TRACIE HOTCHNER: JUDGED BY THE COMPANY WE KEEP – WHY ELLEN MATTERS TO ME AND TO HALO

newtracie2I grew up learning that we can be judged by the company we keep. And as life has gone on, I have certainly embraced that mantra for myself, both personally and professionally. Mindful of the possible effect I have on pets and their people as I have become someone whose advice is followed, I give especially careful consideration to every decision I make about the companies I want to partner with and the products I use myself and recommend.

I have done that ever since I finished writing THE DOG BIBLE and THE CAT BIBLE and then developed my platform as a radio producer and host, first on DOG TALK on NPR, then on CAT CHAT on SiriusXM and now on the wide range of programs I co-host on the Radio Pet Lady Network. I take my position of influence very seriously and am both honored and humbled that people listen and care about what I have to say and the experts I offer to them on the air and on my websites. I view it as a privilege and pleasure to be trusted to educate and inspire pet owners and improve the health and quality of life for their dogs and cats.

I also have a weekly podcast on the website of the Humane Society of the United States which is called HUMANE TALK – which are discussions every week with Wayne Pacelle, the CEO of HSUS, which is an honor in itself that this incredibly passionate and dedicated animal welfare advocate takes the time to create these recorded conversations with me about issues affecting all animals around the planet. In consider myself lucky to be “keeping company” by someone with Wayne’s intelligence, compassion, humor and a lifetime of being true to what he believes and wants to achieve for all creatures on the planet.

There is somebody else who values his ideals and ideas as much as I do – maybe more so – and her name is Ellen DeGeneres. Just last week she invited Wayne back on her wonderful ELLEN show because he reached out and said there as an urgent bill coming up in Washington that would put a stop to cruel practices of “soring” inflicted on Tennessee Walking horses. Ellen made time for him on short notice so that her millions of followers could learn about this pending legislation and call or write their representatives to help get the bill passed.

Ellen’s devotion to animal welfare issues is legendary, and Wayne Pacelle quite rightly called her “the foremost celebrity or public figure speaking up for animal welfare issues.” He also gratefully pointed out it was the fifth time Ellen had invited him on her show – showing that she, too, believes that the company you keep matters and the things that are important always come first.

Ellen went an incredible step further and said that if 25,000 people shared her interview with Wayne from her Facebook page that she would donate $25,000 to the HSUS for this initiative. The minute I read Wayne’s blog about his visit to ELLEN I rushed to her FB page to do as she asked and hope to help make this goal possible – but found that within hours (minutes?) the number had already surpassed 25,000 and to my delight I was just another person happy to be judged by the company I was keeping – with both of them, but also with all the legions of pet lovers around the country who share Wayne Pacelle and Ellen’s dedication.

There’s another “company I keep” and that is HALO. Ellen owns part of it. She gives away a lot of it. She cares about what goes into the food and she cares about the health of everyone’s pets, not just her own menagerie. She’s a truly amazing lady, and this wonderful company she is part of makes me proud to be keeping company with them.

Tracie Hotchner, author of The Dog Bible and The Cat Bible, guest blogs here every Thursday on healthy, natural choices for pets.

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