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My Birthday Wish

Today is my birthday. And my birthday gift to me is taking this moment to say thank you to you. To each and every one of you. Thank you for caring about the animals. Thank you for loving the animals. Thank you for being the voice for the animals. For they too deserve to be heard.

My birthday wish is to see the end of animal abuse. End it forever. Finished. Kaput. Done. To stop any and all animal suffering. To end the agony that these majestic friends far too frequently endure when people choose to do bad things. Or simply, when people do not take the time to understand.

May we someday find a way to educate those who bring harm so they can learn what they have done is wrong. So that someday, they too can celebrate and enjoy the unconditional love of an animal friend.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — Mohandas Gandhi

For my birthday this is my wish. Because the animals deserve that wish. For each and every one of them. Whatever they are. Wherever they are. For they deserve better. Especially for those already gone at the hands of abuse. That have suffered. That have known pain.

May they rest in peace. Running on rainbows. Sleeping in clouds. May they know the smiles they brought. May they know they were loved. And that they will not be forgotten.

Please know that every wish I wish for the animals I wish for the people too. Adults and kids alike. Because we share this fine earth together. Even for those who bring harm and may not seemingly deserve that wish, I still wish it. Because that wish brings hope.

And with that wish, I hope today will bring a better day for all. For all animals. For all creatures. For all people. For all beings. For all living things great and small. That is my birthday wish.

“You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” — Mohandas Gandhi

On my birthday I thank every single person who fuels The Pongo Fund forward. Getting up and showing up time and time and time again to make a difference for those less fortunate. There are far too many names to mention here, but please know you are important and appreciated and loved. And at our core, you are the heart and soul of The Pongo Fund. Because everything we do, we do together.

You give with heart and you give with joy and you are the core group of dedicated souls who have defied the odds and proven that impossible is possible. And I thank you.

“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” ~ Muhammad Ali

On my birthday I thank 21 year-old Pongo for being who he was. The grand spirit of life who knew it was all about love, kindness and joy. And great food. He lived large and he lived long and against impossible odds he thrived, outliving his years many times over. Always with zest and gusto and love. He blessed my life for many years. But the 19 years we had together were still not enough. And I miss him.

And I thank Scooby, my 22 year-old beagle buddy, for the love and friendship he brought that went beyond anything I could have ever dreamed. The love and friendship that he still brings today. Because he’s here. Not the way you think. But he is, and I know you understand. He is my compass. My guide. No matter where he sleeps at night he still is all that he was and will continue to be. My Dalai Lama. My Gandhi. My Buddha.

He has lived long enough to know what’s important and what’s not. He is an inspiration. His soul is pure. His heart is full. And I am lucky to have him as a mentor.

And I thank Lola, for her love and patience in teaching me Lola’s Way. Especially for the birthday kisses she greeted with this morning at 4am when she decided it was time to get up. The moon was full, the air warm. Lola knew that and wanted to make sure I knew it too. So we danced under the morning sky and said blessings on this first day of Spring.

“If the only prayer you say in life is thank you, that would suffice.” — Meister Eckhart

With complete gratitude to each one of you, I have the honor and privilege of doing the work that many only dream of. I am truly blessed. And with you as the wind, together we have provided more than 21 million meals and saved the lives of more than 175,000 beloved animals, keeping them safe and healthy and out of the shelters. We have fed them with great food, we have healed them with lifesaving medical care. And each time we have helped the animals, we have helped their people too. Because that’s how it works. Because we are all connected.

This isn’t about us or them; this is about doing what’s right. And if by helping one we are able to help all, then by all means, that is what we shall do.

“Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.” ~ Leonard Cohen

For my next year and each one of the many thereafter, my wish for myself is that I will ring more bells. That I will be more understanding. More compassionate. More patient. More forgiving. And that I will always err on the side of kindness.

If nothing else I hope that I will bring the same kind of love and kindness that our animal friends bring. Because if I can do that, I will have done well.

“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, I can do or any kindness that I can show… let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.” — Stephen Grillet

And one more thing. You are loved!

~ Larry Chusid, The Pongo Fund, March 20, 2021.

PS: I’ve learned over the years that many people have taken my words and reposted them as their own. But they are not. I do appreciate the compliment, but would also appreciate others including my name and The Pongo Fund in the posting. Because the words mean far less without the heart behind them. Thank you.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.