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December 24, 2010

Holiday Greetings and Gratitude

It’s a tradition this time of year to pause and reflect. It’s also a time to look ahead. For me, it’s a moment to convey my pride in you—in each of you who stood up for animals in 2010.

I begin by expressing my great pride in the staff of The Humane Society of the United States. These colleagues are special, and I mean it. They are up early. They labor into the night. They carry their concerns into the small pockets of spare time that exist in their lives. They do it because they understand if they don’t stay focused and give everything they can, somewhere an animal will pay the price.

If you want to know a little more about people who work here, take a look at the off duty series on our website. You’ll see what I mean about devotion.

Please join with me when I say to them well done.

Dog rescued from puppy mill
Michelle Riley/The HSUS

Looking beyond this organization, I express my profound pride in those of you—so many countless legions of you—who are on the front-lines of combating cruelty.

You volunteer to help rescue and care for animals in need. You argue the case for kindness at every chance—whether speaking with your neighbors or with policy makers. You consider animals a priority in your consumer choices. You vote compassionately on election day. You don’t take a pass or turn your heads when suffering stood in the path.

In other words, you take action. And that action, multiplied millions of times over, is making ours a better society. That’s not rhetoric. That’s fact.

I think about those of you who labored in Missouri to qualify and then secure passage of Prop B. Thanks to you, there will be puppy mill dogs who see a veterinarian for the first time in their lives. There will be dogs who have a shelter over their heads to protect them from rain or sleet for the first time.

I think of all who defend animals on message boards and blogs and in newspaper letters and at town halls. Your voices ring true.

I think of the multitudes of Americans, coast to coast, and the citizens of other nations who generously support our work for animals with your donations. And our files are full of testimonials to just the kinds of people you are. Allow me to share two items from a bulletin board that our Membership department maintains.

Here is the first, a note by one of our Membership staff: Received a call from her mother, and Debra is in her late 20s and has brain and lung cancer. But she LOVES animals. She needed to stop the $50 monthly pledge. But she wants a new authorization form to donate $25 a month.

Debra, our prayers are with you.

Here is the second: Dear Humane Society, I am sad about the bears used as bait. I am giving you 33.03 from my pigy (sic) bank to protect the bears. Thank you for helping the bears. LOVE, Andie.

Andie, I’m matching your $33.03 and asking 10 friends to do the same. You’re right, the bears deserve our help.

Friends, this is real stuff. It matters. It matters by the ones and the twos, by the $33.03 and by the millions.

There is a moral line etched across the expansive terrain of our culture. It is a bright line, not the least fuzzy. On one side are those who care about how we treat animals—because this is a fundamental measure of our humanity. On the other side…well, on the other side are the people we need to reach.

This holiday season, your contribution will make a difference. I promise it will. And I speak for hundreds of people at The HSUS in extending their promise to do everything they can with the resources you provide. I think I can also speak for the millions of Americans who say we all need each other if we are going to continue with the awesome charge to build a truly humane society.

God Bless You, and Happy Holiday

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