In Memorium: California Congressman Tom Lantos
14-term Representative was a staunch supporter of animal causes
With the passing of 80-year-old Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA) from cancer on Monday, February 11th, the world lost a great champion of human rights, and one of the animals' best friends in U.S. government. As the only holocaust survivor to ever serve in the U.S. Congress, Lantos embodied a moral authority that he wielded for more than 37 years as a stalwart advocate for the oppressed and victimized, no matter what their species.
Though only a teenager during World War II, Lantos fought against the Nazis in the Hungarian resistance, and at 16 was captured and sent to a forced labor camp. Enduring harsh beatings and other cruelties, he escaped imprisonment twice before coming under the protection of a Swedish diplomat and emigrating to the U.S. Tragically, most of Lantos' family members died in the ensuing genocide.
Like many holocaust survivors, Lantos developed a heightened sensitivity to the heartrending injustices of the world that cause such widespread suffering for so many. As an elected federal Representative of Northern California, he deftly translated his compassionate values into legislative action -- founding the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, securing humanitarian aid for Darfur, crusading against the worldwide AIDS epidemic, and much more.
Congressman Lantos was also one of the most important leaders on animal protection issues in the U.S. House of Representatives. He co-chaired the Congressional Friends of Animals Caucus, a bipartisan coalition that promotes animal-friendly legislation, and sponsored and supported many important bills himself. Representative Lantos introduced and/or helped pass such legislation as the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (which requires inclusion of animal companions in state and local disaster planning), the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, the Downed Animal Protection Act, and the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, among many others.
In celebrating the life of Tom Lantos, we hope that his example will inspire others, especially his political colleagues, to take up the crucial causes for which he fought so passionately. His life serves as an example of how each individual can expand their circle of concern beyond themselves to those who are most in need of our help, both human and non-human. Those who miss Rep. Lantos can take comfort in the fact that he left this world a better place than he found it, and that his memory will live for a very long time in his many achievements.
In Memoriam: Hans Ruesch, “Founding Father” – 1913-2007
On August 27, 2007, Hans Ruesch—whose book, Slaughter of the Innocent, was a seminal contribution to the modern anti-vivisection movement—died from cancer at the age of 94. For more than three decades, Ruesch dared to challenge the vivisection establishment with charges of “scientific fraud,” and his pioneering work in the 1970s inspired many activists (including IDA founder Dr. Elliot M. Katz) to fight for animals suffering in laboratories.
Born in Naples, Italy in 1913, Ruesch led a rich and adventurous life. He dropped out of law school at age 19 to become a professional race car driver, competing in more than 100 races and winning 27, including the 1936 British Grand Prix. In the late 30s, Ruesch began a long and distinguished literary career in the U.S., writing articles in English for popular magazines, followed by several successful novels, some of which were made into major motion pictures.
It was in the early 1970s, when he was studying medicine in Rome, that Ruesch took up the animals’ cause. A lifelong animal lover, Ruesch was shocked into awareness when an acquaintance showed him a badly-scarred kitten rescued from a vivisection lab. From that moment forth, he devoted the rest of his life to ending animal experimentation.
Ruesch is widely credited as the first person to systematically attack vivisection not only for being cruel to animals but also a danger to human health. He’d experienced this firsthand as a young boy, when his baby brother Konrad died after being given a pharmaceutical that was declared “safe” for humans after being tested on animals. At age 60, Ruesch bravely faced down the drug companies and animal experimenters who profited by killing animals and people.
In 1974, Ruesch founded the Center for Scientific Information on Vivisection, and switched from writing fiction to penning powerful exposés of the vivisection industry. When Slaughter of the Innocent was first published in the U.S. in 1978, its impact on the formation of the worldwide animal rights movement was enormous.
IDA marks Hans Ruesch’s passing as an occasion to memorialize his incalculable contributions to animal rights, and mourns the passing of this great man, who was an unwavering friend of the animals.
