Kim Clune, a web designer and writer by trade, shares her joy of animal rescue, fostering and adoption atThisOneWildLife.com. She co-founded BtC4animals.com (with the brilliant Amy Burkert), to rally animal advocates behind one cause each week and to Blog the Change for Animals four times each year.
With her strong sense of devotion to animals, it’s fitting that Kim married Tim Clune, Director of Dog Adoptions at a local rescue. Many of their first dates were spent at adoption clinics and their house is constantly filled with fosters and rescues. (At the moment this includes a Newf, a hound, two orange tabbies and three birds.)
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness – what is that, exactly? I suppose life would be stagnant without the push and pull of opposing forces and, although not all of those forces make us happy, they create constant motion and beautiful mysteries that I greatly appreciate. In the face of adversity, I feel best when I’m challenged, learning and working toward improving the things that I feel I can change. This makes me truly happy.
Of course, laying in the grass with my husband and dogs or being covered by sleeping cats on the couch is pretty darn near perfect. No, wait! Swirling cool, creamy vanilla ice cream around my mouth while covered by the warmth of sleeping cats on the couch, my husband next to me, and dogs sleeping at my feet… THAT is perfect happiness.
If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be and why?
I would love to be a cat. A cat’s insatiable curiosity and creativity captivates me, as does their grace and balance. Every movement is living art, even while asleep.
Sleep… I admire a cat’s ability to nap in any place at any time. Just once I would love to sleep like a cat who, unlike a dog, never feels the need to get up and bark because it’s their job. As it stands, I’m far too dog-like in this life, waking daily to my need to bark –writing either prose or code to communicate. Today is no exception.
What is your pets’ most treasured possession?
My animals’ favorite possessions are each other. I’m not speaking in terms of some Zen-like appreciation on a cosmic level, although that’s true too. I mean, the Newf’s tail is a cat toy. The hound’s chew toy is the Newf’s ears. Both cats see the dogs as surrogate mothers, throwing themselves at the dogs’ feet for a morning bath. And, since the cats are best at tearing open feed bags, the dogs follow them looking for snacks.
Your proudest achievement so far?
The younger, directionless me hop-scotched through the air as an international flight attendant and traveled the country as a jam band web-mistress. That is, until I witnessed the World Trade Center attacks in person.
While it took several years to recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, at some point I picked myself up and returned to school for a second degree. I became obsessed with cultural studies through literature, graduated top of my class and was published. Through it all, I learned a most valuable lesson. Nurturing growth within myself was necessary before I could impact others positively. I’m proud to have figured that out.
Deeply moved by the overwhelming need in the developing countries I visited while flying, I spent a summer in Have (Hah-vey), Ghana, volunteering with ambitious and dedicated villagers. My work focused on preserving the Weto mountain range by teaching sustainable farming practices, preparing the community library for opening, raising awareness about the poor treatment of people with disabilities and animals, and coming home to work closely with Village Volunteers, the organization I travelled through. Overall, I’m most proud to have been thought of as a useful member of the Have community and to still be considered a friend.
I find that a bit of each lesson I’ve learned along the way permeates all I do, from writing newsletter articles to designing BtC4animals.com - which I am also proud to have created with Amy (with valuable input from our husbands).
Who are your heroes in real life?
That’s easy. I have two (at least).
Shana Greene, executive director of Village Volunteers is someone I look up to and consider a dear, dear friend. She works so hard to nurture a network of village communities in Kenya, Ghana, India, Nepal and Belize – never entering in as a charitable Western hero but supporting people in a way that helps them to help themselves through skills development, water management and sustainable farming.
Saving the best for last, my greatest hero is my husband. He has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of the disabled and, when he isn’t busy loving us, he’s helping animals in need. He has taught me a great deal about rescue, law, liberty, life and love. Whether at work, home or play, he always makes me proud.