed alongside Wayne and also Jennifer Fearing, the HSUS's California Senior State Director. If you'd like to help animals locally, you can donate time, donate online or send a check to:

Santa Cruz SPCA
PO Box 3800
Santa Cruz, CA 95063

Monday, June 6, 2011

Animal Love

Looking back on days gone by – many days gone by – I remember a 2nd grader, a little girl, a member of the local Brownie troop. She was filled with anticipation and excitement, for she and the other little Brownies were off to visit the local animal shelter! And on that day, circa 1968, as she peered through the wire cages at the sweet furry faces within, something inside her was awakened.

What became of those pets, she wonders now; did they get adopted? Were they loved and cared for by someone?

Today, with the hard reality of shelters bursting at the seams with the same sweet furry faces who have no place to call home, and society’s failure to protect the majority from certain death, she weeps.

Hope is somewhere around the bend, for the army of animal lovers-turned-defenders grows by the day. This mere fact alone brings comfort; she is not alone.

On this day, however, she longs for that once-upon-a-time, for that untainted bliss of pure child-like animal love.

There is a no-kill movement on the rise. Its motivation is to stop the needless killing of shelter pets due to overpopulation. How can this be done? Well, like with any other societal overhaul, not without red tape, money and controversy. Read more on the no-kill topic at any of the following websites. Perhaps there is something you’d like to do:

No Kill Advocacy Center

Best Friends Animal Society

No Kill Now

Did you know that Santa Cruz SPCA is a no-kill animal shelter and that Santa Cruz’s Animal Shelter Relief Rescue saves and fosters animals from overcrowded shelters? Project Purr is all about saving the lives of our community’s cats and The Rabbit Haven rescues and fosters rabbits in our area. These non-profit agencies are some of our very own “crusaders,” and this little awakened Brownie understands the pledge they’re committed to, and she salutes them!