Over the past few months, I’ve been inspired by the variety of organizations that work to make life better for animals, from the nationals like ASPCA, Best Friends, HSUS, our Animal Humane Society in the Twin Cities, and each and every shelter and humane society in every city and town in this country. Without them, the lives of animals in our country would be as hopeless as they seem to be in many nations of the world, where being a tourist usually means having to see, day after day, stray, homeless animals with no hope because there is no longterm, organized assistance group in their country.
This spring, my daughter Dana, Gryphon’s Marketing Director, and I flew to Nashville to take part in HSUS’s Animal Care Expo. Because of a catastrophic flood that destroyed the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center, the site was moved to the local convention center downtown with no hitches. There were inspiring sessions about “how to” help homeless animals, work on cruelty issues, get rid of puppy mills, educate people about animal welfare. In our booth, we were able to talk to visitors to the meeting as well as other participants and compare notes. There’s a lot to be said for the chance to talk face to face.We were mightily impressed by the dedicated anti-cruelty investigators who inspect awful places every day and enforce change for the better. One such investigator takes along a Boxer dog he rescued when he goes to schools. This dog’s teeth were wrecked by crunching stones and gravel to fill his empty belly. He tells the kids that if a dog in such a sad state can be rehabilitated to health and strength, any dog can. We also appreciated talking to the humane educators who came to the conference looking for books like ours for their education programs. We left the convention heartened by the people we met and what we learned, recognizing how much there is to do for animals.