In Memoriam: Dr. Susan Shideler
Animal advocates mourn passing of humane wildlife management pioneer
The humane community suffered a tragic loss with the death of Dr. Susan Shideler of Inverness, Calif. on August 10th, 2007.
As a reproductive endocrinologist with the John Muir Institute for the Environment's Center for Health and the Environment at the University of California Davis, Susan was a trailblazer for humane treatment of wildlife. She was a pioneer in the development and implementation of immunocontraception for wildlife management as an alternative to lethal population control.
Susan was a great help to IDA's efforts over the years to protect animals and combat a conventional mentality in wildlife management that sacrifices animal welfare for expediency and tradition.
In the early 1990's, when IDA learned of the Point Reyes National Seashore's plan to kill 40 female tule elk a year for population control, we helped coordinate a team of scientists to propose a non-lethal approach to managing these beautiful creatures who are native to the area. As a scientist, Susan led immunocontraception trials on the tule elk. She spent hours, days, and months out on the range, learning to identify each animal by sight, collecting fecal samples to non-invasively measure hormone levels, and delivering contraceptives by remote dart from horseback. Her humane approach stands in stark contrast to that of White Buffalo, Inc., with whom the Pt. Reyes National Seashore has contracted to exterminate the Axis and Fallow Deer by shooting them.
Dr. Susan Shideler was a pioneering scientist and a humanitarian. All of us at IDA who worked with her over these years are deeply saddened at her passing. She will be sorely missed.
What You Can Do
The Pt. Reyes National Seashore has turned its back on the humane wildlife management strategies pioneered by Dr. Shideler and adopted a policy that calls for extermination of the beautiful Axis and Fallow Deer, who, although non-native species, have lived in the area since the 1950's. Phase I, implemented this summer, saw the killing of 80 deer with high-powered rifles, while another 80 were contracepted. Phase II will begin next summer, so there is still time to convince federal officials to save these beautiful deer from being shot and killed in this popular national park.
Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey has taken a proactive stance to protect the deer at Pt. Reyes from being exterminated. Please write or call her office to thank her for this. Also contact Senator Barbara Boxer to ask that she also direct the park to abandon its lethal plans and focus only on humane contraceptive strategies for controlling the exotic deer populations.
The Honorable Barbara Boxer
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Tel: (202) 224-3553
The Honorable Lynn Woolsey
2263 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel: (202) 225-5161
Fax: (202) 225-5163
Animal Rights Champion Gretchen Wyler Passes Away
Broadway, film, and TV actress brought animal issues into the mainstream
Early in the morning on Sunday, May 27th, the world lost a great hero to the animals when 75-year-old singer, dancer, actress, and activist Gretchen Wyler died at home after a four-year battle with breast cancer.
Wyler, who appeared in many popular plays, movies, and television shows, started advocating for animals in the mid-1960s after a visit to a dilapidated shelter. She became the first woman to sit on the board of the ASPCA, and passionately fought to end pound seizure (www.idausa.org/facts/poundseizure.html) in the 1980s. Most recently, she worked to get Ruby sent from the L.A. Zoo to a sanctuary.
In 1986, Wyler created the Genesis Awards, an annual awards show that recognizes people in the news and entertainment media from the U.S. and around the globe who have spotlighted animal issues.
While Wyler was an ardent activist for all animals, she especially advocated for elephants in captivity. Her landmark work for elephants at L.A. Zoo helped launch the plight of captive elephants into the national spotlight, shaking up the zoo industry and stirring the public to question the ethics of keeping elephants in zoos.
Gretchen Wyler, a one-of-a-kind woman and activist, left a profound mark on the animal movement. Her boundless energy and great passion will be missed by all in the animal protection community. To learn more about Wyler's careers in acting and animal rights, visit www.gretchenwyler.com.
In Memory of Treva Slote, Humane Society co-founder
It was Treva Slote's wish to not hold any memorial services after she died.
Instead, she urged individuals to donate to an animal charity of their choice in her name. That is, after all, what her life was about.
