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Friend of the Animals

       

We were first introduced to George through one of our favorite people, Angela of Jiva Apoha, and were intrigued. George was in the beginning stages of launching My Dream for Animals and we were inspired by his mission to raise awareness around the complex issues these majestic beasts face. Read on to learn about his deep love for all of Mother Earth’s creatures. We hope George and his dream for animals inspire you.

 

How did you start My Dream for Animals? Tell us about its history?

I had been wanting to do something to help animals for years but I wasn’t sure what. The more I read and researched the mistreatment of animals and the more injustices I came across, the more frustrated I became. I kept asking God/Higher Power what I could do to help animals. I was confused because I live in Manhattan, have no formal education or training related to animals, and love/want to help so many different types of animals. If I helped elephants what about dogs? If I helped dolphins what about farm animals? One day after asking the question, literally for years, I asked myself  ‘what is my dream for animals”? and I was like “that’s it!”. I grabbed a notebook and started writing down ideas that just started flowing. I started working with a web designer Ed Morgan, who helped me put my ideas together visually, and a researcher/writer Robert Wayner, and launched the site in June of last year.

What is your mission for the site?

The core mission is to raise awareness about how animals are treated, and educate people on things they can do to help. I hope through educating them that they will consider making different choices in respect to their treatment and welfare. I also think in the digital age that many people have lost touch with the natural world. I want My Dream for Animals to help people reconnect to the wonder and beauty of the animal kingdom.

Have you always felt a special connection to animals?

Yes! My earliest memory is asking my father to stop the car on a family trip at the age of four or five, so i could get near these cows that were on a field off a road in Pennsylvania. I worked on a dairy farm the summer after 8th grade, and worked at the Bronx Zoo during high school. I didn’t know at the time about the negative aspects of zoos and dairy farms, I just knew I wanted to be near animals. I also always had multiple pets growing up (dogs/cats/rabbits/fish).

Your organization encourages us to consider ourselves the caretakers of animals, what does that mean to you? How can people get involved?

Animals depend on us. The planet is overpopulated and we have taken over so many of their natural habitats. They are defenseless and need our voice and compassion. They don’t ask for much, they just want to be treated with respect and left alone. There are many ways people can get involved depending on the animal and specific cause they are passionate about. On our website My Dream for Animals under each “dream” there is an action section that has petitions related to each specific animal/cause. It also gives different suggestions on how people can help, as well as lists organizations on the ground people can contact and support.

Is My Dream for Animals what you do full time?

No, I am an agent at The Society Management, a model agency in NYC, where I manage about 25 girls. I work on My Dream for Animals on nights and weekends.

What inspired you to become an advocate for the animals?

I started feeling overwhelmed and powerless about all the negative things I was reading and seeing. I knew I loved animals but felt I needed an outlet for the frustration because I often would shut down, get overwhelmed and do nothing. I also understood that as much as the negative imagery upset me and made me want to help, that it also was too much to handle sometimes. And I thought if I love animals as much as I do, and am doing nothing, how many other people are reacting to the negative info the same way. So I started thinking of ways to convey what is happening but in a more positive, inspiring way where people could connect to animals and their individual stories. For me that’s where change has happened. Not thru pictures of skinned animals but by connecting to a fox or mink and seeing how similar they are to my dogs.  The negative information and images are important so people are made aware, but it just seemed endless, and I understood that different people respond to different ways of how information is presented. I also started realizing that my everyday choices for years were contributing to these injustices i.e my diet, and that maybe people might make different choices if they were made aware and given  information in this way too.

What are three simple things readers can do to help take care of the animals?

– Consider a vegan diet. If not willing to do that then consider cutting down on meat/dairy/eggs.

– Avoid animal entertainment (circuses/zoos/rodeos/swim with dolphins attractions/ride elephants etc).

– Research where their products come from. Do they contain palm oil? Have they been tested on animals? Do they contain animal parts, etc?

How do you take care of yourself, so that in turn you can take care of animals?

I practice yoga and meditation regularly. This helps me to deal with a lot of the negative things I see and read about, and let the anger and negativity go more easily.

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