Rescued feline goes viral for “deep thoughts”

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Colorado native Hayley Cassatt had a beloved childhood cat, names Six ,an orange Tabby. “He was just the best cat in the whole world,” she remembers .

After moving to Portland as an adult, Cassatt was ready to adopt a pet. She went to Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood with a specific wish: a male orange Tabby with a mellow, affectionate, charm-your-whiskers-off personality.

Instead, she met a young orange female Tabby who had been rescued from the streets with her litter of kittens. While of similar coloring, this cat didn’t have the plucky personality of her predecessor, Six. “She was a little weird,” Hayley remembers. “She’s just very shy and timid. Her kittens had all been adopted. I think she was at CAT for a while. I fell for her as somewhat of an underdog.”

Cassatt called her dad, a professional cartoonist who called himself the family’s Cat Butler. The pair shared a love of art and cats. She told her dad the cat wasn’t anything like their beloved Six, but that her heart was hooked anyway. His fatherly advice: adopt the weird cat and bring her home. 

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Becoming Andy

Unlike her predecessor, this cat isn’t much of a lap-warmer. She is affectionate with Cassatt, but no one else. “My best friends who live above me have a wiener dog. We’re convinced the dog is in love with her, but she’s stand-offish,” Cassatt laughs.

Still, the timid, stand-offish feline worked her way indelibly into Cassatt’s heart and home. “It’s not my home anymore,” she laughs, “it’s hers.”

Pondering names, Cassatt thought of the Spielberg movie The Goonies, filmed in Oregon. One lead character is a redhead named Andy. “It’s a favorite movie and one of the reasons I moved to the Pacific Northwest,” Cassatt explains. “And my grandma’s nickname growing up was Andy.”  

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She can’t remember now whether her dad met Andy, “but I sent lots of pictures and he loved her,” she recalls. Cancer claimed him, the person who had inspired her career and love of cats.

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Shortly after the painful loss of her father, Cassatt and Andy moved to a new home in SE Portland. Andy found a sunny window overlooking the street to be a perfect perch. “There’s a lot of foot traffic outside my house,” Cassatt says. Passersby would notice the fat, happy orange cat in the window, and the often-aloof Andy seemed to bask in the attention. Cassatt was inspired. “I thought I’d put up thought bubbles, sort of as an homage to my father.” 

A Different Kind of Affection

“I started with some Garfield quotes. I think the first one I ever did was ‘I Hate Mondays.’ And I did silly things like ‘Lasagna.’”

Drawing on large sheets, Cassatt cuts and tapes the images in Andy’s window, then photographs and posts them on Instagram.

“Travel Oregon saw her there and reposted it and it went a little viral,” Cassatt recalls. “It’s kind of funny because she has more followers than I do. I think the fame has sort of gone to her head a little. She’s a diva. She does glamour shots with her legs to the side. It’s cute.”

Cassatt doesn’t publicize her address, but there’s heavy foot traffic outside Andy’s window, and fans are delighted when they spot the famous Instagram cat, sharing her deep thoughts, and basking in the glow of her fame. 

The Glamorous Life

Now eight years old, Andy is a social media sensation and a beloved neighborhood fixture. People passing by light up when they spot the famous orange cat and her thought bubbles. “People will tell me, ‘Oh! That’s Deep Thoughts by Andy! I follow her on Instagram.”

“I really love that it makes people happy. That’s kind of the best thing about it,” says Cassatt. “She’s sort of up on a throne and she works it. I think she likes the sun, so when it’s warm she’s always there. Otherwise she’s on the floor in weird poses. She likes to sleep on her back. She’s just a weirdo.”

Follow Andy on Instagram @DeepThoughtsByAndy


Michelle Blake is a Salem, OR-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in national publications. Her husband wants you to know she's a REALLY crazy dog lady too.

When helping one serves many —patients, pets and hospital staff

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Shannon Priem with FETCH dog Miss Poppy

Marketing/PR professional Shannon Priem of Salem says her first word as a child wasn’t “mommy” or “daddy,” but “kitty.”

Priem works part-time in marketing for Salem Health, and been a board member of the Willamette Humane Society for 10 years.  While both roles gave her plenty to do, five years ago the lifelong animal lover was inspired to do more.

“Our pet policy had gotten relaxed over the years” says Priem, “so patients brought all kinds of pets to their hospital rooms — including, on one occasion, a duck in a diaper.” This eventually took its toll on staff. “Nurses were changing litterboxes,” she says. That changed in 2013, when a new policy prohibited pets on the hospital campus “except service or therapy animals.”

The impact of the new policy on patients coming into the ER was quickly apparent to both Priem and security staff; patients frequently brought dogs with them to the ER, or panicked when they realized pets were left at home. “It didn’t take long to realize they might go AWOL (leave the hospital against medical advice) because they were more worried about their pet than their own health.”

Many patients in this type of scenario are older with little or no family or support, homeless, or otherwise struggling with slim resources, if any.