Slote, 75, one of the four founders of the Arizona Humane Society, died March 21 of lung and brain cancer. Until a year and a half ago, she continued working for several organizations including the Arizona Animal Welfare League.
Friends and family from all over the Valley remember her life and dedication to animals. Sibylle Scheliga, of the Palo Verde Animal Hospital, was a good friend.
"She always put everyone first, and she always came second, even last sometimes," Scheliga said.
She remembered Slote's humor. "She always bought secondhand furniture, telling her 10 cats: 'OK, kids, let's get to work.' (with their claws)."
In April 2003, Slote received the Lifetime Achievement Award from In Defense of Animals. Slote was so dedicated to helping animals that when she was 65, she lost her leg to a drunken driver while trying to save a stray dog. In the ambulance, she reminded the driver to tend to the dog.
"She was very knowledgeable about all kinds of animals and really knew how to win them over," said Marge Wright, an assistant in the volunteer department at the Humane Society who knew Slote for more than 50 years. "The city of Phoenix and the whole state of Arizona have better laws for the protection of animals because of her dedication."
A celebration of Slote's life will be held at the Treva Slote Activity Center on April 29.
In Memory of Raymond D. Giraud, Animal Activist
Stanford Emeritus Professor spent long life fighting for animals
Harriet Beecher Stowe's oft-quoted adage, "It's a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done," always reminds me of Ray and Lise Giraud. Whether it was speaking out against the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, fighting injustice in Haiti and Venezuela, or standing up for the workers and the animals victimized by an arrogant university administration, Ray and Lise were never afraid to do what was right, even if it meant risking social and professional alienation.
Raymond D. Giraud, Stanford Emeritus Professor of French Literature, Human Rights and Animal Rights activist died on June 17, at the age of 85. He is survived by his wife Lise, a Librarian Emerita at Stanford. Animal rights activists nationwide are mourning the loss of this wonderful man and long-time IDA supporter.
For over 20 years, Ray and Lise were co-directors of education for IDA. They were cornerstones of the animal rights movement in the Bay Area and were stalwart participants in protests against circuses, rodeos and other events involving animal cruelty.
Ray and Lise were also strong spokespersons against the use of animals in Stanford University's laboratories. They filed a lawsuit against the cruel treatment of a dog in a Stanford experiment, which was settled when the USDA agreed to stronger enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act at Stanford's animal labs. They also led a two-day march from Palo Alto to San Francisco to protest Stanford's use of dogs and other animals in experiments.
In 1999, Ray and Lise were named Humanitarians of the Year by the Marin Humane Society. At the news of Ray's passing, Marin County Democratic political activist and animal protection advocate Helen Brown wrote:
"When I think of Ray, I think of the gravitas and dignity his and Lise's presence added to every cause, demonstration or protest against injustice and ignorance.
This in combination with his stunning, yet never intimidating intelligence, genuine charm, wit and humility all contributed to the deep appeal this man had. His conviction to justice and abhorrence for cruelty was something he modeled and advocated for. He conveyed a sense of the necessity to fight for justice which was contagious to all who met him."
Ray Giraud was truly one of the finest people we have ever known. In Defense of Animals is honored to have worked alongside Ray for so many years. We will miss him greatly.
To learn more about Ray Giraud's life and work, read his obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Shannon was a Katrina survivor. Though she lost her home and all her earthly possessions in Katrina, she waded through the muck to rescue numerous stranded and abandoned animals in the aftermath of the hurricane and later find homes for them.
Long after the storm passed, Shannon continued to ensure that animals wouldn’t suffer again by pushing legislation to require evacuation plans for animals. At the time of her death, Shannon and her organization, Save Our Pets, were caring for literally hundreds of Katrina kittens.
Shannon and her valiant efforts will not be forgotten.
Deborah Ann Stachowski
October 20, 1956 - February 24, 2006
The most stupid thing happened a few weeks ago. I came home from work and there were a few messages on my answering machine. I actually started to smile as I reached for the play button. For the briefest of moments, I thought maybe one of the messages was from you, we hadn't talked in a while. Of course it was not. I then just stood there wondering how on earth I could possibly have forgot, even for a moment, that you were dead. I can picture telling you this story and see your understanding nod, the compassion in your face and eyes. I miss you so much.
