How Your Choices Change the Story for the Animals


This Week’s Episode:

As my grandma Moo approaches her 100th birthday, she tells me she wants a kitty. What grandma wants, grandma gets. So I start my kitty hunt, deciding that an older feline will do the trick.

After hours of searching, I come across the dream kitty at Santa Barbara Humane. Her name’s Maribel, and I fall in love with her immediately. But I can’t get out that day to adopt her because of an Improv show I have to do that night. So I call and ask them to please hold on to this cat until the next morning.

The person on the other end, however, lets me know that they have a first come, first served policy for adoptions. And she can’t break the policy even after I explain that it’s for my 100-year-old grandmother.

“If the kitty isn’t adopted, she’s yours first thing in the morning,” she says.

So the next morning, my husband Mark and I get in the car in the pouring rain and make a stop at Petco for supplies on the two-hour drive to Santa Barbara Humane’s Santa Maria Campus. When we get there I announce, “We’re here to adopt Maribel.” Just then I notice another couple in the waiting area who says, “Oh, we’re here to adopt Maribel too.” My heart sinks. We’re five minutes too late from being first.

This other couple goes into the room to meet Maribel. We wait. When they reemerge they share that she won’t come out from under her chair to greet them, so they’ve decided to adopt another cat!

Hurray! Mark and I still have a shot at this and rush into the room. And wouldn’t you know it? Just as we sit down on the floor, this dream kitty for Moo instantly comes right out, plops herself down in Mark’s lap and starts purring away. (I secretly think she was hiding from the other couple on purpose because she knew we were the right humans to adopt her.)

Happy endings to stories like that happen every day, and today’s special guest gets to witness them personally. Kerri Burns is the CEO of Santa Barbara Humane. In this episode, she talks about what the Humane Society is all about, shares stories of some of the pets she’s fostered, reveals the three different types of cats, and discusses how the organization in Santa Barbara works with animals and people to make sure adoptions are a great fit for both. She also answers curious questions like:

How does a chihuahua in dire straits show the good intentions people can have? How is the Humane Society part of a bigger whole? And what amazing things does Santa Barbara Human do for animals (and humans)?

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What it means to think from the paws up
  • What misconception always comes up regarding stories of sheltered animals
  • How you can help change the story for animals in shelters

Who is Kerri?

Kerri Burns has served several roles in the Humane Society and other animal rights organizations across the country. She was the Interim Chief Executive Officer and President of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona in Tucson. Then she served as the President of Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando before moving on as Interim Executive Director of the Tree House Humane Society in Chicago, Illinois.

Previously, Kerri also assisted animals through some of the country’s greatest animal disasters through Animal Emergency Services Programs for the American Humane Association. She’s been recognized for her educational outreach on various animal welfare topics with the American Humane Association’s Dennis White Award and for her management of charitable giving for PetSmart Charities®. Currently, she’s the Chief Executive Officer for Santa Barbara Humane.

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