Women Work to Improve Lives for Animals

Women Work to Improve Lives for Animals
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With the adoption of two kittens, I began to think about women who have worked to make lives better for animals – as well as humans. Match the woman with her accomplishment.

____ 1. The second woman to win the Iditarod, this four-time Iditarod winner, made year-round care of the sled dogs the norm, not the exception.

____ 2. In 1929, she established The Seeing Eye, Inc. to train and provide guide dogs to blind owners.

____ 3. Her work with gorillas in Rwanda was portrayed in the 1988 movie Gorillas in the Mist.

____ 4. A spokesperson for autism and handling of cattle, she serves as a professor of animal science at Colorado State University.

____ 5. Founded Friends of the Animals in 1957 which has evolved from a cat and dog protection program in New York City to efforts around the world for all animals.

  1. Dorothy Eustis
  2. Alice Herrington
  3. Dian Fossey
  4. Susan Butcher
  5. Temple Grandin

Dorothy Eustis began selective breeding of German shepherd dogs in 1921 for their intelligence, loyalty, and disposition. Upon receiving a letter from a blind veteran from Tennessee named Morris Frank, Eustis matched him with a dog from her kennel in Switzerland to serve as a guide dog. Frank received much publicity and in 1929, Eustis established The Seeing Eye, Inc., in the U.S. Eustis served as President of The Seeing Eye until 1940. At the time of her death in 1946, this pioneering guide dog organization had supplied over 1,300 guide dogs to owners. Eustis has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

In 1957, Alice Herrington founded Friends of the Animals in New York City. Serving as its president until 1986, Herrington expanded the reach of the organization from its original mission of protecting cats and dogs to encompass protection of animals in zoos, in the wild, and in the oceans. Today, Friends of the Animals’ international headquarters is in Connecticut, the organization has a sanctuary in San Antonio, Texas and it sponsors two projects in Africa.

A woman whose name is associated with gorillas in Rwanda, Dian Fossey took an interest in animals in a young age but did not follow this passion until later in her life. Her trip to Africa in 1963 planted a seed that in 1966 resulted in her return to Africa to undertake a long-term study of mountain gorillas. In 1968, the story of her work in National Geographic magazine launched her celebrity. Fossey continued her work until her murder in 1985. In 1988, a movie starring Sigourney Weaver was made based on her book, Gorillas in the Mist.

The second woman to win the Iditarod, Susan Butcher, was instrumental in the training and treatment of sled dogs as a result of her training and efforts in this 1,150-mile race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. A four-time winner of the Iditarod, Butcher won the race three years in a row (1986-1988) and then again a year later (1990). Butcher made year-round training and treatment of the dogs the norm, not the exception. A pioneering trailblazer, Butcher was the first to summit Denali (formerly Mount McKinley) with a dog team in 1979.

An autism spokesperson, named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, and a woman whose life story has been told in a movie, Temple Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. The squeeze box or “hug box” that she developed for herself in high school has been modified to handle livestock. One of the few livestock-handling equipment designers in the world, Grandin speaks all over the world on both autism and handling of cattle.

Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women. These women who have all worked to improve lives of animals are among the more than 850 women profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. I celebrate and benefit from their accomplishments and am proud to stand on their shoulders.

(Answers 1-D, 2-A, 3-C, 4-E, 5-B)

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