You and I go back almost thirty years. You were my oldest and dearest friend. When you were diagnosed with leukemia in October of 2004 you knew it was bad. So did I. But the truth Debbie, the real truth, I never expected you to die. You see, everything you did, you did well. I just assumed you would do leukemia well also. I thought you would live. And really Debbie, that's not fair. You did do leukemia well. You lost your life but you never lost yourself. I watched quietly as you endured terrible pain and sickness. Debbie, your strength, your courage took my breath away. You were the definition of grace and dignity. You laughed. You joked. You made friends with the staff, your nurses, doctors, other patients. Your phone in the hospital was always ringing. Someone was always stopping in to visit. Early on, you made an obvious decision to focus on the positive. You were grateful for the excellent medical care, grateful for your family, for your friends, for your strength. You stared unwavering into the face of your terrible enemy, you called it the beast, and you did not blink. As you got sicker, the drugs, and the disease, took their toll. Near the end, your outer beauty was stolen from you. But Debbie, your inner beauty, your beautiful self, always, always, shone through.
I don't know if you ever really knew this Debbie, but I always thought one of your greatest gifts was how bright you always shined. Whenever I was with you I felt a little brighter myself- a little funnier, a little smarter. I think you probably did this for everyone. It's just the way you were.
Remember that last afternoon we spent together at your house before you went into the hospital for the last time? You were too sick to get out of bed so we just hung out and talked. I played with your dogs and you gave me a late Christmas present and thanked me for all I had done. How very Debbie. You were going back to the hospital for the bone marrow transplant you had hoped you wouldn't need. However, everything else had failed, so you did need it. They had found not one, but two donors. Both perfect matches. As it turned out, you never got that far. You were already very sick. They had to give you more chemo before they could do the transplant and you got sicker. They had to discontinue the chemo. Then you got pneumonia and ended up on a ventilator and then you died. But we didn't know that then. You were hopeful for the future.
Remember all the traveling we did when we were young? Your mother found a photo album you had kept of some of the pictures of us and sent it to me. I will always treasure it. But you know what Debbie? I had saved these same pictures all these years too in my photo album. We must have had doubles made. I'll just keep yours with mine as another memory of you. Your mother wrote a note with the album how you treasured the memories of our times together. So did I. Did I ever tell you Debbie, how much you meant to me, how much I valued our friendship? As we all know, when we lose someone we love, our world becomes a little smaller, a little colder. My mother died just ten days before you did. At her service, the minister said we can be sad our loved one is gone, or we can be happy that we had them in our life for the time we did. My world is smaller and colder now that you're gone, but I am going to choose to be happy for the friendship we shared and be grateful for the years I did have you in my life. I will always mourn the tomorrows you didn't get but at the same time take comfort in the treasured memories of a wonderful friend and all the todays we did have.
Almost two years ago I lost another dearly beloved friend in a car accident. I received a card then about an old Eskimo legend. Something about the stars not really being stars but openings in the sky where our loved ones look down at us. Debbie, for the rest of my life I will look at the night sky and gaze at all the stars and think of you. You always shone so brightly. Shine on, my beautiful, beautiful friend. Shine on....
In Memory of Trina Bellak
This past Memorial Day weekend, we lost a true champion for the equine world. Trina Bellak, founder and president of the American Horse Defense Fund (AHDF), lost her long battle with the effects of breast cancer. She passed away on Sunday, May 28, 2006. In her true spirit, Trina fought to the end for the horses she so loved, pushing for legislative changes to protect them from the horrors of slaughter. AHDF and the horse community have lost a dedicated and passionate horsewoman and horse advocate, and we have all lost a friend.
