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Presidential Fireside Chat #12

Thank you so much for joining our 12th Fireside Chat. When we started this a few months ago, we felt it was so important to bring America’s leading animal advocates and supporters together on a regular basis to discuss how we can help the most vulnerable among us in times of crisis, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Today, we have two special guests with us. The first is dedicated to protecting animals across the country, and the second has been dedicated to protecting our country itself. I want to welcome someone who I’ve known for years, and I feel really represents the heart and soul of what American Humane has been about for over 143 years.

My good friend, Amber Batteiger, is here with us today. Amber has worked with the American Humane Rescue team for nearly five years as a disaster and cruelty response and outreach specialist. She’s been part of a program that has helped save, shelter, care for and feed millions of animals in the worst natural catastrophes and most heart-rending situations you can ever imagine. Yet through it all, Amber has stayed so positive, determined to continue doing more for more animals than any other program of its kind in this country.

Amber is a vet tech. She has extensive experience in animal sheltering and is certified in animal crime scene forensics, water rescue, small and large animal technical rescue, and small and large animal emergency first aid. On top of all that, she’s an experienced equine handler and has four rescue dogs of her own. In fact, she was the one that inspired so many across our country to adopt a pandemic pet at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. Amber, welcome to our Fireside Chat.

Amber Batteiger
Thank you so much, Robin. It is such an honor to be here. I appreciate your introduction.

Robin Ganzert
You are a superstar in the rescue space and we are so honored that you are spending your time and talent making such a difference for the lives of so many animals through the American Humane platform. You are really one of the humane heroes at American Humane. We’re so proud to know you and I’m so proud of all the incredible work you’ve done, boots on the ground, to save animals. Friends, if you’ve seen any of our rescue photos over the years, you’ve seen Amber in action. Amber, you have you been involved in some dramatic and amazing rescues. One of the most dramatic things you’ve done is to go into the scene of massive natural disasters where you have saved lost, frightened and hungry animals left behind in the rubble, and often in the flood waters.

One of the most challenging situations Amber and our team had to deal with happened in September, 2019 when the most powerful hurricane ever to strike the Bahamas, swept through the island chain with winds of over 185 miles per hour. Hurricane Dorian splintered homes, buildings, boats, trees, and sadly, the lives of people and animals. On Great Abaco Island, Hurricane Dorian destroyed or swept almost everything in its path out to sea. All told, IHurricane Dorian left more than 70,000 people and tens of thousands of animals homeless, and caused more than $7 billion in damage. Afterwards, the pictures of Great Abaco Island looked more like a nuclear bomb site than a tropical island paradise, but Amber and her team went in first to serve. Amber, can you share a little with us about what it was like arriving on the scene in the Bahamas and what your first objectives were?

Amber
Yes, absolutely. Like you said, Robin, we’ve seen the photos, we’ve seen the news footage, but nothing can really prepare you for what we actually saw when we got on the ground there. The rescue team has seen our share of devastation. We’ve been to countless natural disasters, but I have to say this was the worst we’ve ever seen. My first experience flying in over Abaco Island was just….I just couldn’t even comprehend the devastation. Once we landed and got on the ground it was very… I use the word apocalyptic a lot when I describe the scene there, because there’s really no other word to describe that it was eerily quiet, it was pretty empty. Just complete decimation as far as the eye could see. It was honestly astounding that anything could survive a storm like this. I mean, nothing was standing, but the animals of the Bahamas are resilient. All animals are resilient, but these animals are especially strong and brave and resilient.

Our first objectives there were to set up a temporary shelter. There weren’t really any buildings standing, so we needed an area where we could house these animals temporarily. After we set that up, we put in some pretty extensive search and rescue efforts. Our team searched around the clock through all of the rubble and debris to bring animals back to the temporary shelter, to provide them with medical care, food, and water. Many of them had gone quite some time without food or water. A lot of them had injuries from debris and a multitude of issues. We searched through the rubble. We would bring them back to our shelter. We would stabilize them, get them healthy and ready to go, and then we would transport them via small plane over to the island of Nassau where they could be eventually reunited, hopefully, with their families or eventually put up for adoption.

