I have volunteered for local animal shelters for the past several years, and I find it very rewarding, albeit heartbreaking at times. You need a big (and stoic) heart to get involved in animal rescue. You’ll see lots of horrific things that make you sad and angry. But the positive impact you can have on an animal’s life is immeasurable. That’s what keeps me going. I feel we all have a purpose in life, and this is mine — to save as many animals as I can, and to advocate for them to protect them from cruelty and neglect. I talk about my feelings in depth (and uncensored) in my podcast “Wild About Rescue” – which is available on Anchor as well as Apple and Spotify.

And like many people who work in the animal care or rescue field, I tend to have more pets than the average person! I currently have four cats that rule this roost. I had a long coat German Shepherd for 13 and 1/2 yrs until I had to see her off to the Rainbow Bridge a little over a week ago. My menagerie also consists of a cali king snake, a leopard gecko, a 9 yr old bunny, a parakeet and fish. And that does not include my daughter’s reptile collection downstairs!

Thankfully my daughter shares my love of animals and I hope to see her continue my legacy in being the voice for the voiceless.

Legislative Advocacy

I like to use my voice – quite firmly and without hesitation – to speak out for animals. Whenever I see cruelty and neglect directed at animals, it really hits me at my core — and my reaction can be visceral at times. But I usually manage to focus my anger into action to advocate for necessary changes in society. I pay attention to what is happening at the local and federal level in regards to animal protection laws. And I vote accordingly. This is one of those “line in the sand” issues for me. Oftentimes, special interests and lots of dark money will work against animals. I like to think of myself as somewhat of a pirate – I’ll unfurl that Jolly Roger and sail into town with a sword in one hand and a musket in the other. OK, theoretical weapons but you get the idea. I’m a little rough around the edges, especially when it involves something I feel strongly about.

But I believe education is key and I always try to educate friends and family, as well as the general public, about things they can do to help animals. Many people, I find, are quite clueless about what is actually happening in the world – even in their own communities. When I tell them something that is going on, like a horrific hoarding case or criminal abuse case, they are stunned. So I find it necessary to shine a light on the things that society needs to know, and give members of society the tools they need to make change happen.

So if you love animals like I do, PAY ATTENTION. Do some research, read local and national news, follow animal welfare pages on social media. I will highlight some notable rescues and sanctuaries, as well as advocacy organizations, in the near future.

Together, we CAN make a difference in the life of animals — and we’ll all be much better for it.