How did you come to start Small World Animal Rescue?
I was involved in helping a number of rescue organizations over the years and always found the work to be very rewarding. However, I knew that one day I wanted to start my own little group so that I could help animal owners who needed assistance financially as well as NYC animals who were abandoned and living on the streets. I teamed up with a veterinary office in Brooklyn where I have spacious ” townhouse” cages to show rescue cats that need homes and additionally have wonderful places like VERG who help with medical emergencies. The veterinary community has been extremely supportive as well as some of the vet supply vendors like MWI Animal Health and Merial.
How did you come up with the name? I had to ask 🙂
I called my rescue “Small World” for two reasons. The first because animals are smaller than us! And the second was that I envision taking rescue efforts to other countries where there are a scarcity of veterinarians. In 2012 I organized and got funding for a rescue trip to Cambodia. We treated over 150 animals in 5 days and it was a very special experience. Two veterinarians and three vet techs flew with me to Siem Reap and along the way we recruited a vacationing veterinarian from Australia and medical intern from North Carolina to help us. I want to do that again in the future.
What is the most challenging aspect of rescue in a city like New York?
The most challenging aspect of rescue in NYC is the enormous amount of animals in need. No one can keep up! There aren’t enough rescue groups to make even a small dent in the problem. There are estimates of over 2 million cats living on the streets of NYC and they keep reproducing every year so that number grows exponentially. Most New Yorkers have no idea. We don’t have enough TNR (trap, neuter and return) efforts or the money to fund the efforts. The city has largely ignored the problem. In addition, many animal owners abandon their pets in shelters or on the streets when they get bored with taking care of them. Some owners have legitimate reasons for needing to re-home their pets but the majority doesn’t. Pet ownership is supposed to be a commitment for the life of the pet.
Are there one or two rescue success stories you feel especially proud of?
Every time I find a home for an animal I celebrate the small victory that a homeless animal now has a home. Each one is special but some touch your heart in a different way. My first bottle baby was a 2-day-old kitten who I named Rosie (after the woman who taught me all about rescue). I had to wake up every hour and a half to feed her. I was sleep deprived for weeks but when she survived and found a home with a family I was so happy. I cried when I had to give her up but she was going home with another kitten so I knew it was the right place for her. My friends’ children would beg to come over so that they could bottle-feed her. Rosie had a whole neighborhood helping with her care and cheering for her survival. She inspired me to create a fundraising walk for kittens each year and I named it after her. Rosie was special.
Do you have any of your own pets?
I have 5 cats. My son would have 10 but we foster regularly so I have to draw the line somewhere. Since we foster so often, we have kittens or a cat in our care for a few days at a time.
What is your favorite thing to do when you have down time?
In my downtime I like to read, hike, bike, play tennis, ski and cook. I entertain a lot and my son and I are very social. We have people over for dinners every weekend. We have a country house in rural Connecticut so we spend a lot of time outdoors on the weekends. It is a nice change from our hectic New York City life during the week.