Our first initiative there was to just get any needy animal that needed emergency care over to our facility so they were no longer struggling out there amidst the debris and the rubble. We also set up feeding stations for about 300 community animals throughout Abaco. We would pinpoint specific areas where a lot of community animals lived and we would set up feeding stations that were restocked several times per day to make sure no animal on the island was hungry. We also set up distribution areas for community members so they could come get pet food and supplies. One of the really rewarding things was forming bonds with a lot of the community members. It was rewarding to play a small role in their healing process as they have dealt with so much. Just to be able to provide a little bit of relief was really, really astounding for the rescue team. We were pretty honored to play that role.

Robin
Amber, I just wanted to ask you, I remember when you first got boots on the ground there, you and your colleagues from American Humane Rescue. You were there and you sent me a photo of where you were staying. I think it’s really important for our supporters of this work to understand what kind of conditions you were in. Where did you house yourself and your colleagues? I’d love for you to describe that visual to our listeners today. It was stunning to me and shocking.

Amber
We were there a little over three weeks and we stayed in a house that had been pretty much… it was still standing, it still had walls, but there was a lot of infrastructure damage. There were parts of the house where you could see the sky. Obviously, there was no running water, no electricity, minimal food. But the house itself was very damaged. There was insulation falling down, there was debris everywhere, lots of dust. I had to wear a mask for a few days because the insulation was just really affecting me. My colleague, Josh, actually slept in a hammock outside on the balcony area there. It was definitely like camping but rougher. We were grateful to the owner of the home for letting us stay there, but it was definitely very rough living conditions there.

Robin
I remember the photo showing that there was no roof where you were sleeping. But you really did put yourself in harm’s way to help the animals of the Bahamas. I remember one story, and I think this story was picked up by news stations around our country, about a dog named Hope, that really stuck with me. Can you tell us about Hope, that precious dog?

Amber
Sure. Hope was found lying on an old mattress in front of where her home once stood. It’s just this stunning picture of this poor dog laying on a mattress and behind her is a completely flattened home. Honestly, we weren’t even sure if she was alive when she was found. She was very elderly, dehydrated, and hadn’t eaten in a while. We scooped her up and brought her back to our shelter and provided her with fluids, and veterinary care, some food and some water. Hope averted eye contact a lot. We originally had brought her in and she was very nervous and didn’t trust us very much.

It took a while, but one of the most profound moments of my time there was when I had taken her out for a walk and I sat there with her and she just looked at me. I began to pet her and she took a step toward me and put her head in my hands and just looked at me. Her eyes had completely changed and she knew she was safe and that we were there to love her, and after that she was a different dog. That was a really emotional moment for me to see a change in a dog like that who had experienced so much. That really wrapped up the whole experience and made it all so worthwhile.

Robin
I keep a photo of Hope on my desk here and every day when I’m in the office, I see Hope and see that dog and her eyes, and it reminds me of the importance of our rescue mission. Of course, Amber, you and I know, and many of our listeners know, that American Humane is our country’s very first animal rescue group founded on the battlefields of World War I, where we were deployed by the U.S. Secretary of War to rescue and care for cavalry horses in trench warfare. Our colleagues who founded this program over 100 years ago understood the kinds of conditions that our first responders face every day. I’m so proud of your work in the Bahamas and that of your colleagues. I know you saved Hope’s life, and so many other animals.

There is a really impactful photo book of Amber and her colleagues’ work in the Bahamas. If you want to see these photos, email me and we will make sure to get a copy of this photo book to you. Amber, I’m so glad you were there taking care of and rescuing Hope and so many other animals whose lives you touched. That story is repeated each and every year, hundreds of times. I believe we deployed to the Bahamas, not once, but twice, following Hurricane Dorian. Amber, can you tell us some more about Mission II in the Bahamas and what we did in terms of the work after the initial rescues?

