As I promised last week, I wanted to share more pictures of our adventures with animal advocate Kelly Backes and her St. Louis Blues hockey star husband David. Just after filming public service announcement in support of animal adoption, one of the Backes' own rescued dogs got lost and was away for a harrowing 24 hours.
Thankfully Rosey returned home virtually unharmed. I have no doubt that if she had not returned, Kelly and David would still be out looking for her now. These two advocates are tireless when it comes to helping animals, whether their own companions or shelter animals in need. They also see their role as a supportive one. According to Kelly, "We are trying to help others to help them."
Kelly and David share their home with three rescue dogs and two cats -- one of whom is missing an eye. If there is an opportunity to help an animal, David and Kelly are always there to help out by cleaning a kennel, fostering a nursing dog with pups, educating others, or raising funds and awareness.
Today I spoke with Kelly, who reports that Rosey has recuperated well from the 24 hour outing that had us all nervous wrecks. David was in the background preparing his pre-game dinner while tending to the mama foster dog who had been spayed earlier today. Kelly was clearing up after the three puppies while telling me about a very sad animal control call that she assisted with the previous day. These two are always right there in the trenches!
Kelly and David met in kindergarten and have been advocating for animals ever since. Kelly attributes much of her advocacy to her parents, who always took it upon themselves to offer help. She recalls her parents fostering and adopting animals that others could no longer care for and rescuing animals running in the road. Kelly feels her parents taught her an important lesson with regard to animals: with all the joy and love comes responsibility to offer proper care.
Kelly takes her role as an animal advocate very seriously. "I want to be a voice for them so they do not suffer," she told me. "I feel like I was put on this earth to help our four-legged friends know what compassion and love is. People so often say to me, 'Well I just see so many animals and it makes me sad, it seems my help is never enough,' and my response is always, 'doing SOMETHING is so much better than doing nothing.'"
When asked what kinds of things others can do, she replied, "It's amazing what a simple email or phone call can do to help an animal get saved. Even if a person helps just once a week, they can help with transport, sponsorship, donating food and litter. They can fix fences or bring hay to a shelter to keep outdoor animals warm. They can foster a mama cat and help her with her kittens. This is a great way for kids to see what love nurturing achieves."
Kelly's passion is amazing. She believes it is critical that people become educated about pet overpopulation As she puts it, "be curious, ask questions, and become aware of what rescue groups are doing in your own area. Learn the facts and be a voice for animals."
As Kelly was sharing her thoughts on advocacy, David piped up in the background, "We get SO much more than we give. These animals love us unconditionally and need our help."
Well said Mr. and Mrs. Backes! Let's all follow their lead and get involved. Helping animals is truly a team effort, and the team needs as many players as it can get!
Dr. Pia Salk
PS: Here are some of the groups that the Backes' work with and support:
Dedicated Veterinarian Dr. Ed- mentioned in photo gallery.
Photographer for Backes shoot: Brian Kuhlmann