"The basis of all animal rights should be the Golden Rule: we should treat them as we would wish them to treat us,
were any other species in our dominant position."
were any other species in our dominant position."
Learn more about the animals who
have renewed and transformed my life.
Snoop, an Australian Cattle Dog/Shepherd Mix, was two years old when she was rescued from a Baltimore, MD animal shelter in 2003. It was love at first sight. Her dad was immediately drawn to her unique coat, relaxed demeanor and soulful eyes. They were the eyes of an intuitive animal longing to be loved by the right person and it was the beginning of an exciting chapter for both Snoop and her dad.
Coming from an abusive past, Snoop initially was very timid and nervous. After receiving a lot of love from her family, Snoop healed emotionally and her intelligence, perseverance, and mild mannered disposition helped her to transition nicely into her new home. She is a beautiful, obedient, and loyal animal who brings happiness to all the lives she touches. Thankfully, Snoop was able to triumph in the wake of adversity and has really been an inspiration in my personal journey.
I met Snoop in 2005 and had the good fortune of knowing her for six years until her dad and I parted ways in the summer of 2011. Though she is no longer a part of my life in the way she once was, the invaluable knowledge and insight that I gained during that time will always remain with me. I can honestly say that Snoop taught me how to appreciate the beauty of life, seeing it through her eyes. Some of the simplest pleasures such as riding in the convertible with the top down, sitting on the pier on a warm sunny day, taking a long scenic walk and playing in the snow on a cold winter day; all these experiences - once so ordinary - now became cherished moments to be treasured. Snoop's presence in my life enabled me to see life through a new lens, and for the first time allowed me to fully grasp the true meaning of unconditional love.
Today, Snoop lives a wonderful life and is her dad's constant companion. Although she is getting up there in age, Snoop will always be young in spirit and has forever left an indelible paw print on my heart. I am thrilled and honored to be able to share some of the joy and inspiration that she brought to me over the years.
RAY RAY STEALL
MAY 1, 2006 - OCTOBER 19, 2013
MAY 1, 2006 - OCTOBER 19, 2013
Ray Ray came to me on August 7, 2011 from the Homeward Trails Animal Rescue in Arlington, VA USA. She had previously been surrendered by her original owners and was living on borrowed time in one of the highest kill rate shelters in the state of Maryland. Homeward Trails specifically partners with high rate kill shelters in the Mid-Atlantic Region and they are notified when there is a likelihood that certain animals may make good companion pets. Ray Ray was one of those pets; one of the few lucky ones who were given a second chance at life. She was placed in foster care with a wonderful woman until she found her forever home with me.
I first discovered five year old Ray Ray on petfinder.com in August 2011 and was immediately drawn to the beauty of her photo. She was gray and white with the most beautiful, sparkling green eyes and described as being very sweet. When we met, the petfinder description more than exceeded my expectations. Ray Ray was flawless; she was delicate, beautiful, warm, friendly, loving and relaxed. I knew instantly she was coming home with me and I honestly believe that she knew too. It was absolutely effortless to fall in love with her inner and outer beauty. Ray Ray made her way right into my heart and home. An unbreakable bond was formed and a new journey had begun.
I adopted Ray Ray during a transitional period in my life and she was the perfect remedy to heal a mending heart. Her remarkable presence brought comfort, love, and joy into my home which was exactly what I needed during a dark and lonely time. Coming home to Ray Ray's unconditional love and warm greeting every day provided me with the strength and the courage I needed to get myself back on my feet. What started as being a very difficult time of my life turned out to be one of the best, most fulfilling and life changing experiences. I not only gained a friend in Ray Ray but also a new and valued family member.
Sadly in October 2013, after only two short years with me I lost my seven year old Ray Ray. She passed of a very aggressive and invasive form of ocular cancer. She was a true fighter but unfortunately the cancer overtook her right eye and side of her face. After a three month battle, she peacefully succumbed to her illness while surrounded by the love and support of her family. Although I take a tremendous amount of solace in knowing that Ray Ray will forever be at peace, losing her was one of the most heart wrenching and devastating days of my life. In a relatively short period of time, she taught me so much about life, love, happiness, joy, sadness, hope and loss.