Amber
Yes, absolutely. Once we returned stateside, we continued supporting our relief efforts. We still had a lot of partners on Abaco that we formed relationships with while we were there. We coordinated around the clock with those partners to continue to support our feeding stations and supply the community with pet food and supplies. We also continued to support ongoing veterinary efforts there. We had a relationship with a Bahamian veterinarian and we continued to support him to help the community by continuing to provide veterinary care for the animals of Abaco. We also provided a grant to the Abaco Shelter, which is the only animal shelter on the island, and it’s completely volunteer-based. That shelter was completely flattened by the storm and we provided them with a grant to help rebuild their infrastructure. They’re continuing that rebuilding process, they are doing a great job, and they really hope to continue to support their efforts there in sheltering. It was great that American Humane was able to help with that role, as well.

Robin
That’s wonderful. I know the partnership with the local veterinarian was extremely rewarding for everyone. I understand from the stories that he himself had lost personal family members and his practice was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian. His heart was just so huge and he went out to help provide medical care in times of need, despite his own personal tragedy and loss. He is a humane hero as well. We certainly salute him today for his efforts.

Amber, you and I, we talk about this all the time. The forecasters at NOAA have predicted a busier than usual storm season with between 13 to 19 named storms, of which up to 10 could become hurricanes, with possibly six of those being major ones. For comparison, it’s usually six becoming hurricanes, three major ones, so we are looking at a double trouble season for sure for this storm season. The conditions are right for trouble and it makes us all in the animal first response world very, very nervous about the unpredictability of the current storm season. Amber, I know you’re an expert in helping people prepare for storms. Can you give us some tips on what we should do and what we shouldn’t do?

Amber
The very first thing is obviously to prepare beforehand. As we know, things get very chaotic during storms and before storms, and a lot of resources may be sold out and not be readily available. You just want to have a plan in place before you have to actually act out that plan. First and foremost, always take your pet with you if you need to evacuate. Never leave your pet behind. Pets are family, so if the family has to evacuate, take the whole family with you, including your pets. It’s also extremely important to have your pet microchipped and that information’s up to date. We can’t say that enough. One of the first things we do when we find a pet is to scan him or her for a microchip. It’s very important to have a collar with an ID on it, but those can fall off or become removed, so the microchip really is the most important thing. But obviously, keep the collar with the tag up to date, as well, so you have two ways to be reunited with your pet.

It’s very important to plan in advance a safe place you can go if you do need to evacuate or seek shelter. Speak with your family or friends beforehand, make sure there could be a boarding facility that would accommodate your pets, and also map out pet-friendly hotels. Plan your routes in advance and make sure you have multiple routes in case one is closed or you’re diverted in a different direction. Just make sure that evacuation is solid before a disaster strikes so you’re not having to Google Map where you can take your pet during a Category 5 storm.

Another really important thing is having a pet go-kit or disaster kit. That includes a pet first aid kit. We would recommend pet food for seven to 10 days, any medications your pet may take, any pertinent vet records, toys or bowls. A photo of your pet is important in case you need to prove proof of ownership, and a pet carrier. We also like to stress to make sure your pet is comfortable on the carrier, so practice, when it’s not a time of disaster, taking your pet in and out of the carrier, proper loading procedures, and making sure that’s not another stressful thing that you need to deal with during a disaster. If you have to stay during a storm, make sure you’re choosing a safe room for riding out the storm, an interior room without windows. Make sure you, again, take your entire family, including your pets, and take your go-kit for your pet with you. Make sure all exits and doors are closed. We’re especially worried about cats since they’re so good at escaping through any avenue. Just make sure every little nook and cranny is secured and make sure you’re aware of your pet’s hiding places in case you do need to evacuate quickly. Another thing we like to keep in mind is that hurricanes and any natural disaster are extremely stressful for our pets, so their behavior may change during or after. They may not act like your normal pets, they may become defensive or aggressive. Just be patient with them, be sensitive to those changes, give them comfort and love and a quiet environment and just be flexible with them. This is a stressful time for everyone.

Robin
These tips are important. I feel safer already. It reminds me of a few things I need to do to button up for the storm season. Storm season, particularly for those in the paths of possible evacuations, is even more challenging this year because of COVID and the pandemic. Please do stay abreast of your local disaster response resources, your community’s resources, and make sure that we’re all prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and be sure to take our pets with us with our disaster prep safety kits. Those will help keep our families together in challenging times.

