And then the Dogs…


This is my accep­tance speech of the 2016 “Ani­mal Wel­fare Hero” Award at the Bal­ti­more Humane Soci­ety Black Tie and Tails Gala & Ben­e­fit held on March 16th, 2016…

Good evening to everyone.

I am so pleased to win the Oscar for Actor of the Year. Receiv­ing this award is such an amaz­ing honor. I dreamt about this moment since I was a child…(ar-ar :-)

The invi­ta­tion said black tie optional, sense of humor required!

Seri­ously, I would like to thank the Bal­ti­more Humane Soci­ety for hon­or­ing me as the 2016 Ani­mal Wel­fare Hero. This recog­ni­tion comes as an unex­pected sur­prise, because there are a lot of peo­ple out there that do so much more than I. Every­thing I’ve done to help the cause I’ve done because I thought it’s just what you’re sup­posed to do. You just jump in.

Although I’ve been around ani­mals my entire life and an ani­mal artist for much of it, I only stum­bled into ani­mal res­cue since mov­ing to Bal­ti­more in 1995.

Grow­ing up in Ver­mont my fam­ily had the req­ui­site happy go lucky coun­try dogs, Col­lies, Golden Retriev­ers, Yel­low Labs and a num­ber of indoor/outdoor cats. They were all loved and well kept.  My aware­ness of ani­mal abuse was minimal.

As a visual artist I’m very aware of my sur­round­ings. In Bal­ti­more I couldn’t help but notice the dogs in my own neigh­bor­hood that were appar­ently being ignored and neglected.

In one block alone I con­fronted the own­ers and res­cued 5 dogs over the course of two years. Each res­cue was slightly dif­fer­ent. For one, I sim­ply knocked on the front door and asked for the dog that was freez­ing to death in the back­yard. They said noth­ing and didn’t bat an eye; the per­son went and got the dog, handed her over and slammed the door. Her name was Silky and she hap­pily jumped into my van.

The most impor­tant res­cue, at least the one dear­est to me, hap­pened about 7 years ago. In my daily rou­tine I noticed a lit­tle brown dog in the bro­ken cement back­yard of a run­down aban­doned row house in the city. He was a dirty, small, very thin Pit­bull, he was not too remark­able except for the heavy motor­cy­cle chain attached to his neck with a tight leather col­lar. After keep­ing an eye on him for a few days, it became clear that he’d been aban­doned, either the owner had lost inter­est and stopped feed­ing him, or he was pos­si­bly on his way to be a bait dog. The fence door was open and he will­ingly came over to me, I removed his col­lar from his raw neck, the ridicu­lous heavy chain fell away. He jumped into my van and off we went.

We really weren’t look­ing for a dog, espe­cially a Pit Bull, but I instantly fell in love with him and I secretly knew we’d keep him despite our house full of cats. We named him Super Lou, he took about a year to recover from his mal­nu­tri­tion and neglect and in the process he changed our per­cep­tion of the breed and he changed our lives.

Since then I have through my art been able to raise money and aware­ness for other ani­mals just like Super Lou allow­ing them to wig­gle their way into our hearts and lives.

So it is with great honor that I accept this award on behalf of my best man Super Lou.”