It seems all of today’s headlines and news stories are focused on acts of violence or the latest news on celebrity activities. But what about ordinary, everyday people doing extraordinary things? How about genuinely good people who are living their lives with the goal of helping others, and making a change in the world that will affect not only themselves but future generations?
Joey Herrick is one of these modern day heroes who has devoted his life, not to material gain and fortune but to improving the lives of shelter pets, those whose lives hang in the balance every day because there are too many of them. Joey spent 29 years selling Natural Balance Pet Food. Over the course of those 29 years, he not only sold the food but donated millions of pounds of it to local animal shelters. Not to be a hero or to receive accolades for being a good guy but because, according to him “It was the moral thing to do.”
Over a year ago when Joey was entertaining thoughts of retirement, he visited the Camarillo Animal Shelter in California and took a tour of the facility. Although Joey was impressed with the amount of love and care the animals received at the hands of the staff, it did not take away from the fact that they, like many other shelters have to euthanize animals for space. Ideally they would like to be a “no kill” shelter but reality is working against them; 20 animals can be adopted out in a weekend but 30 more will come in to take their place. In the U.S. alone, over four million dogs and cats are put down each year in shelters. That’s over 80,000 a week.
The main factor that leads to this staggering ratio is, many people do not spay or neuter their pets, so puppies and kittens just keep multiplying. Unless people make the responsible choice and spay and neuter their pets the problem is never going to stop. Joey Herrick made a vow that day that he was going to come up with a program that would not only take care of the pet overpopulation at the Camarillo Animal Shelter, but all around the country. Thus, “The Lucy Pet Foundation” was born. Named in honor of Herrick’s own rescue dog.
As The Lucy Pet Foundation nears its one year anniversary, Joey Herrick agreed to be interviewed for The Examiner to tell us about his work with the foundation and the long term goals.
Denise: Where is The Lucy Pet Foundation located?
Joey: Thousand Oaks California
Denise: Is The Lucy Pet Foundation an animal shelter or is providing spay and neuter services its main function?
Joey: It’s not a shelter but a mobile spay and neuter service. We also get involved in current affairs such as the fight to end death via gas chambers, pet overpopulation and educating the public and children on how they can help end pet overpopulation. We also work in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club in East. L.A.
Denise: When was The Lucy Pet Foundation founded?
Joey: The first spay and neuter event took place on October 18th 2013. Now we have 2 vans, one of which is going to Bakersfield, California and will be staying there due to the huge pet overpopulation. It will travel all around Kern County.
Denise: Since its inception, what kind of work has the foundation done for animals and rescues in the area?
Joey: 3500 animals have been spayed and neutered and 6000 animals have received vaccinations.
Denise: Is the foundation run by volunteers or actual staff members?
Joey: We started out with Dr. Karen Halligan as the Chief Veterinary Officer and also a registered Vet Tech. We also have a marketing person, and a person to drive the bus 3-4 days a week. But honesty, all of the tasks are shared among all of us. We all clean the bus and I often drive the bus myself. We are starting to get volunteers to help out with the events. They do not work on the bus but assist outside. All pets that are brought in have to be examined by a vet prior to the surgery. Some are turned away based on obesity or age as the surgery could be dangerous for them.
Denise: Joan Rivers is seen on video on your website, what was the late celebrity’s involvement with the foundation?
Joey: Joan was a spokesperson who came to events. The last one she attended was in March. She graciously met everyone and signed autographs offstage. She was so nice, very charitable and very much an animal lover. She has always loved dogs and has adopted 9 shelter dogs over the years.
Denise: What are some future plans for the Lucy Pet Foundation?
Joey: The long term goal will be to try and unite all rescue groups under one umbrella. I would like The Lucy Pet Foundation to be a large charity that is able to assist other smaller charities.
Denise: If readers would like to learn more and contribute to help the Lucy Pet Foundation, what can they do?
Joey: Visit our website at http://www.lucypetfoundation.org.
Thank you Joey Herrick for your work and dedication to reducing the pet overpopulation and bringing about much needed shelter reform. Maybe one day we will experience a world where no dogs or cats are killed merely because there is no room for them.
“A righteous man regards the life of animals” – PROVERBS 12:10
This story was first published on Examiner.com and is reposted here with the permission of the author.