Meeting Finder, the Horse Who Played Joey in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse

Animal StarsFrom childhood, we have always felt loved horses. We love horses so much that we have written two books about these amazing creatures. Just as millions of people around the world have, we watched the Thoroughbred Joey in Steven Spielberg’s movie War Horse and marveled at the horse’s acting and athletic ability. Remember the spectacular scene when Joey jumps over the World War I tanks? The horse’s keen intelligence and bravery heightened our regard for him from respect to awe.

What a treat it would be to actually meet Finder, the amazing horse who played the role of Joey, and his incredible trainer Bobby Lovgren. Part of our extensive research as co-authors with Robin Ganzert, PhD, president and CEO of American Humane Association, for our new book Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors, was to meet the celebrity animals who star in film and television and to interview their world-class trainers. Continue reading

Meeting Crystal, the Monkey from Night at the Museum Movies

Animal Stars
Don’t we all, deep in our hearts, want to meet a celebrity superstar someday?

Our opportunity came when we interviewed Thomas (Tom) Gunderson and met his family’s most famous member—Crystal, the adorable capuchin monkey who starred in the Night At The Museum movies, among many other memorable roles.

Meeting this delightful A-lister movie star was a special part of our extensive research as co-authors with Robin Ganzert, president of American Humane Association, for our new book ANIMAL STARS: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors (New World Library, September, 2014, www.animalstarsbook.com). We had to literally go “behind the scenes” to see for ourselves how the animals we all love in film, television, and commercials are trained and cared for. Continue reading

From Heart Wrenching to Heartwarming: Red Star® Tennessee Horse Rescue

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We weren’t sure that we were going to be able to save him. Weak and frail, I looked into Scooter’s eyes and could tell that he had lost all hope. He simply had just given up and decided that he couldn’t take it any longer. But, as our team crested the hill last Thursday morning during a law enforcement seizure in Lauderdale County, Tennessee to rescue six horses in a heart wrenching case of alleged animal cruelty – our teams immediately sprang into action – committed to getting Scooter and the five other members of his equestrian family off of the property alive.

Our Red Star® team, alongside our great friend and veterinarian, Dr. Jennifer Dunlap of Dunlap Equine Services, worked with incredible precision to save the lives of these horses, some of which were so horribly malnourished that they required IVs and oxygen before we could even leave the property where the seizure was being conducted. In the field, Scooter by far was the absolute worst. He, along with several others were critical – and Dr. Dunlap was diligent in providing swift, expert medical treatment to help save them. However, there was still a huge problem. Scooter not only needed IVs and oxygen – he was so weak that he couldn’t get up. So our amazing team once again sprang into action – getting trucks into position, carefully preparing straps, all the while providing comfort to poor Scooter whose life remained in the balance.

I held Scooter’s head while the team prepared to slowly lift Scooter to his feet so we could load him onto a transport trailer and then immediately rush him to our undisclosed emergency shelter for further intensive care. While we waited, I could sense that while he was coming around thanks to some of the emergency treatment he received – he still felt completely defeated. But within moments, teams of three-four lifted opposing straps which were properly positioned under Scooter’s body, and he was – to our astonishment – upright just long enough for us to load him into the trailer before he collapsed in the soft bedding where he remained for transport.

Our work didn’t stop in the field though, and quite frankly it was only just beginning. Back at the emergency shelter our teams have been running a 24/7 critical care unit along with Dr. Dunlap. And Scooter, once unloaded through professional rescue techniques, was immediately placed in an Anderson sling and was connected to more IV’s while receiving much needed oxygen just to keep him alive.

These horses are far from out of the woods and our teams continue to provide intensive care to these precious animals around-the-clock. From cleaning stalls, to providing lifesaving intervention including blood transfusions and hand-feeding critically ill animals – our team hasn’t stopped. But happily, one thing is for sure – Scooter is certainly starting to get that sparkle back in his eyes and he’s even taken his first steps and remained out of the sling over the last 12-24 hours thanks to his miraculous progress. It literally brought tears to some of our eyes as we watched him feel free and strong enough to stand on his own for the first time. It was exceptionally heartwarming!

I cannot thank our team of heroes enough. And I cannot express the amount of appreciation we have for the many caring individuals who have helped these animals. Most importantly – we thank our wonderful supporters like you – and our Red Star program presenting sponsors at MARS Petcare US, makers of PEDIGREE® food for dogs – you each allow us to save animals’ lives at a moment’s notice! Those animals just like Scooter, and the other horses that now have a fighting chance.

American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Retired military dogs deserve a new leash on life

Mankind has always had a special relationship with dogs.

For thousands of years, dogs have comforted us, protected us, and given us their unconditional love. Time and time again through the ages they have proven why they are considered our best friends.  And nowhere is that remarkable bond between dogs and people been more critical than on the battlefield. Continue reading

Vets Back in School!

This is an exciting time for me and the No Animals Were Harmed™ program. In an effort to keep up with the demands of the film industry and continue to give our animal actors the best protection possibly, we’ve added to our family of Certified Animal Safety Representatives: We’ve hired seven veterinarians! This will bolster an already stellar team, giving a dose of medical science and credentials. These licensed vets will be positioned in key states around the country where movie-making is highest.

Dr. Genna Mize and Melissa Wren studying hard!

Dr. Genna Mize and Melissa Wren studying hard!

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A New Year for Compassion

Thank you to all our supporters for helping make 2013 our most successful year ever in building a more humane world for children and animals. Together, we touched more than one billion lives with programs that brought comfort, caring and hope to the most vulnerable in their times of greatest need. In the year ahead we are working to do even more. Here are just a few of the exciting projects we have slated for 2014:

  •  American Humane Association will be releasing the first “State of America’s Children” report, exploring the most pressing issues and threats to the nation’s young people. This will be a companion piece to our yearly “State of America’s Animals” report
  • We are launching the full clinical trial of our “Canines and Childhood Cancer Study” with Zoetis to explore the healing power of the human-animal bond in helping children with cancer Continue reading