Last week I posted our "Change Agenda for Animals"—a 100-point checklist of critical animal protection reforms—and asked you to weigh in on what you consider the top five priorities. It's been fascinating to track your varied responses. If you haven't already, remember to make your voice heard on what reforms you consider the most urgent and important; you can either offer a comment or send an email. We'll collect your votes through next Friday, Feb. 6, then share the results.
Today though I wanted to post some of your initial responses to the story of Jamaica. Once a slaughter-bound castaway, Jamaica has become a top equine athlete and was just named the 2008 United States Equestrian Federation Horse of the Year.
This story makes me wonder how many more Jamaicas are out there on the way to the slaughterhouse. This is much like stories about dogs rescued just before being euthanized, that have done heroic acts or become great service dogs. Most of these unfortunate animals have so much potential. It's sad that too many people don't want to spend the time or money to discover just what these animals have to offer. —Barbara
I am so glad that Jamaica and Beau got their second chance! I cannot believe that just because these horrible people think that the horse is old, broken, etc. that it is their right to slaughter them? All of these horses deserve their second chance where they can roam freely and be loved. I have not seen the videos only because when I read what happens to them I cry so hard my heart aches. The horse is an American icon and deserves so much better. HSUS, I know you will continue to fight for these animals and I GREATLY appreciate all that you do. May God bless all of you and the animals too! —Karen E. Wagner
Thank you HSUS…we love horses; they are so gentle, intelligent and loyal. It is an outrage that they receive the treatment that they do after a lifetime of racing, etc. Thank you for all that you do for horses as well as for all animals that suffer in this country and around the world. —Erlyn, Mark and Katie
As a member of the USEF (formerly USET), I applaud Wayne and the HSUS for their heroic efforts to save such a majestic species. My horses were always my best friends. —MA
Thanks to HSUS for pointing out that sometimes horses bound for the killers only need a special person to give them a second chance. Thanks for sharing, and congrats to Jamaica on his well-deserved award! —Virginia@cars4causes
Like Jamaica's fateful transformation, many of you know firsthand the joys of rescuing an animal and helping them to reach their full potential. We saw this in response to the tale of Granny Annie, when so many of you shared your stories. Your accounts continue to roll in and here are two more:
My cat came to me as a rescue from a vet. One-quarter of her body is missing. Her right hind leg/thigh was crushed in a car accident when she was young. Her previous owners fixed her up, declawed the remaining three paws, then when she was 10-years-old took her back to the vet for surrender!!! So, as you can understand, life has been really hard for her. The previous owners believe in their hearts that they love animals! Ok…? I guess?!? She came to me sight unseen. She has been with me for 1.5 years. She is truly wonderful; sweet, calm, chubby! She adores my 15-year-old Jack Russell terrier… they are like an elderly couple in love… so cute! She is a jewel! —Linda R. Norris
I loved the story about Granny Annie. We adopted a special needs dog (as our very first dog—my husband and I had had only cats up until then). While Trixie the beagle had her challenges (kidney, seizures) we were totally dedicated and stuck with her to the end. What we learned from Trixie was that when you take a dog that few others would take for whatever reasons, you are likely to find a wonderful soul inside and fall in love. From our experience we have decided to only adopt senior pets. We just adopted a senior collie mix who is very overweight and was found abandoned in a garage. Big Billy is a wonderful dog and just further supports our decision. —Alexandra Marshall
And here's an excerpt of a similar story from Jeanmarie Petrino, who wrote in response to the post about the public reaction to Petland, exposed as the nation's largest retail supporter of puppy mills.
My husband and I are in the process of adopting a Scottie dog and one of her puppies from a Scottie rescue group. She gave birth to seven puppies two weeks after she was rescued. She's going to be spayed and, when the adoption is final, these two babies will be loved and pampered the rest of their lives. Our adoption coordinator told us her group had recently been on a rescue mission to save 21 Scotties. She later told us they were only successful in saving 16 and the rest were bought by another mill breeder. Totally heartbreaking. From the email our coordinator sounded overwhelmed and near hopeless as it took almost all the financial resources in their national group to buy these 16. She said that these dogs were in bad shape. But thank God there are people like these and like those at the Humane Society. The word has to be spread. In the past week, since learning more about this nightmare, I've ordered bumper stickers ("Adopt, Don't Shop"), written a letter to the editor of the Connecticut Post, I've written Dear Abby, and I've signed every online petition I could find.