Friday, January 16, 2009

Debby Rubenstein - Animal Rescuer & Sanctuary Founder

Meet Extraordinary Ordinary Vegan -
Debby Rubenstein

Wagner Farm Rescue Fund & Have A Heart Farm
PO Box 2815, Glenview, IL 60025

What situation or event inspired you to become vegan?
The more rescues I did, the more connected I became with animals. Since I did my first formal rescue at age 11, I stared early, and I also primarily ate vegetarian growing up for numerous reasons. Also, respect for animals was a way of life in how I was raised.

Who or what was the biggest influence on your path?

When I was 9 years old, our apartment building had to be evacuated because of a basement-to-roof fire in hte building across the alley. We were given 10 minutes to get whatever belongings we wanted to take with us in case our building burned down, too. My mother spent the entire 10 minutes wrapping up our parakeet so he wouldn't get sick from being exposed to the outside air when we left the building. She told me that he couldn't take care of himself and that we had an obligation as his caregivers to protect him to the best of our ability.

While the parakeet was always a member of our family and never a pet, that left a permanent impression on me as to how important it is for humans to live up to our obligation to protect animals under all conditions with no excuses. As it turned out, we didn't have to leave the building after all, but the respect my parents showed for our parakeet is still one of my most memorable impressions.

My father also told me on a regular basis that a woman can do most anything a man can do, except that she'll ususally do it better becasue she'll put a special kind of heart into it. Both my parents taught me that with a kind heart and the will to do good in this world, anything can be accomplished.

All these examples have given me the confidence to stand up for what is right, and that is also how I am able to be as audacious as I need to be in order to make a positive difference.

What are your most significant accomplishments and / or the one(s) you are most proud?
My founding of the non-profit animal welfare organizations Wagner Farm Rescue Fund (WFRF) in 2002 and Have A Heart Farm (HAHF) in 2006. To date, WFRF has rescued 13 cattle and approximately 60 chickens that would have otherwise been killed by slaughter. WFRF continues to provide for life-long care of our rescues to ensure that they both live out their lives and pass on peacefully. Despite the vast challenges in doing this work, it is always humbling and rewarding to know that these animals are not only spared a brutal fate, but get to live good lives before passing on peacefully.

What goals are you still working toward?
The issues surrounding daily care of our animals, and establishing our own animal welfare/enviromental education center and sanctuary in the midwest.
What was or is your greatest challenge?

Funding for both the daily care and the sanctuary establishment. We have the basic plans and the knowledge of how to implement our plans, and we're working with capable and talented people who also know what to do to make our sanctuary a tribute to animals and their needs. What we basically lack currently is the finding to actually establish and maintain these plans.

What advice can you provide others regarding challenges and / or criticism they may encounter on their path?
Have and keep faith. Remember that if your mission is truly honorable and you don't give up, the people and circumstances that you need to succeed will be guided to you. Critics suffer from wounded self-love who have lost sight of the light. Use their criticism as stepping stones rather than letting them be obstacles. Stay polite and help them see the light of humaneness through your work. Always have a hand outstretched in peace, and remember to share resources. The best and only true way to receive love and resources are to give them as well.

Any final thoughts you would like to add?
Most of us don't choose out missions, the missions choose us. We are guided to the purpose that we were created for. When that Devine mission comes calling, be sure to answer. We may not know to the full extent what innocent lives are depending on us to do so and to keep answering that call. That knowledge will help keep a person going thru the worst of times.