I proudly call myself an animal advocate, yet sometimes I struggle with how to explain to people what that really means. The dictionary told me this:
advocate|noun| : a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause
I’m fortunate to have a career (TV, radio, and print journalism) that gives me other platforms to share my animal advocacy with others. I’ve hosted several TV shows showcasing the local animal shelter in my home town, filmed Public Service Announcements for their events, and written about ways to be a better pet owner for my site and for other publications. These are all ways I promote what I believe through my talents and skills.
But I believe being an advocate goes past support and recommendation, and means also being a voice and acting for a cause.
Yesterday I was driving down a busy road in Montgomery, and I spotted what looked like a rock in the middle of the road. When I got closer I realized it wasn’t a rock, but a turtle.
I immediately pulled my car to the side of the road, got out, quickly grabbed the turtle, put him in my car and drove him to the nearest pond.
This is what I believe in and this is how I live my life
I can preach animal rights and respect all day long, but if I drove by that turtle, I don’t think I would be living what I’m preaching. It’s fun to play with puppies at the human society, but I want to do more than that. That’s what I think being an advocate is, going beyond what is fun and glamorous for a cause you believe in.
in being respectful to all animals; from soft and cuddly puppies and kittens to random turtles I find in the road.
domestic animals are a responsibility and that people who can’t care for them and treat them as a responsibility should lose ownership of them.
in only supporting animal tourism that is humane and educational about the animals it showcases.
perfectly healthy wild animals shouldn’t be captured and taken from their pods or families and kept in cages or tanks.
when an animal is in pain or in trouble and I can safely help them, I should.
Being an animal advocate, for me, means I live my life by these beliefs. So maybe that means I stop on the side of the road for turtles. Call me crazy if you want. I call it passionate.