Written by Katie Piacentini, Kpiacentini@antonnews.com Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00North Shore Animal League America launched its 13th Annual Tour For Life, which helps save the lives of animals by spreading the message of the no-kill movement across the country. Four mobile rescue and adoption units will travel through 27 states, from early March through mid-May, to strengthen the message of adopting homeless pets and to encourage people to support their local animal shelters.
At the event launch on March 6, which took place at North Shore Animal League America headquarters, 25 Davis Ave., Port Washington, President John Stevenson said, “This is our way to make no-kill a reality for a lot shelters that work with us in our cooperative adoption program around the country. It’s a chance to show our mobile units and get our message across.”
Tour For Life has saved the lives of tens of thousands of animals, and Stevenson announced that they have the biggest fleet this year. “We have four units going out around the country and going to cover over 15,000 miles,” he said.
Stevenson also stated that schools across the country that have been involved with the Animal League’s Muttigrees curriculum program have reached out to their local shelters, and encouraging them participate in Tour for Life. He said that they have 20 new organizations and rescue groups participating this year, as a result.
Jill Burkhardt, vice president of sponsorship and major gifts, spoke about how the Tour for Life contributes to their fundraising efforts.
“This tour places our mission in front of donors who may not be able to experience it here on our campus. It brings the important work that we do to their community, and that is an extremely vital connection to make,” she said.
Before introducing North Shore Animal League Spokesperson Beth Stern, Vice President of Communications Devera Lynn noted that Stern has helped thousands of animals find homes by raising awareness. “We get so many emails and calls, saying, ‘I’m here because Beth Stern is talking about how important donations and adoptions are,’” Lynn said.
Stern noted that she is not the one doing all the work, and gave credit to her husband, Howard Stern. She said, “It’s Howard Stern getting on the radio and spreading awareness, because he loves animals as much as I do.”
Stern introduced everyone to an adult dog named Precious, who is available for adoption at North Shore Animal League America. She explained that the dog’s owner was stricken ill, and brought Precious to the rescue organization because he knew it would be the best place for her to find a good home. “We are so hoping that she finds a wonderful home,” Stern said, noting Precious is housebroken, sweet and great with other animals. She added that Precious is good with kids, as her owner used to take her to church, where she played with children.
“I know that this is our biggest Tour for Life ever,” Stern said, adding that she hoped that it would result in more than 2,000 adoptions. “Everybody who works here – you’re all my heroes,” she said, as she also gave her support to the Tour for Life drivers.
Joanne Yohannan, senior vice president of operations, said, “North Shore Animal League has been pioneers in the no kill movement, so there are many organizations out there now – and even retailers – that are emulating the work we’ve done and continue to do. Our country has gone from euthanizing nearly 20 million animals every year – 25 short years ago – to less than 4 million. So that’s a significant change, but there’s still a lot of work to be done, and to get that work done, we need boots on the ground, we need people in the field working with the organizations that are still killing animals.” She added that the Tour for Life drivers would bring homeless animals to high traffic venue locations, bringing awareness to the plight of homeless animals.
A blessing of the Mobile Adoption Units and the Rescue Team was also given at this event, by Rabbi Rachel Larkin Wiesenberg of Temple Beth Torah and Father Steve Peterson of Our Lady of Fatima.
Tour For Life is made possible through the generosity of Presenting Sponsor Purina ONE, and Supporting Sponsor the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum. For more information on Tour For Life, visit www.AnimalLeague.org.