Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like doing media interviews. If I’m one-on-one I could talk for days about our Softies and all they do for the community, but pull out a camera or a microphone and I freeze like a deer in the headlights. So it was under duress (i.e., neither Caroline or Lori were available) that I agreed to speak with a local paper. It was a quickie and it ended on the interviewer saying, “So you all just make posters?” I was too stunned to answer, but for days following, I kept replaying all the things I should have said including “No %&%#, we don’t just make posters, we work with an army of amazing Softies who care passionately and go above and beyond to make life better for animals.”
Nothing brings that point home better than during the last 48 hours watching the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Like many, I was stopped in my tracks by a report from Lucy Noland Fox 29 in Philly about 100+ animals stuck in their cages as the water came pouring in. The two-legged residents had been forced to flee without the animals and were putting out desperate pleas for boats in order to save them. The image of these pups unable to escape on their own and facing a certain death was just too hideous to comprehend.
We posted, we tweeted and we begged.
The next day brought welcome news of their rescue. It also brought numerous texts from Softies and Mrs. Softies from Foxboro to Philly, Baltimore to Nashville. “Have you seen this?” “What can we do?” “How can we help?’ Do you know anything about this organization?”
Not knowing the answers, we reached out to those on the ground and those in the know. They provided links to vetted organizations and Amazon wish lists, which we dutifully forwarded along.
Yet all of us wanted to do more.
That opportunity came when we heard that one of our rescue idols, Renee’s Rescues, was heading to Tennessee along with Rescue Well to bring back two cargo vans full of Texas cats and dogs in order to free up space in the animal shelters there. I texted Renee immediately to ask if they had costs sorted for the vans, mileage, crates and food.
“Not yet,” she replied, “but if necessary I’ll gladly max out my credit card.”
Hmmm, perhaps our Softies could help?
Within minutes of sending out texts to Philly, Foxboro and Nashville, the answers started coming in. “Absolutely.” “Yes, we’re in.” “Just tell me how much.” Next up was locating two climate controlled cargo vans that could be available as of the next morning. That task proved to be much more difficult. One of our long-time volunteers and supporters took on the task of calling every rental agency and car dealership within a three state radius. It was official and non-official Softies in full-scale action.
Along with an aversion to media interviews, I’m also allergic to asking for money from people in general and in particular – people who willingly and consistently give of their time. In fact, it pisses me off when people say “You should be asking the Softies for donations.” They obviously have no clue to how much these guys and their wives already do. These are players who are at the top of their game, much demanded and stretched ten-ways-to-Sunday yet they drop everything to help when we say “could you?” “would you?” They call and visit kids in hospitals, read to little ones on their one day off, organize donation drives for local shelters and gladly appear wearing reindeer antlers and red noses if it will help bring attention to ending abuse and getting more shelter animals adopted. In our book, those contributions are beyond priceless.
Eight hours of texts, emails and phone calls later, we learned that arrangements for Renee’s Rescues’ convoy to Tennessee had been sorted. (Thanks to a certain Softie who would like to remain anonymous.)
That’s also when we learned of yet another local effort being planned. This one by Animal Allies Rescue Foundation (AARF) with the intent of getting much-needed animal supplies to their rescue partners in Texas and returning with a van full of adoptable cats and dogs. Knowing that AARF is currently dealing with the staggering medical costs associated with taking in multiple kitty burn victims, we were concerned at how they’d be able to pull this off.
Our Softies came to the rescue yet again. Lawrence & Andrea Guy stepped up to cover the travel costs and Stephanie & Ryan Jensen dove in to help fill the van. (And all this while the final pre-season games were minutes from starting.) Another Softie who wishes to remain anonymous came through with a second five digit check.
Animals have a way of bringing people together. And it’s days like this that remind us how fortunate we are that a simple ad campaign introduced us to such a compassionate group of men and women. We couldn’t possibly love our Softies any more than we do.
“So you all just make posters?” In hindsight, I should have said, “Yep, that’s what we do. We make posters of some of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet. And when the chips are down, every damn one of them comes through.”