Leslie BurkeComment

Animal Lover

Leslie BurkeComment
Animal Lover

I hate people that pretend to be allergic to things instead of just saying they don't like them. To this day I put my mother in that category. Growing up in Brooklyn in the 80's sometimes felt like a third world country with the amount of stray animals roaming the streets. I hadn't solidified #TeamDog versus #TeamCat as a youth and with cats being relatively quiet and already prone to hiding, I would often catch stray cats and hide them in our home when my mother was at work. It was my small way of saving the world, one fur baby at a time. Eventually, my mother figured out that her wheezing was a result of her cat "allergy".

Gigi was my first dog that was all my own. We met like I do most dogs, making eyes at each other as we passed on the street. His owner decided to let him stop and I learned he was seeking to re-home the dog due to a move. Gigi and I left that together and the rest is history. Our relationship blossomed through my first job at 16, my entrance to college, my first real full-time job, my first big heartbreak and my start to business school. Gigi passed at the old age of 18 during my second year in business school but his memory lives on in all his children. Who would have thought a dog of 14 would still be able to procreate?!?! 6 puppies later, one being my Snoopy, I found this out the hard way while watching the female cocker spaniel of a family member. 

My heart has continued to grow for animals as I've gotten older. There is nothing like a best friend that sits with you when you are crying, that pees with excitement when they see you after hours apart and that sees your lap as its permanent throne. Visiting Catskill Animal Sanctuary several months ago started me on the process of choosing more cruelty free foods. I've reduced my animal proteins to fish and foul. This Labor Day weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Goats of Anarchy and this recommitted me to this diet. Seeing how Leanne, the founder, has transformed her life finding happiness and purpose in her quest to be a voice for the voiceless, injured animals, gives me a vision for the life I want when we move to France. I may not be able to save 20+ goats, but I will always come home to the warm smile of unconditional love of a few pets.

P.S. Photo taken at Goats of Anarchy with Angel, a goat who is fighting against her physical limitations of two legs and helping special needs children along the way.