On September 26th, 2017 I got to shake Jane Goodall's hand and thank her for her work. The event was a benefit dinner for Save the Chimps a non-profit organization dedicated to providing permanent sanctuary for the lifelong care of chimpanzees rescued from research laboratories, the entertainment industry, and the pet trade. Established in 1997, the org provides care for more than 248 chimpanzees and is located in Fort Pierce, Florida. It is my hope to visit one day.
Temple Grandin is another one of my heroes. Her work to shift the way we think about animals, specifically those creatures commonly found in the USA's agricultural industry, is revolutionary. Listen to this talk I found on Ted.com
On Monday of last week I visited PAWS at 2900 Grays Ferry Avenue, Philadelphia, where I met Carol Siegrist of Dog Training in the City and Rachel Cohen. Rachel is the designer of the program Hand2paw which links up homeless youth with homeless animals.
In this program, “Residents from a local crisis center for teens ages 18-22 volunteer at a local animal shelter. Youth from the shelter apply to the program and must LOVE animals in order to participate. These volunteer experiences are positive for the youth, and the biweekly volunteer sessions add to the stable environment at the crisis center. The animals at PAWS receive extra attention, care, training, and grooming. As a result, the animals are more clean and calm, and thus more adoptable.”
As soon as the teens arrived, the action began. Those that enjoyed cats went to help socialize the felines and those that expressed an interest in the dogs walked, and with the help of Carol Siegrist, learned how to train the canines.
Having recently worked with Carol in her Reactive Dog Workshop with my own dog, Dooey, I was once again amazed at how quickly all dogs respond and want to learn. Each dog that Carol and the teens worked with responded positively to training.
The bond that seemed to form instantaneously between these visiting teens and the dogs was inspiring as well. No words were necessary, the positive, loving, healing energy was palpable.
I left that evening feeling very hopeful and glad to have made the effort to attend the session. Maybe, it is in these shared moments that we begin to understand how to find peace.
*If you wish to volunteer or be involved with Hand2Paw, submit your information via this form.