“Usually in cases like these,” Priem says, “good samaritans working at the hospital would say, ‘Okay, I’ll take care of the pet.’” The problem was, caring for animals took time and energy that staff needed to focus on patient care.

Bothered by the dilemma, Priem approached administration with an idea: “What if I could be your ace in the hole — your secret service on call, day or night to help?” Given the go-ahead, she brainstormed with security staff and soon began FETCH, Fido’s Emergency Team for Caring Hospitals.

“I look at it as, ‘if it’s got a heartbeat, we’ll care for them.’ They’re human. If that means caring for their dog or cat, then that’s what we’ll do,” says Priem. A gift from the Salem Health Foundation enabled FETCH to partner with the Willamette Humane Society for emergency boarding, helping even more animals.

Today, FETCH has a handful of stalwart volunteers — including some hospital staff — who will come day or night to take a pet, and five on call. Those who help or have helped range in age from teens to over 70.

FETCH is always “on call” for hospital care managers or social workers who typically help patients with limited resources with things like finding a skilled nursing facility, transportation home, etc. The group also works with hospital security staff.

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The need arises frequently — nowadays averaging two calls per week. Priem has many stories about the cases she’s handled — FETCH has cared for more than 110 animals since 2013, helping keep families together. “I’m not one to brag, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my FETCH team saved a couple of lives here and there,” she says.

She tells of one patient who arrived at the ER needing but refusing life-saving care when staff moved to take her dog.  She said, “If I can’t have Jonathon with me, I can’t go on living.”

Staff got Jonathan into her hospital room to wait for her after surgery. ”His little nose was pressed against a crack in the door for an hour; he knew she was coming,” says Priem. “When she arrived, he hopped in her bed to lick her face, and she soon went back to sleep. From that second, I knew we needed FETCH.”

Another story tells of a gentleman with a life-threatening infection who’d put up his dog in a motel and then walked several miles to the ER. A long-haul driver, after receiving help — for himself and his dog —told Priem, “You don’t even know me, and you rescued my dog from a motel.” The grateful gentleman said he was going to look into helping others this way when he got home.

Felix, a 25-pound cat, was left behind in a mobile home. Unable to care for or even lift him, the owner agreed to surrender him for rehoming. “Please find him a good home,” she begged Priem, who said there were three holds on Felix at WHS by prospective adoptive families the first day. Ultimately he was adopted by a counselor, and is reportedly now helping her with grief counseling.

Still another case was a woman who had been homeless for eight years. She had three old dogs who themselves needed medical care. With the help of WHS, the dogs got better. The woman also got better, then found a job and an apartment. “This is a woman who was on the streets for eight years, often going without food so she could feed her dogs!” Priem repeats, still overjoyed with the outcome.

Other cases underscore the value of FETCH to not only the humans it serves, but the pets.

One gentleman came in, leaving behind two Rottweiler/Pit mixes, which were ultimately surrendered to WHS.

“Ozzie was dangerous,” says Priem. “The best trainers at WHS worked with him for 10 months. They didn’t give up. We all saw a special light in his eyes, but there were times . . . I’d get ‘the call’ that he might not make it.

“Then one day it all just clicked, and Ozzie was a different dog. Shortly after, a veteran who had just lost his therapy dog came to WHS. Ozzie walked right up to him. The shelter staff told him, ‘He is your dog!’”

The partnership with WHS is vital to the success of FETCH. “At the drop of a hat an animal can get care and boarding at the shelter, while being in the protective custody of the Salem Health Foundation,” says Priem. “I’ll call and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got two Yorkies.’ They’ll ask if they need vaccinations; I’ll say yes, and they’ll say, ‘Bring them in.’”

“We’ve had pets at WHS for weeks at a time, belonging mostly to people facing health emergencies. But also who are homelessness, elderly, or have no family support.

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FETCH is strictly a private venture. Because volunteers go into unknown, potentially dangerous situations, Priem understands that for now, due to liability issues, it shouldn’t be a formal hospital service. “We assume all personal liability because the need is there, and worth the risk,” she says.  Starting with zero resources, Priem has created legal forms dealing with permissions, liabilities, and the like. She says the partnership between WHS and the Salem Health Foundation is invaluable. “They both fill a critical gap, because you can’t board a pet without current vaccines, and thanks to the foundation, we get that done quickly so our patients get peace of mind . . . and can heal.”

”Word of mouth has increased our work, which means staff really need us,” she says. “They really care about our patients, so I’ve become their hidden asset!”  If the need continues to grow, she says she hopes FETCH will become a more formalized hospital program.

For now, “A case manager [from the hospital] will call — I know there’s a pet in need just by the phone number — and I have forms for patients to sign so I can go feed the pet at home, or do whatever’s needed.”

Priem welcomes anyone interested in starting a program like FETCH in their community to contact her, and to use her forms. Volunteers are also needed to help with anything from feeding or fostering cats and dogs in their homes to donations of pet food and funds, which can be made to the Salem Health Foundation. Contact Priem at spriem@hotmail.com.


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Kristan Dael is a freelance writer and the alter ego of Jennifer Mccammon. She lives in Portland with her pups, and strives to produce articles that inform, edify, engage and entertain.

