“peek a boo” by artsypho
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Melissa Wiley, managing editor at Tails, spoke with actress Bonnie Hunt about life, laughter, and the comical dogs who make Bonnie’s life whole. Here Melissa reflects on what it was like to interview Bonnie, who in addition to actress is an inspiring animal rescuer, writer, comedienne, and oncology nurse.
As seasoned a performer and comedienne as Bonnie Hunt is, there was nothing “on stage” about her demeanor when I spoke with her—no one could have been more down to earth. One of the first things I detected from her voice was real pathos, which only deepened as she spoke in more detail about the rescued dogs in her life.
Then, as she told me the stories of how she had rescued various dogs in her life, a lesser-known aspect of Bonnie grew in intensity—the writer. Her verbal wit was delightfully versatile. By equal turns, she created images both comic and heart wrenching. And as we continued to talk, I realized more and more how truly her ability to celebrate life through comedy comes from her extraordinary empathy with suffering. So when she briefly relayed her professional transition from oncology nurse to improvisational comedian on the Second City stage, it hardly came as a surprise, but seemed refreshingly consistent with Bonnie’s giving nature.
And true to character for someone like Bonnie Hunt, the resounding theme of our talk was her appreciation for the dogs in her life. She even remarked toward the end of the interview how dogs have “rescued” her many times. To which I responded that laughter too—which Bonnie specializes in eliciting from audiences everywhere—is often the best medicine, for any ailment. Bonnie graciously agreed, launching into further moving anecdotes about past dogs of hers who used to serve as therapy dogs. As the end of our talk drew near, I definitely got the feeling that there was no end to these stories. Of course, the interview ended in a note of humor and praise—for who else?—Charlie, the endlessly entertaining four-legged love of her life and co-cover star on this month’s issue of Tails.
Read Melissa’s interview with Bonnie—which appears in our March issue—here.
Superbowl Sunday, as millions of Americans crowded around TVs to watch the game, the Denny’s restaurant group surprised us. It ran a commercial-within-a-commercial that featured a man sitting before one of Denny’s “Grand Slam” breakfasts. He was addressing–in a matter-of-fact tone–an audience of chickens. And the chickens were doing various weekend things–sitting at home watching TV with their loved ones, playing pool in a bar, shopping for electronics.
“I don’t want to spoil anyone’s Sunday, but I have an important message for all you chickens out there: GET OUT OF TOWN,” the man in the commercial-within-a-commercial said.
Why? Because, he explained, Denny’s was offering a free Grand Slam breakfast (pancakes, eggs) to everyone in America.
The advertisement shocked Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, a national farm animal protection organization. “Denny’s inadvertently delivered a powerful animal protection message to millions of Super Bowl fans. It’s not every day that a major restaurant chain makes a public acknowledgment of the animal suffering that goes into the creation of their menu items, but that is precisely what Denny’s did with their ‘Chicken Warning’ ads,” Baur said in a press release.
As apprehensions clearly mounted among the feathered viewers, the Denny’s man continued, “That’s a lot of eggs! So rest assured, ladies. It’s gonna be a rough week for you egg layers.”
But most hens don’t spend just one week laying eggs, or have time to relax on Sundays. On factory farms, where the majority of our country’s chickens and chicken-products come from, the animals live packed in wire cages and dark warehouses. According to Baur, “The spoken message that ‘it’s going to be a tough week for egg layers’ couldn’t have been more spot on. The cruel way these sensitive, intelligent birds are treated on America’s factory farms is incongruent with Americans’ values of compassion.”
In their various locations, the chickens began to scream and fly into each other, frantic as the man on the commercial finished, “Great day to be an American. Bad day to be a chicken.”
Baur, meanwhile, urges Americans to “remember that we are a nation that has always prided itself on fighting injustice and reaching out to those in need, rather than tolerating the torture and abuse of individuals less powerful than ourselves. Regardless of whether or not people found the ads humorous, Denny’s made the connection between animal suffering and the food on their menu, giving viewers a glimpse at the nasty truth behind eggs.”
View the ad on YouTube here.
Jordan Star, a high school sophomore in Massachusetts, filed a bill with the state’s legislature to outlaw the devocalization of animals throughout Massachusetts. The bill is currently in the third reading committee.
Devocalization is the practice of cutting an animals vocal cords to stifle its voice. “It’s inhumane, risky, and more common than you would think,” Star wrote via email, adding that some breeders devocalize their animals in order to keep noise levels from disturbing their surrounding neighbors.
Nearly 60 legislative cosponsors have backed the bill, titled HB 344. Additionally, more than 20 humane societies and shelters and 200 veterinarians have endorsed it statewide. “The public overwhelmingly opposes devocalization. Still, the bill has been facing a lot of opposition from powerful lobbies who profit from devocalization,” Star wrote.
To show support for HB 344, contact House Speaker Robert DeLeo at (617) 722.2500.
For more information…
Meet victims of devocalization: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZPoyuMw870
Hear the experts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ADbMoX4aw
Does Valentine’s Day get your goat?
Too much of a chicken to get a date for the big night?
Reluctant to buy chocolates that you’ll only pig out on later?
Feeling sheepish that you still don’t know what to get your loved one?
Farm Sanctuary has the solution for your valentine’s woes with its Warm Hearts and Save Lives by Sponsoring a Farm Animal in Need program. As the largest rescue and refuge organization for farm animals in North America, with locations in New York and California, Farm Sanctuary has plenty of four-footed and feathered friends who would benefit from your love this Valentine’s Day.
So ditch the romantic jitters and sponsor a barnyard of critters. Donations from sponsors provide rescued farm animals with food, veterinary care, and safe refuge. In return, sponsors receive a certificate featuring a color photo of their adopted animal, the opportunity to attend a VIP tour to meet their new farm friend, and the satisfaction of supporting an organization that has saved more than 12,000 farm animals from abuse and neglect.
Visit action.farmsanctuary.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=15801.0&printer_friendly=1 to check out McDreamy the duck and the other animals awaiting your Valentine’s Day sponsorship. —Joy Schmoll