As with many little girls, Trina fell in love with horses when she could barely reach the pony stirrups. Yet her passion never faltered as she grew older Trina continued her personal, hands-on involvement with horses through more than 30 years of training both the horses and the riders and caring for her own equine companions. Trina also fell in love with her adopted state of Hawaii, and after moving there in 2003, she opened the Pono Kona Art Shoppe where she could showcase her art and those of other Hawaii residents.
Trina received her juris doctor from Tulane Law School and worked for a member of the US Congress and in the West Wing of the White House during the Clinton Administration. Realizing that all species deserved legal and political protection, she joined the legislative staff of The Humane Society of the United States and dedicated herself to the advancement of animal welfare through legislative and legal initiatives.
Never giving up in her drive to combat all forms of equine abuse, Trina parlayed her personal and professional experience into the founding of AHDF in 2000. Dedicated to the protection of all equines, AHDF became the premier national organization focused solely on the welfare of horses and burros, whether in the wild or domestic settings or in the show ring or the backyard. Through the AHDF, Trina used her legal education and her experience on Capitol Hill to work with members of Congress and federal agencies to shape the legislation and regulations that are working to increase the protection of horses throughout our nation.
Trina’s enthusiasm and never-ending energy and passion for the equines have left an indelible mark on anyone who has ever known her. Her perseverance and bold advocacy in the struggle for equine protection will continue to leave an indelible mark on anyone who will continue her fight. Trina’s legacy will live on, and her beloved horses and burros will benefit from the tireless dedication and life-work of Trina Bellak.
Caryn Amy Shalita Yaker:
Animal Lover and Rescue Advocate
1968 - 2005
Caryn Amy Shalita was an animal lover and rescue advocate, focused primarily on the needs of dogs. Caryn died Nov. 26, 2005, after a brief illness.
Caryn was passionate about the need to rescue animals. In person and through her websites, she urged people to adopt shelter animals and to treat animals as beloved members of the family. Her dearly loved dog, Francis, died earlier the same year as Caryn.
Caryn’s friend Bob Stewart wrote, “if one were to measure Caryn by her time here on earth, it may seem her life was cut
very short. But if one were to measure Caryn by the impact she made while her on earth, she lived a very full life indeed. Certainly the world is worse off for losing her, but unlike so many people in the world, Caryn strived to make a difference for many. She fought for her causes with a passion that is difficult to find. She made friends with a rare ease not often seen. But most importantly Caryn lived with a tenacious lease on life, not settling for the mundane, but striving to make the world a better place. This is too rare in this world and something that perhaps those who have lost her can take up the call for. Rest assured that while Caryn will be greatly missed, she will live on in all those she touched. And by touching others with the same warmth and energy, she will live on in all those whom we touch.”
Caryn was also an actor, and Jacques Thelamaque, who directed Caryn in “Infidelity, In Equal Parts” -- which premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival -- said Caryn “was a beautiful, warm, smart, caring, generous, talented being. She was an artist, actress, activist, collaborator, kindred soul and dear friend.”
Caryn also shared a deep and abiding love with her husband of 12 years, Rich Yaker. In fact, Jacques Thelmaque said it was impossible to talk about Caryn without talking about Rich too. Rich was Caryn’s soulmate, one she referred to as her “astro twin.”
For more about Caryn and her rescue efforts, visit http://www.caryn.com and
www.caryn.com/francis, a website she set up for dog rescue and resources.
comedian and activist
IDA joins the rest of the world in mourning the loss of comedian and activist Richard Pryor.
Pryor achieved international fame by setting new standards for comedy, but he was known to those in the animal protection community as a man who, toward the end of his life, fought adamantly against the abuse of non-human animals.
Pryor was steadfast even when it meant halting the use of animal research in search of a cure for his own disease – Multiple Sclerosis. To discourage people from donating to charities that still fund animal experimentation, he even sent friends a Christmas card that read, “A gift of goodwill should help end suffering, not cause it.” His request to “Use Me!” (instead) inspired many scientists to rethink their position on animal experimentation.