I am grateful to Homeward Trails for saving Ray Ray's life and allowing me the opportunity to have been able to give her a loving, nurturing, safe and caring home. Every animal deserves to be loved as much as she was and although her life was unfairly cut short, it was a life filled with a huge amount of purpose and value. Ray Ray was such a shining star and an absolute gift whose vibrant, loving spirit I will cherish, share and carry with me always.
As a way of keeping Ray Ray's memory alive, I will continue to raise awareness for animals in need and to be their voice. Ultimately, I'd like to see all animals be able to experience true unconditional love, just like Ray Ray Steall.
BLACK BEAUTY STEALL ALSO KNOWN AS BB
When Ray Ray passed, the light in my heart dimmed and I felt as if she had taken a piece of me with her. My house, once again felt so sad, empty and lonely. I began to question if I could ever love again. Little did I know, my questioning wouldn't last long thanks to the next unexpected chain of events that was about to be set into motion....
Two days after my loss of Ray Ray, I contacted Homeward Trails to notify them of her passing and out of curiosity asked if they had any young, female and people-friendly cats available. One of the volunteers very quickly responded that they were scheduled to have two young, all black cats arriving from a high kill rate shelter in West Virginia. The volunteer was concerned because they hadn't been able to find a foster home for either cat. She asked if I would consider fostering a young female cat named Black Betty who was described as being about two years old and having a friendly and loving personality that would make a wonderful addition to almost any home.
After some research, I found it very troubling that black cats are more likely to be overlooked in shelters for numerous reasons; the stupidity and ignorance of people who believe black cats are associated with bad luck, black cats are also often viewed as more mundane, dull looking and less photogenic than cats with more color. Additionally, it is a proven fact that that black cats have the highest euthanization rate in shelters because of unfounded misperceptions and preconceived notions.
When I first saw Black Betty's photo on petfinder.com, I had a very different reaction than I did with Ray Ray. I was a bit concerned that she looked like an absolutely miserable cat. Then again, I had to remind myself that she was in a high kill rate shelter and how could she not look miserable? I will also admit that I wasn't so sure about an all black cat, but then I started to think in terms of fostering for the short term and saving another life as a way of honoring my sweet Ray Ray's memory. After tossing the idea around in my mind, and thinking about the unfair disadvantage already faced by black cats, I went with my instinct and agreed to foster Black Betty.
But when I met Black Betty, I fell in love. I once again had the same feeling as I did when I met Ray Ray. From the minute I saw her and held her in my arms, I knew that she had found her permanent home with me. Not only is she sleek, beautiful and poised but she has one of the nicest demeanor's I have ever seen in a cat; she is so friendly, warm, loving, alert, smart and playful. When Black Betty initially walked into my home, she acted as if she had lived with me her entire life. It was almost as if my angel Ray Ray had sent her to watch after me and make sure that I was going to continue my important work of helping animals in need.
Shortly after adopting Black Betty, who is now officially named Black Beauty (BB), I realized that I almost gave in to the "black cat syndrome." I of all people, the person who prides herself on keeping an open mind and fresh perspective, would have missed out on so much had I not taken a chance on BB. Her personality absolutely shines through her magnificent yellow eyes and her shiny black coat. Though she will never ever replace Ray Ray, I now know that I have an infinite amount of love in my heart to give. I couldn't have picked a better animal to carry on Ray Ray's legacy and at the same time, we are helping each other to heal - a win win!
Life can sometimes work in very strange and mysterious ways. As a result of losing Ray Ray, I have gained BB in my life. BB is a representation of all that is right in this world. She signifies hope, love, faith, new beginnings and the possibility of a better and brighter future. Our story is most definitely one to be continued and one that I look forward to sharing for many years to come.
There is still so much to be done and one by one, we can all make a difference! Welcome to Million People For Pets
Million People For Pets, LLC