Contributing Editor Dr. Jordan Schaul and legendary animal activists—the Barbi Twins—interview funny lady Elayne Boosler about her more serious interest in animal rescue.
Elayne Boosler initially began rescue work with Boxer Rescue of Los Angeles in the Mid 90’s. She eventually joined the organization’s Board of Directors. More recently, Elayne founded her own animal rescue and advocacy organization—Tails of Joy.
I first met the celebrity animal activist at a function for Wildlife SOS in Santa Monica. The frequent contributor to the Huffington Post is an ardent supporter of companion animal and wildlife causes and writes about animal welfare advocacy in her column. The Barbi Twins recently sat down with the famous comedian to discuss the plight of companion pets.
Barbi Twins: When did you make animal rescue a part of your life?
Elayne: I was always in love with all animals, and donated to animal causes my whole life. My joke answer about when I became a rescuer is: “When I didn’t become a movie star, I did what everybody does; gain fifty pounds and start saving dogs”. But the truth is, when my first “heart” dog died, I started volunteering, got hooked, and after learning the ropes for six years, founded my Tails of Joy non-profit in 2001.
Barbi Twins: What organizations do you support and can you tell us a bit about your own organization and how it was started?
Elayne: My Tails of Joy supports the smallest, neediest rescues across the country and beyond, on a most needed basis as money comes in. I like to say we launder money; the bank account is always at zero. If a dollar comes in, a dollar goes out. We are all volunteer, and I underwrite our expenses, so every penny donated finds its way to saving a dog, cat, rat, bunny, elephant, bear, primate, etc. I find the smallest organizations get the most bang for the buck. Three elderly ladies saving cats in Ohio save more lives than the entire HSUS. If you visit our website you can see the entire list of rescues in different cities we have helped. They do amazing, life saving work, but are too small to have fundraising infrastructure. That’s where we come in.
Barbi Twins: During Hurricane Sandy, many pets were lost, killed, and/or harmed because people were unprepared. What do you suggest as a disaster plan for pet owners?
Elayne: Everyone needs a plan. The saddest cases we get, and they are never-ending, are pets of elderly people who have died. Amazingly, people seem to be in denial, and almost no one plans for his/her pets existence after death. A well-loved dog or cat is suddenly tossed into the outside world. These people often die leaving a lot of money to family, yet the family not only throws the pet away, but refuses to fund any medical, or any other small needs, for these animals. Put your pets in your will. Don’t take your family’s word for it that they will care for your pet after your death. Make plans in writing, have an executor that isn’t family. Leave a bank account to be used for your animal’s upkeep after your death. Nothing huge, just enough to make sure your pet will get the medical care he/she will need, and upkeep. More people would foster and adopt if it weren’t a financial burden in these hard times. I could tell you a thousand stories of abandoned pets whose deceased owners thought were going to go to their children. Not.
Barbi Twins: How have animals changed your life?
Elayne: Animals give life deep meaning. I always say if you’re not covered in dog hair your life is empty. Interviews with the top CEO’s in America showed 90% attributed their success in life to having a dog as a child. You can see why. I wish more parents understood this.
Barbi Twins: What is the funniest animal joke you have used in a sketch?
Elayne: This past Saturday I was playing in Scottsdale, and there was a huge service dog in the front row. He was being trained in seizure detecting, so of course they brought him to a comedy show. His name was “Oshe”. I asked, “How is it spelled?” Three women started spelling it all different ways and arguing. I said from the stage, “Wait. How does he spell it?”
Barbi Twins: What other celebrity friends do you know that are as hands-on as you—not just supporting animal charities through an endorsement?
Elayne: Susan Olsen really walks the walk. Tony LaRussa and I have done lots of rescue work together, his whole life is baseball and rescue. Celebrities who are always there for fundraising, and believe me, it’s not a red carpet thing so they really have to care, are Bernadette Peters, James Cromwell, Pierce Brosnan and his wife Keely Shaye Smith, Jo Anne Worley who now runs Actors and Others for Animals, Doris Day forever, and of course you both are the most dedicated rescuers/ activists I know. Every celebrity who touts veganism, like Alicia Silverstone, is helping every time they speak about it.
Barbi Twins: How many pets do you own? Do you have any good rescue stories?
Elayne: After my last three big dogs died two years ago, I stared fostering at home again. I like the big dogs; American Bulldogs, Pitties, Shar –Pei’s, mixes, dogs who have had awful lives but are still full of life and love. They sleep in our bed, I work with them for months and find them the wonderful homes they deserve. I love the seniors the most. They are just amazing creatures; making it this far, trained, move-in ready, loving, grateful, smart and wonderful. Rescue stories? My upcoming book “Elayne Boosler’s Tails of Joy” will be the funniest, most uplifting, and amazing rescue stories you’d want to know.
Barbi Twins: If you were to describe yourself as an animal, what animal would you pick?
Elayne: A comedian.