Pryor generously worked with IDA on several campaigns, especially our campaigns to help elephants in captivity. He wrote an Independence Day appeal to L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, urging him to send Billy, Gita and Ruby, the elephants at L.A. Zoo, to a sanctuary and permanently close their exhibit.
Most recently, Pryor, an Illinois native, sent letters to members of Chicago’s City Council, urging their support of an “Elephant Protection Ordinance” that would ban cruel and outdated “management” techniques within the city limits. We hope that the committee will honor his plea posthumously.
We will continue to work with Pryor's wife, Jennifer Lee Pryor, who will continue the good fight by heading the recently formed non-profit
organization for animals, "Pryor's Planet." In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to: Pryor's Planet c/o Edward D.
Astrin, CPA, 16633 Ventura Blvd. #1450, Encino CA 91436.
Donald Watson: founder of The Vegan Society
and inventor of the word "vegan."
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the death of Donald Watson, founder of The Vegan Society and inventor of the word "vegan."
Donald passed away on November 16, 2005 at his home in Northern England. He was 95.
Donald became vegetarian over 80 years ago after hearing a pig being slaughtered. He said he "never forgot the screams." In 1924 Donald made it
his New Year's resolution to become a vegetarian. Later he became and coined
the term "vegan" and established The Vegan Society, which now has more than a quarter of a million members worldwide.
Donald's passing is a great loss to the vegan movement. He will be sorely
missed, but his legacy will live on.
Margaret Louise Dauner: she passed away on March 24, 2005.
Margaret Louise Dauner was a multi-talented renaissance woman. She used to
entertain guests with Beefeaters gin and tonic, with sharp Canadian cheese
and crackers. The picture shows her with her two sisters, taken in the early
1930’s – the Dauner Trio. They were the forerunners of other similar
chamber groups, such as the present-day Eroica trio. Louise was a marvelous
violinist, playing with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra from 1932-1938.
She was a superb English professor, receiving her bachelors and masters
degree from Butler University in Indianapolis. She received her doctorate
from the University of Iowa, and instructed at the University of Wisconsin,
Drake University, Butler University, and Indiana University at Indianapolis,
retiring as the English department chair. She was a wonderful writer of
poetry, but really her greatest interest was her love of animals.
To give you a sample of her caring, in the early 1980’s she was having
dinner with her gentleman friend when she noticed out the restaurant window
a very expensive car stop at the signal light of one of the busiest
intersections in Indianapolis. With horror, she and others in the
restaurant, noticed the lady driver throwing a kitten out into the traffic.
Without the least hesitation she ran out and rescued the kitten, with the
sound of screeching brakes all around her. This account was written up in
the Indianapolis News, but as she did not want to give her name, it was
treated as an anonymous account of great heroics.
Doreen Russell, R.N.
Dear Dr. Katz,
Thank you for your kind acknowledgement of Doreen Russell, R.N. , better known as “Auntie Do.” As I mentioned with her memorial donation, our “Auntie Do” was a nurturing woman and an active advocate for all living beings. She was a true humanitarian and political rights activist passionate about her life-long work as a healer, care giver and animal lover!
My Aunt passed away just one week after Katrina struck. As a WWII Nurse, she wished only to go down to New Orleans to help out. Her heart broke (literally) especially for the fate of all the pets and animals who were lost and left behind. After reviewing all her family photos, ½ of which are of her pets over the years, I know she would be especially grateful to have helped, if only by name. I’m pleased to share her, in recognition of a lifetime of caring she served for 85 years.
I have inserted a photo of her with one of her many generations of furry family members, whose name, I believe, was “Peanut.” She was quite a few years younger here and pictured on the front step of her home in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
We appreciate your work with IDA. Thank you for honoring Auntie Do on the IDA home page!
Brightest Blessings All,
Dr. Carl & Bethane Evans
Michael W. Shrewsbury : Loved animals, led shelter to excellence
BY HILLARY WOODWORTH ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
Traffic was only temporarily stopped as Michael W. Shrewsbury leaped out of his car to direct vehicles around the "victim."
