19 Apr The Passion of Compassion
by Felicia Waldman
OWNING A DOG IS AT THE TOP OF ALMOST EVERY CHILD’S WISH LIST. This is a huge decision many parents choose to forego, often taking the goldfish route, or hoping that peeking at fluffy puppies through the pet store window will suffice. Jackie Goodman, a Los Angeles Pilates Plus instructor, and mom of two grade school children, decided to grant this wish for real. The Goodmans were all set to acquire a dog from a woman who no longer wanted it. When they went to get the dog, the woman had changed her mind. Imagine the look on Jackie’s kids faces. You know that look, and you know the inner beast that is a mom, now willing to conquer anything in her path to turn those heart breaking frowns into happiness.
A friend told her about an amazing website, Petfinder.com. “The first dog that came up was named Penny Lane and it was love at first sight. I had to have her!” said Jackie. “She was at a rescue called Saving K9 Lives Plus in Encino, close to my home. I called them immediately.”
Saving K9 Lives Plus is a nonprofit animal rescue. It was founded in 2011 by owners Jasmin Kimball, a former model and actress, and Bobby Kimball, the lead singer for the group Toto. They adopted their first dog in 2005, and they saw firsthand the dire needs of animal shelters. They now devote much of their lives to provide public awareness of the growing population of homeless animals, and animals being euthanized. If they arrive at the crowded shelters too ill or injured to be considered adoptable, they are soon euthanized. Jasmin and Bobby began fostering and finding homes for these special needs dogs. They host annual fundraising concerts called K9 Crusade, bringing together many well known musicians, including Bobby of course, and an amazing auction of donated goodies to help fund the medical costs for the ailing dogs.
The Goodmans did adopt Penny Lane ten months ago from Jasmin and Bobby’s rescue. She was recovering from a severe dog bite wound and an ear infection, and could not go home with the Goodmans until she was healthy. Jackie and her children, Max, age 9 and Ashley, age 12, went to visit Penny Lane every day after school. The children learned how to take care of her as well as the other dogs in the rescue.
By the time the Goodmans brought Penny Lane home they already knew that fostering was in their blood. They have since fostered 8 dogs and helped find homes for at least 10. Max and Ashley have been profoundly affected by the experience. Ashley did all of her school’s Community Service requirement by helping Jasmin. She walked, bathed, and helped care for the dogs at the rescue, helped out with paperwork, and helped with the “K9 Crusade” Fundraiser.
“One of the best stories,” Jackie recalls, “Jasmine called last summer, and asked me to go to the shelter with her to see a poodle named Abbie, ‘She’s terrified, hiding in the corner, she’s going to be euthanized,’ said Jasmine, ‘I think she’d be a good foster for you, but you have to bring your son Max. If the dog is freaking out and terrified of kids you can’t take her.’ So Max, my mom, and I met Jasmine at the shelter. Abbie was terrified, dirty, and just a mess. I said, ‘Max, do you want to hold her?’, and he looked at me, and I took the dog, and put her in Max’s arms, and she just melted into his arms, like ‘Oh my god, thank you for holding me’. My mom and I were in tears, because this dog was shaking and terrified and crying, and then the minute Max held her she just went like “ahhhhh”. And it was the greatest thing. We took her home, and she literally hid in the corner. We fed her and she ate like she hadn’t had food in a year! By the second night she wanted to come upstairs and sleep in our bed, she would not be downstairs alone. Luckily my husband Steven loves the fosters as much as we do! She was the greatest dog. We fostered Abbie for a while, got her bathed and cleaned up, and then she was adopted by a lovely woman. It was amazing to see her before and after – it made me realize why I do this.”
THE HUMAN CONNECTION
Jackie has seen the biggest difference in young Max, “He’s become so much gentler and empathetic. At first Jasmin was a little afraid of him with the small dogs, and now she just says “Ok, go take the dogs”, because he’s so amazing with them. It used to be just Ashley, but now when I say I have to go to Jasmin’s, Max says “I’m coming! I want to go see the dogs!” Because I think that experience with Abbie changed him. I think he really saw the connection between a human and a dog and how it can change a dog’s life.”
Changing dog’s lives is obviously changing the Goodman’s lives. Since adopting Penny Lane ten months ago, Jackie has been named a board member of Saving K9 Lives Plus. She devotes many hours to helping Jasmin and Bobby with their quest to save more dogs from being euthanized. “My first statement would be, PLEASE adopt, don’t buy a dog!” says Goodman, “If people saw what the puppy mill dogs go through, they sit in cages their entire life, just breeding and breeding them. By the time they’re five or six years old they are so worn out they can’t breed anymore, so they put them to sleep or dump them. And people buy these little puppies at pet stores or at breeders and have no idea what the mommies went through. It’s miserable. That’s why I love before and after pictures because people look at rescue dogs like they’re dirty or, oh, they have this or that. Give them a month of love and they’re amazing.”
For more information on adopting a pet, becoming a foster, or making any kind of donation, please visit Jasmin and Bobby Kimball’s website: savingk9livesplus.org.
The K9 Crusade annual fundraiser page: k9crusade.org