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Influence Positively Interview: Richard Avanzino

Widely viewed as the "dog-father" of the ‘no-kill’ movement, Rich Avanzino has had a major influence on companion animal welfare over his 38 years in the industry.
As President of Maddie’s Fund®, Rich directs the family foundation’s $300 million endowment effort to revolutionize the status and well being of companion animals. And to achieve and sustain a no-kill nation by providing solutions to the most challenging issues facing the animal welfare community through the combined efforts of Maddie's InstituteSM (research and education), Maddie's® Adoption Program (foster-based adoptions) and Maddie's® Grant Giving. Maddie’s Fund has awarded more than $150 million in grants since 1999.
Read Rich's answers to our five lighthearted questions and learn how like most of us, he's happiest when relaxing with his pets.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness for me starts everyday by trying to guarantee all of America’s dogs and cats have a loving home. Also, I am happiest when relaxing with my pets and family.

If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be & why?
I would come back as a dog. Dogs are great at providing unconditional love to us without judging us on our flaws. And car rides and unlimited belly rubs with my best friend, wouldn’t be too bad either.

What is your pets’ most treasured possession?
My pets’ most treasured possession is me. They have taught me what to do, when to do it, and how to have fun with it. They get what they want, when they want it and they know I am always there for them. They know I love them and I know they love me, we are each other’s treasure.

Your proudest achievement so far?
My proudest achievement is helping to lead the creation of a No-Kill Nation.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My real life heroes are Martin Luther King and Dave Duffield. Martin Luther King was a revolutionary and knew that what he was doing was the right thing. He never lost the faith that we could be a better people and a better country. He did this in spite of criticism and disparagement. He was courageous in his convictions. Dave Duffield is a man whose integrity and values are exemplary. He has leveraged his considerable wealth to revolutionize the status and well being of companion animals, when others in his peer group have seemed reluctant to do so. I would like to see more people follow his leadership.


But wait, there's more

We believe there are many people out there busy trying to postively influence the lives of animals.  Do you know someone? Tell us in an email who needs a spotlight shined on their work!


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