The injured squirrel lay in the middle of the street, almost motionless except for an occasional twitch. But that twitch was a sign of life and was the only excuse Shrewsbury needed for the rescue mission.
The family was on the way to church and running late, but upon seeing the injured squirrel, Shrewsbury sat bolt upright in the car and slammed on the brakes. Within minutes the squirrel was on his way to receive medical help.
Shrewsbury’s love of animals began at a young age, and his family said he found a purpose in being the Director of Animal Services for the City of Sherwood for 14 years. He also worked with Feline Rescue and Rehome and was over the Spay/Neuter program with Central Arkansas Rescue Efforts for Animals organizations, according to CARE president, Harry Light.
"Michael took our animal shelter [Sherwood Animal Services] from being inadequate to being second to none in the state," Sherwood Mayor Bill Harmon said. Harmon added that the shelter has the second-lowest rates for animal euthanasia in the country because of Shrewsbury’s efforts.
Shrewsbury died of cancer Friday at Arkansas Hospice Inpatient Center at St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center in Little Rock.
He was 48.
Born in Victoria, Texas, and raised by his mother and grandparents, Shrewsbury moved to Arkansas when he was 2, where his grandfather, a Lutheran minister, took a job in North Little Rock.
Shrewsbury attended college in Louisiana for a couple of years but never finished, said his wife of 13 years, Miriam Shrewsbury.
"His first job was working the North Little Rock Animal Shelter, and from there he went to Sherwood," his wife said.
Shrewsbury met his wife at a flea market and although her four children were not his, he considered himself a father, according to his wife.
"He never referred to them as his stepchildren," his wife said.
The Shrewsbury family took in a German exchange student, Oliver Zuber, in 1996, and Shrewsbury considered him a son, too.
"We’ve just always kept in touch after that," his wife said.
Diagnosed with stomach cancer two years ago, Shrewsbury began making preparations.
Shrewsbury wrote his own obituary and made all of his funeral arrangements, his wife said. He included Oliver and his four dogs among his list of survivors in his obituary, not wanting to leave anyone out.
The family talked about Shrewsbury’s coming death matter-of-factly, like they would talk about the chance of rain.
"We just accepted it, it made it less depressing," his wife said.
Shrewsbury’s grandson, age 6, started calling him by the nickname "Bad Dog," for reasons his wife can’t imagine.
"He wanted that name put on the tombstone. He said under his name, he wanted Bad Dog in parentheses," his wife said.
That wasn’t Shrewsbury’s only unorthodox request, his family said.
"He wanted the programs at the funeral to be numbered and at the end of the service he wanted to hold a raffle for a $100 gift certificate to PetSmart," his wife said.
His wife said Shrewsbury liked to dress casually and always had a shirt or cap on that said "Spay or neuter your pet." Sometimes, she added, she had to pick out his church clothes.
"The first time he came to church [Christian Life Center], I said to myself, ‘Never again,’" his wife said.
"We were exact opposites, but it just worked," his wife said.
This story was published Monday, October 03, 2005
In Memoriam: Ben White
On Sunday, July 10, IDA gave its prestigious
Lifetime Achievement Award to Ben White, a longtime defender of animals and the environment who worked for IDA in the 1990's. IDA founder and President Elliot M. Katz, DVM proudly presented the award at the Animal Rights 2005 conference in Los Angeles, but Ben was unable to receive the honor in person because he had been diagnosed with an aggressive and terminal form of abdominal cancer. Today, we are sad to report that Ben passed away from his illness on Saturday, July 30 at the age of 53.
A fearless crusader for all living beings, Ben had an indomitable spirit that burned bright in the face of adversity. He was even willing to put his own life on the line to save the lives of animals. While working for IDA, Ben documented the horrors of the Japanese drive fishery, in which hundreds of dolphins are herded ashore and brutally slaughtered while the youngest and most attractive dolphins are spared and sold to marine parks. While Ben's testimony helped prevent Marine World Africa USA, a northern California amusement park, from importing marine mammals captured in the drive fishery, Ben decided that bearing witness to the atrocity of the drive fishery was not enough. The night before his departure from Japan, Ben plunged into the harbor without diving gear and cut open the drive fishermen's nets, freeing dozens of dolphins from lifelong enslavement.
