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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Making the Change

Published 12/01/08
By Nicole G. Paquette, Esq., Senior Vice President

As the New Year fast approaches, I am reminded about all the wonderful things that I am grateful for and all the hopes I have for change in the New Year. I find that people do not do this quite enough, we tend to get caught up in the all the negatives of the year when we should be reflecting on the positives.

What if we all took the time to make a list of everything we are thankful for in 2008? These do not have to be big things or even life-altering, just something that brought a smile to your face throughout the year. If we all did this, just think of all the positive energy we would be creating and we then can turn this positive energy into change in 2009. This energy could be directed to your family, friends, or to your favorite cause, which for me would be ending the suffering of animals in this country.

So here goes ... I am grateful that the blood work for one of my cat came back and his medication is working. I am grateful that my dog and other cat have been healthy this year (knock on wood). I am grateful that I celebrated my 5-year wedding anniversary with my loving and supportive husband. I am grateful that I have the most amazing group of girlfriends in my life. I am grateful that I was able to help close down a roadside zoo in Ohio. I am grateful that I can finally do pushups ... etc.

I can go on and on, but you get the picture. All of the things that I am grateful for are going to help me make 2009 even better not only for me but of course for the animals.

One experience in 2008 probably changed me the most — I was able to fulfill my lifetime dream of going to Kenya to see animals in the wild. This experience was truly life-altering ... I cannot even begin to explain how amazing the trip was. I was able to see lions, cheetahs, buffalos, wildebeests, hippos, rhinos, and of course elephants, all being free. As I sat and watched these animals I could not believe that in the US we take all of these animals and put them in captivity, depriving them of their ability to move and be with family, and we do this all in the name of “entertainment.”

This trip renewed my passion to help captive and wild animals alike. I know that, for me, I am going to work for historic changes in 2009 for captive animals in the US. I have my fingers crossed that Ringling Bros. will be found in violation of the Endangered Species Act for its abusive treatment toward its elephants and that the end of the use of elephants will shortly follow as a result. I know you may think this is a dream, but who would have thought that in 2009 the US would have an African American president? Change can and will happen!

So I ask all of you to make your list of what you are thankful for and what you hope to achieve in 2009. You never know ... it might just happen.

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