These tips do save lives and they’re available on our website, www.americanhumane.org. Amber. I’m so proud to know you, so proud to work with you. Thank you so much for helping us all be better prepared and for giving us an insider’s look at the lifesaving work American Humane does  and has done for more than 100 years. I’m so grateful for you. You’re one of our humane heroes, and I’m grateful for all the animals that you help. You’re just a blessing to us all. Thank you, Amber.

Amber
Thank you.

Robin
As I promised, our 12th fireside chat has a very special second guest who served our country. I’d like to turn the subject to another program that American Humane has been proudly involved with for more than 100 years, protecting those who protect our country by helping our active military veterans and military animals. One of those programs is called Pups4PatriotsTM, which  identifies animals in need of forever loving homes, and trains and pairs them with veterans coping with these invisible wounds of war.

To talk about the impact this program has, I’ve invited one of our veteran graduates to tell us about his service dog. Kris is a U.S. Air Force veteran who served our country as a senior airman, and through the Pups4Patriots program was paired with Andi, a female lab-mastiff mix. Kris, welcome to our Fireside Chat. I wonder if you would be able to share with us a little bit about how you came to get Andi and what kind of things she does to help.

Kris
Absolutely. First I’d like to thank you, Robin, and the American Humane Pups4Patriots program. I honestly can say, I’m not sure if I would have even survived COVID without her. She has been an absolute godsend. For that, I thank you so very much. I was injured in Saudi Arabia in ’97. I hit my head and was misdiagnosed. I had a brain bleed. I developed epilepsy and migraines, so they medically retired me due to a traumatic brain injury. I suffer from major migraines and depression and anxiety. Andi will notify me….she’ll whine and bring me down to her level and she’ll lick the back of my head, which, crazily enough, is exactly where the brain damage is. She’ll lick that part to let me know, “Hey, something’s going on. You need to get your migraine medication or get a shot.” I have sumatriptan injections that I give myself when she does this. Honestly, I’m not sure if I would have made it through this COVID thing without her.

Robin
Just you saying that just makes me teary-eyed, Kris. It just gives me goosebumps to think about how timely it was that Andi came into your life. None of us could have ever predicted COVID-19 and we know it was hard to adjust. Every day, even pre-COVID, was challenging, I’m sure, with the traumatic brain injury. Especially interesting that Andi knows where to lick. Fascinating, the power of dogs. But I know this enforced isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, it affects me, it affects everyone, it must be hard. Tell me how you and Andy are coping with these extraordinary and challenging times. I’d love to know what specifically Andi’s doing for you every day.

Kris
Well, I’m a single guy, so I’m home a lot. But I don’t cook at home a lot because it’s just me. Pre-COVID, she and I were constantly at restaurants, out and about. When COVID hit, that just stopped and she could tell something was wrong. We’ve been eating at home more often. I know that’s a big change for her. We do take random rides around in the car. She absolutely loves that part of it. You can always tell that concern, though: “Well, we went somewhere, but we didn’t go anywhere.” But we get home and she understands that veterans have a really difficult time sitting at home alone. Through this time, there’s so many veterans out there that are struggling. What she does is, she’ll understand that I’m struggling and she’ll bring me her toy, she’ll bring me her tennis ball, she’ll whine, she’ll pull at the back door, “Come on, let’s go, let’s go out back. Let’s go play.”

She keeps me up. When she understands that I’m feeling down, she immediately jumps and she’s like, “Nope, we’re not doing this. We’re getting outside. Let’s play ball, let’s get busy.” I have taken up golfing a lot more during COVID. It’s great to be out in the open air, and she is the best caddy anybody could ever ask for. It doesn’t matter how bad of a shot I hit. When I get back to that cart, I know I’m going to get licks and love. She doesn’t care. She just loves to be out there, she loves meeting new people. She’s just amazing, absolutely amazing. The heart that she has, the drive that she has, the care for me is just… you can’t find that. The Pups4Patriots program, what you all are doing, is just absolutely amazing and life-changing for vets like myself. I appreciate everything that you guys do, Robin.

