The Face That Launched A Million Advocates
She was burned, battered and overbred. Her ears had been brutally cropped and she suffered from puncture wounds throughout her body. She was found running down the street in South Central Los Angeles in 2007 with another dog who soon died of his injuries. She was safe at the shelter and her caretakers named her Angel. Her broken body began to heal, but then more medical issues began to arise.
Angel had bad knees and endured the first of many surgeries. She needed a quiet place to recover following surgery and actor/comedian Rebecca Corry opened her home to her and nursed her broken body. Little did she know at the time, but Angel would endure 8 more surgeries, not only for bad knees, but also for a grade 2 mast cell tumor. Rebecca used her formidable talents to host a benefit at a Comedy Club to raise money for one of Angel’s surgeries.
By this time, Rebecca would have given the shirt off her back to help the big, blocky pibble that she sometimes referred to as the “Velvet Hippo.” Rebecca was besotted and Angel was her muse. She admits that Angel gave her “a purpose driven life.” Rebecca was already a successful actor and comedian, but Angel changed the trajectory of her life. Rebecca created the Stand Up For Pits Foundation to raise awareness and money for dogs such as Angel who suffered brutal abuse and discrimination at the hands of man. Together they would make history.
In 2014, Rebecca launched the Million Pibble March in Washington, D.C., perhaps the largest and most effective event to bring attention to the insanity of breed discriminatory laws. As thousands of animal advocates from around the country gathered on the lawn of the Capitol, Rebecca did what she does best – she spoke passionately, intelligently and eloquently. She inspired the masses to never be silent about abuse and discrimination. She inspired us as well.
Though we are a board of 3 women, our founder, Sande Riesett, had repeatedly pledged that Show Your Soft Side was a “boys’ club” and that female models were not appropriate for the campaign message. It was all about tough, macho guys showing their soft side. Although she stands at only 4’11’’ tall, Rebecca Corry was the first female inaugurated in our campaign. On this very sad day, we are more grateful than ever that we broke ranks and photographed Rebecca and Angel.
This afternoon our hearts broke as we read that Angel crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. We shed tears not only because we loved Angel, but also because we know that this is a devastating loss to someone we love as well. During Angel’s life, Rebecca admitted that, “I love her so much it hurts and I’m honored to be owned by her.”
Grief can be wretched and the loss of a beloved animal can be one of the most brutally painful experiences we humans can endure. The pain is often both physical and emotional and it may take weeks – if not months – to subside. We can’t stop crying. Our chests hurt. Our faces are swollen. Society’s failure to acknowledge the depth of this grief only compounds the problem. It is not acceptable to stay home from work after our dog or cat dies. We are expected to pull ourselves up from our bootstraps and move on. There are thousands of animals in shelters and we’ve all been told to adopt another.
At times like this, all we have is each other. Our message is one of kindness to animals, but we need to be kind to each other as well. Take time to send your condolences when friends lose a part of themselves. One of the most meaningful gifts is to make a contribution, no matter how small, to a favorite shelter or rescue. Today we made a contribution to the Stand Up for Pits Foundation in memory of Angel.
Godspeed, Angel. You taught us so much. We hold you and Rebecca in the light of our thoughts and prayers.
Written by Caroline Griffin to reflect the incredible sadness all of us at Show Your Soft Side are feeling today.