Ben's legacy and the example of his many brave deeds will live on in the hearts and memories of family, friends, and fellow activists long into the future. You can help others continue Ben's important work Ben for animals by donating to the Ben White Fund at Islanders Bank, P.O. Box 909, Friday Harbor, WA 98250,
and to the Animal Welfare Institute, P.O. Box 3650, Washington, D.C.
20027, and the In Defense of Animals Ben White Endowment Fund,
3010 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael, Ca 94501. You can also read about Ben's life in an article published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
BOBBIE LYONS TRIBUTE LETTER
June 5th 2004...Ronald Reagan passed away. J.Lo got married again. And my good friend Bobbie died in a car accident.
It's been a little over a year now and I still can't believe you're really gone. I miss you every day. Thought I'd let you know how we're all doing.
Your family is wonderful Bobbie. They made the wake a beautiful tribute to your life. Their grace and courage are amazing. You can rest well knowing that the people you loved are loving and helping each other. Christopher is doing well in school and is very busy with golf and hockey. You were hockey Mom. I hear Rick has become quite the hockey Dad. Debbie, Jessica, your mother, Rick's mother all help. They help with Barney too. They even mentioned in your eulogy how he missed you. Some people would say he's just the dog but I know you wouldn't want him forgotten. Debbie tried very hard to find the person who caused the accident, but to no avail. Her and Janet have become closer. They went out on your birthday to remember you. I'm going with them next year and we're going to do that every year. Debbie and I have also become a little closer. In the fall, we're going to take a day off work together and do a "spa day." I'm really looking forward to it. Debbie misses you terrible Bobbie. She loved you very much. Not too long after you left us, I guess she went over to your house to try and teach Rick to cook. Now wouldn't you have loved to watch!
They had the birthday party on the Miss Niagara for Debbie's 50th as planned. Kevin tried so hard to make it nice for her. Rick was there, your mother, everyone from Cooper, me and Bill. It really was a wonderful party but your absence was overwhelming. There was a carrot cake, from a bakery I think. It was good but it wasn't yours.
Janet is having a pretty hard time with this but Debbie is helping her. She was seriously injured herself. No one blames her but being the driver makes it worse, even though it wasn't her fault. Hopefully, time will help her heal.
As for me Bobbie, I'm fine but I miss you more than I would have believed possible. Your friendship was a grace in my life. You were good, kind, gentle, wise. You were a wonderful mother, daughter, wife, sister, friend. You were, and are, loved. You will be always in our hearts, our memories, for as long as we all are here. Rest well....
IN LOVING MEMORY OF GRETCHEN HERSMAN
It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that In Defense of Animals announces the passing of our Midwest Regional Director Gretchen Hersman. Gretchen died on December 17 after a two-year struggle with cancer. All of us at In Defense of Animals are shocked and heartbroken at this loss.
Gretchen dedicated her life to helping animals. In her very quiet and unassuming way, she helped place hundreds of animals from local shelters. She also courageously investigated numerous puppy mills, documenting horrendous conditions, rescuing scores of sick and injured dogs, and pressing to shut the breeding operations down.
Gretchen kept her struggle with cancer to herself until her last weeks, wanting only to "keep doing her job." Two months before she died, Gretchen shut down a puppy mill in Iowa and convinced the authorities to confiscate 60 dogs from a living hell. Two weeks before she died, Gretchen emailed out a client list of a notorious dog dealer finally under USDA investigation. She kept fighting until the end.
In Memory Of My Dearly Beloved
Gone to her resting place, March 10, 2004.
Sweetie Pie was the love of my life. I rescued her - this wondrous, homeless cat.
She saved me from the loneliness and pain of advancing years. Bless her... this gentle cat.
Sweetie Pie, you are in my heart forever.
Your loving companion,