Robin
Kris, thank you. We do it because, quite frankly, you’re a hero. You’ve served our country with honor, courage, bravery and the least we can do is to honor you by offering that unconditional love at the other end of the leash. What I love about this magical program that is Pups4Patriots is, we have an incredible opportunity to honor your service. We also have a unique opportunity to save an animal’s life by rescuing them from shelters where these animals may be euthanized. I think this is such a tremendous win-win. I’m so glad that Andi found you and you have Andi in these times. Now, I have to ask: So she’s a caddy, huh? Has she given you some advice on which club to use?

Kris
Actually, a lot of people are asking me, “Why don’t you train her to go get golf balls in the woods and so forth?” I’m like, “No, I’m not teaching her that because then she’ll be taking my balls into the woods all the time. When I hit those balls in the woods, I’d rather they just stay there. I don’t want to hit them again.

Robin
I don’t blame you. That’s an unlucky ball, so it needs to stay out in the woods. Oh, because you sound so wonderful, Kris, and I’m so glad that Andi has made such a difference in your life in this challenging time.

Kris, I’m proud to tell you that yesterday we had another class graduate. In North Carolina, we’ve had another successful class of veterans paired with service dogs and I know that you’ll be very proud to know that that was a grand success. I’m sure we’re going to be hearing from several of them in the weeks and months ahead about the differences their new service dogs make in their lives.

Kris, I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for our country. I also want to give thanks for trained service dogs like Andi, who do so much to serve our brave veterans. Thank you both.

Kris
Thank you again, Robin, for everything.

Robin
Oh, absolutely.

Friends, I’m going to give you an advance sneak peek of a new initiative. I know many of us are now trying to be outdoors, walking, getting exercise, running, trying to stay healthy. We thought there was no better time to launch our inaugural Pups4Patriots 5K. This is an opportunity to show your support, to create virtual teams of your friends and family members to walk or run and to raise funds to help support a qualified service dog for a veteran in need. The virtual run is going to take place from August 31st to September 7th, over the Labor Day week, to help fund American Humane’s lifesaving Pups4Patriots program.

You can complete the 5K at your own pace any time during that week. Registration is absolutely free. The first 100 people to sign up are going to receive an American Humane leash. There are also going to be lots of other goodies as you and your teams raise money for Pups4Patriots. Again, it’s runners, it’s walkers, it’s all virtual, so you can do it in your own community, your own hometown, your own street, your own running track, wherever you can get out enjoy fresh air as we wrap up summer. You can do that and raise money for this very important cause. I hope you’ll join forces with American Humane as we are committed to putting more healing leashes into the hands of veterans in need. You can help us and get a much-needed break outdoors as well. Look out for an email announcing more details about our Pups4Patriots 5K.

There are some other ways that you can help us, too. We are making a big difference during this pandemic through our Feed the Hungry program, led by our national spokesperson, Jean Shafiroff. Special thanks to Jean. Her remarkable efforts have allowed us to feed well over a half million animals in this pandemic through emergency grants to help support rescues and shelter groups around our country. Very special thanks to Jean in her efforts to Feed the Hungry.

We are still looking at many more communities being impacted by the pandemic. If you can help and make a donation, we’d be so grateful. Just visit www.AmericanHumane.org.

Our campaigns, our newsletters, our new annual impact report are all on our website and they could help recruit new support to our cause, which is more important now than ever before. Please do utilize those resources at www.americanhumane.org. Now I’d like to open it up to questions for our listeners today.

Barbara Niven
Hi, Robin. Thanks again for such an inspirational, fabulous, fabulous experience during this COVID time that we’re all going through. We’re just hungry for this kind of good news that you and American Humane provide.

Robin
Thank you, Barbara. We love you, and we hope you’re safe in Los Angeles. My prayers for you in another epicenter.

Barbara
It is another epicenter and we’re going backwards again. But as your hero, Kris, was talking about with Andi, it helps so much to have our pets around us. I’ve got three dogs here and two cats and they don’t let me sink too low, either. We’re so fortunate and I want to give a shout-out and a thank-you to the two heroes who you have on your show today. Kris, thank you for your service and for sharing what Andi has done for you. Hopefully, it will inspire others to help donate so that we can make more of these Pups4Patriots dogs available. Then I have one more remark too. Amber, I don’t know if you remember me.

