Thank You Ms. WinfreyPosted by Pamela Hart, Director of ALDF's Animal Law Program on March 25th, 2011
Recently, a program called Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims (SAAV) was featured in the “O” Magazine, in an article devoted to the link between domestic abuse and animal cruelty. As a non-profit organization, SAAV provides temporary shelter for animals of domestic abuse victims attempting to leave an abuse situation. Thank you Ms. Winfrey for highlighting this important issue and for tackling other important topics such as factory farming, puppy mills and hoarding!
So why am I blogging about SAAV? Well, it started with a simple question, “What is your dream job?”
This is one of the questions you ask yourself often, but not one you expect when you are interviewing for a clerkship position in law school. Clerkship questions tend to be practical… “What are your short and long-term goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? Strengths? Weaknesses? ” So when I was asked, “What is your dream job?” I was caught a bit off guard. At the time, however, the answer was a no-brainer, “Open an animal sanctuary.”
Well, this is where one of my favorite quotes comes into play – "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward." I did not open an animal sanctuary, but that interview, over a decade ago, led me down a path that makes sense now. During that interview, my would-be employer shared that the interviewee before me had the exact same answer to the “dream job” question.
Knowing I was not alone, I tracked down my fellow animal advocating law student, Megan Senatori, and we co-founded the above referenced SAAV program. Through our work with SAAV, my desire to use my law degree to advocate for animals was solidified.
While I was in law school, I began to passionately track ALDF’s work and was so impressed with their mission that I become an ALDF law student member. Post graduation, I joined ALDF’s Volunteer Attorney Network and had the privilege to work on a pro bono case with them. Fortunately, my volunteer work with ALDF eventually became permanent, and, currently, I am director of ALDF’s Animal Law Program.
While my definition of “dream job” has morphed overtime from opening an animal sanctuary to what I do today; the sentiment remains the same and can be best reflected in ALDF’s mission’s statement, “to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system.”
So a simple question such as, “What is your dream job,” looking backwards, makes a whole lot of sense now.