We’ve all heard the expression “In the right place at the right time.” This past week, a man named Kai Lawrence became famous for exactly that. He was just a hitchhiker, homefree (do not call him “homeless”) and trying to get from one place to another by catching rides with strangers.
One of those strangers turned out to have mental issues and assaulted a couple of people. Kai jumped in and disabled the attacker. The TV news report of the incident went viral – to no surprise.
Not only was Kai in the right place at the right time; he did the right thing. That made all the difference.
Six years ago this Thursday, which is also Valentine’s Day, I found myself in the right place at the right time to do my right thing, so I started the Cesar Millan Foundation to promote animal welfare by supporting the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of abused and abandoned dogs; to establish and fortify community human education programs and curricula; and to build a balance between dogs and people.
The problem of abandoned and homeless dogs is a world-wide phenomenon. There are six hundred million unwanted dogs on the planet, and over six million dogs and cats are destroyed every year in the United States alone. One of the Foundation’s primary missions is to raise awareness about the importance of spaying and neutering pets and its direct impact on overpopulation.
In the past six years, the Foundation has done a lot for animal welfare. We have donated over $1 million to support Humane Education, including over $ 250,000 in direct grants, and we support more than 3,000 no-kill shelter affiliates, saving thousands of animals suffering from abuse and neglect.
The Mutt-i-grees Program has reached nearly 100,000 students in 2,000 schools, and Daddy’s Emergency Animal Rescue (DEAR) Fund has aided dogs affected by hurricane Katrina, the Fukushima earthquake, and last year’s wildfires in Colorado. We have also aided dogs rescued from fighting rings in the Philippines, and are constantly working toward the passage of stronger laws to protect animals and punish abusers.
Our Second Annual National Family Pack Walk brought together 10,000 people and 5,000 dogs on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., raising awareness of the plight of abandoned, abused, and neglected dogs internationally.
I see all of these accomplishments and am very proud to be a part of them. There is still so much more to do, but I believe that we can do it. Whether it involves donating money to the Foundation, donating your time to a shelter, or opening your home to a rescue dog doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we work together toward the goal of raising awareness and creating a humane planet for our canine friends.
We are fortunate in that we can put ourselves in the right place at the right time when it comes to helping dogs, but we need to take that extra step and also do the right thing — and keep doing it until the abandoned, abused, and homeless dogs of the world are all home free.