Amber
Of course I do. How could I not?

Barbara
I was so honored to be able to go on my one and only deployment for American Humane, where we were able to go in and help rescue puppy mill dogs. I think there were about 250 dogs. I didn’t know much what I was doing so I was just helping the best I can, but I was able to observe Amber and your team. Every single dog that came through got such incredible care, such incredible care, but not only just veterinary care. Amber, I watched you. Every single dog that you touched, you took that time to get the emotional connection and start rebuilding that dog’s spirit, as well. When I think of heroes, you’re just at the top of my list, and you’ve inspired me so much. I just want to say, thank you for what you do. I hope to get to go on another deployment with you one of these days.

Amber
You’re getting me choked up. Thank you so much, Barbara. You are an incredible member of the team and a wonderful asset and we can’t say enough about you. Thank you for all that you do.

Robin
She’s so wonderful.

Barbara
Yes. Carrying a dog out of those floodwaters, I’ve seen those pictures. I’ve seen those. I saw the book. Literally going in with whitewater rushing by, and Amber is very slight. She is going in there and she’s carrying out dogs that look like they’re twice her size. I don’t know how you do it, but you do it when you’re a hero. You just do what you need to do and then you can cry later or whatever. But American Humane does what they need to do, and they’re the first responders to every disaster. I’m just so proud of you guys.

Amber
Oh, Barbara, thank you so much. Please stay safe and be healthy and stay well. We look forward to seeing you at our Hero Dog Awards. A big hug to you.

Barbara
I’m going to put a team on, a virtual team. What a great idea for the 5K. I’m going to do that. Yay. I’m going to sign up right after this, so thanks. Great idea.

Robin
I love it. Thank you, Barbara. Operator, I think we have another question today.

Lori Wells
Hey, it’s Lori Wells and Piglet actually.

Robin
Oh yes, Piglet. How’s Piglet doing? We love Piglet.

Lori
He is fabulous. I just wanted to check in, I love listening to your Fireside Chats. I just wanted to let you know that we’re alive and well in Los Angeles.

Robin
Thank goodness, Lori. Scary times. Every day we wake up to just the worst of the worst news, and it’s really hard to get that spirit of positivity going. I want you to know, Lori, what makes me so happy every morning is to get up and to think about the hero dogs. We’re just in the middle of this campaign, the voting has been remarkably strong and robust, and Hallmark is thrilled to put it on air. It will be different this year because we’ll be filming with socially distancing, of course, but it’s going to be an opportunity for all of us to gather around the television with our families and friends in October to watch some amazing stories. Piglet’s story is amazing. Lori, will you give us an overview of Piglet and her story for those folks who are trying to remember Piglet?

Lori
Well, little Piglet won… she’s the current title holder for search and rescue for the 2019 Hero Dog Awards. She is specifically a human remains detection dog. She spent some time up with the Paradise fires last year in California. We actually just recently spent three days on Lake Piru, I don’t know if you heard about the actress from Glee that drowned. We were out there getting answers.

Robin
Piglet brings closure to so many families in their worst times. Piglet is a true hero dog with remarkable talent and training.  Lori, credit also goes to you and thank you for what you’re doing, because these have been very hard days in Los Angeles for the family and friends of the beautiful Glee actress who lost her life on the lake.

Lori
Yes, it’s been emotional. The family and friends were actually able to love up on Piglet a little bit, so that was wonderful. That always helps. They were very appreciative of all the efforts. There were so many people out there helping. At least they did get their answer. It’s tough, but it’s so important. These answers are what families need. I’m just a small piece of that puzzle, but we’re happy to be there and doing it.

Robin
Lori, give our hero dogs who are in competition now some advice from Piglet. Because I do know it went to Piglet’s head as the Search and Rescue Dog of the Year, the big TV debut, walking the red carpet. What would Piglet say to the competition this year, dog-to-dog? Hero dog to potential hero dog.

Lori
Dog-to-dog, take it all in. It is such an amazing experience. Everyone involved with the Hero Dog Awards could not have been more wonderful to all of us. It was an experience that we will never forget and treasure forever. What an amazing family, and you all will remain a family. It’s incredible. All of my fellow 2019 category winners are in touch almost weekly. It’s beautiful.

Robin
That’s wonderful. That kind of community in these times of social distancing, isolation and  quarantining, is so important. I’m so glad to know that everyone’s still in touch. I’m so glad Piglet’s doing well, Lori. Thank you.

Lori
Thanks. Have a great day everyone.

(New caller)

Robin
Hi, Dixie.

Dixie Days
Hi, Robin. Thank you for taking my call. I was curious: On Abaco Island there was a dog named Miracle. He made our national news here in Houston, Texas. I heard that he’s been adopted and I just wondered how he was doing.

Robin
Amber, do you have an update on Miracle? Because I know it was you and one of our colleagues that did the medical triage on Miracle.

Amber
Yes, Miracle has been adopted. He has a wonderful family. He looks like a completely different dog. He’s probably 70 pounds now. He was maybe 15 when we got him. He has little boys and little girls to love on him and a wonderful family and a pool, I’ve seen pictures. He’s the ultimate success story. He’s just doing wonderfully.

Dixie
That’s fantastic.

Robin
We will make sure you get those photos of Miracle. 70 pounds, Amber? My goodness gracious, that boy’s been eating. Miracle touched my heart, and so did Hope. Thank you, Dixie, so much. I think we have Jean Shafiroff up next, who’s our wonderful national spokesperson for Feed the Hungry.

Jean Shafiroff
Hi, Robin. I just wanted to thank you and American Humane for all that you’re doing. I am relatively new to this organization. I’ve known about American Humane, but had not been involved the way so many of you are until the last few months. I’ve had the opportunity to see the work first-hand and to communicate with Robin and everybody working inside the organization. What a fine group of people. What impresses me so much is how you keep your overhead so very low. I’m on a number of other charity boards and the 91 percent going to actual programs is an extraordinary number. Then your rating on Charity Navigator, the wonderful four-star rating, is just extraordinary. But mostly it’s the work you do and how you do it and how you touch so many lives, not only of the animals, but of our servicemembers.

Right now, we are in such a terrible situation with this pandemic and the Feed the Hungry  program that’s you’ve put together is just extraordinary. The goal is one million meals and $1 million, and we’re now up to $550,000. If anyone listening is able to give even a small check please go to the website, www.americanhumane.org. Robin, thank you for spearheading this. I’m honored to be involved as a national spokesperson. We will make this possible so that animals across the United States, our pets at all the different shelters, don’t go hungry. Thank you very much for everything you’re doing, Robin, for everyone on staff, and then all the supporters because you make their work possible. Thank you.

Robin
Oh, thank you, Jean, so much. What a beautifully worded statement as we wrap up today’s call. Thank you so much for your support and for your leadership of our Feed the Hungry campaign. I know we’re going to be able to make one million meals happen. We know the need’s out there. The need’s only growing as we just know that communities are seeing the virus’ resurgence. We see more and more people unemployed, and I’m worried about animals going hungry in these most challenging of times. Jean, thank you so much for your leadership.

Jean
Thank you.

Robin
Thank you. We are already wrapping up our 12th Fireside Chat. As we wrap up today’s program, I want to give a special thanks again to Kris for serving our country and service dog, Andi. Thank you for telling and sharing your story with us. I’m so grateful for your courage in sharing your personal journey with all of us.

Amber, I want to thank you again for being one of our humane heroes, one of our rescuers, first responders for animals in times of crisis. Thank you for going out there and doing the most courageous work on the front lines in times of disaster and crisis. Thanks to all of our governing board members, our national ambassadors, our staff at American Humane. It’s because of our supporters that we’re able to continue our work.

Please visit www.americanhumane.org for ongoing updates and reports through all of our social media channels, as well. Please stay well, be healthy, and God bless America. And God bless American Humane. Thank you.

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