Spotlight on...The Schipperke

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Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Size:  Small 10-16 lbs

Grooming needs:  Medium, Heavy Seasonal Shedder

Exercise:  High

Environment:  Indoor, Fenced Yard

Temperament:  Intelligent, Mischievous, Active

Life Expectancy:  15 years 

Interesting Fact: The Schipperke is a Belgian breed that dates back several hundred years. Originally sheep herders, they were later used as a ratter on barges. Schipperke means “little captain” in Flemish.

Appearance: This distinctive dog is small with a thick sloping body, typically with a docked tail in the US. They have small eyes, erect ears, and a foxlike face.  Their dense coat features a large ruff of fur around the neck and a strip of hair trailing toward the rear. Their double coat is either black or blonde.

Personality: The Schipperke is very curious, active and alert. This pup wants to be involved in all family activities, but is also very independent, following his own interests. Highly intelligent, this dog needs activity to stay occupied to prevent excessive barking or destructive chewing or digging. Schipperkes are excellent watch dogs, who happily alert bark and are suspicious of strangers.

Common Health Problems: Usually a hardy and long-lived breed, occasional health issues include eye problems (cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy), hip dysplasia, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease or hypothyroidism.

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Evelyn

Best Match: The Schipperke will do well with an active household that will include him whether they are hiking or watching a movie. Good with children, this always busy dog thrives on athletic activities and interactive games. Agility courses and food dispensing toys are right up their alley.

For outdoor time it’s best to keep this dog on a leash or in a fenced yard.  Due to their creativity and propensity to chase small animals, they may get over a fence so are best supervised. 

The Schipperke pet parent doesn’t mind a heavy seasonal shedder who needs brushing two or three times a week. Twice yearly the entire soft undercoat will shed and they must be brushed daily during this period.  

Not the best match for a first-time dog owner, Schipperkes have a strong temperament and can be challenging to train.  

Featured Adoptable: Evelyn is a 10 lb, 8-year-old Schipperke/Terrier mix active on the go dog. Adjusting to city life, she is a fast learner and loves daily walks, small forest hikes or trips, and the beach. She also loves other dogs and gets along with the young cat in her foster home. She is confident, sweet, full of life, and ready for her forever family! To meet her, contact the Pixie Project at info@pixieproject.org.


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Megan Noes lives in New York City, with her husband, Jacob, Frenchie Bulldog, Nono, and a revolving door of foster kittens. She works for a major animal welfare organization and loves her former home in the Pacific Northwest.  

Tips for a safe Halloween

  1. Keep candy out of reach, especially if it contains chocolate or xylitol (common in sugar-free candies and gum);

  2. Make sure your pet has a microchip, collar and ID tag in case of escape;

  3. Keep lit candles/jack-o-lanterns and glow sticks/jewelry out of reach

  4. If putting your pet in costume, make sure it fits properly, is comfortable, doesn't have any pieces easily chewed off, and doesn't interfere with your pet's sight, hearing, breathing, opening its mouth, or moving. Give your pet time to get accustomed to the costume before Halloween, and never leave your him or her unsupervised while in costume;

  5. If your pet is wary of strangers or might bite from stress or fear, put him/her in another room during trick-or-treating hours;

  6. Keep your pet inside. 

Excepted from a public service courtesy of the AVMA.

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Land Rover’s gone to the dogs

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Land Rover recently announced that it is launching a range of premium Pet Packs to help Land Rover owners’ four-legged friends travel in the lap of luxury.

Each Pet Pack includes accessories to suit a range of requirements, including a premium quilted load space liner to protect against paw prints, a foldable pet carrier, an access ramp, a spill-resistant water bowl, and portable rinse system for muddy walks.

New app connects pet owners, caregivers

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The TrustedHousesitters app is a new way for pet parents to connect with caring, verified house and pet sitters who are willing to take care of pets for free. Available on the App Store, the app is free to download and enables owners and sitters to connect and stay in touch, no matter where they are in the world. 

Timed to celebrating the app’s launch, TrustedHousesitters compiled culminated a top 100 list, after two years of polling animal lovers in 130 countries about their favorite pet-friendly destinations. Several Oregon venues made the list, including Multnomah Falls, along with several Portland-area cafés — Bipartisan Cafe, Fleur de Lis Bakery & Café, and Barista Café.  

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Bipartisan was the most popular with animal lovers surveyed, ranking #59. Fleur de Lis ranked #62, and Barista ranked #86.  

Greg, Manager of the Fleur de Lis, said, “Dogs and other pets are always welcome . . . . They are considered to be just as important as our human customers. Our patio is comfortable for your pet year round”. 

Also making the list at #95 is Mark Ridges Winery, where pet lovers can soak up the views, live music and wine, while their pooch plays with the two resident Golden Retrievers. 

Tim Lyons, managing director of TrustedHousesitters said: “We are extremely proud of the pet-friendly cafes in Portland, they have put Oregon on the map as a pet-loving state. All four coffee shops and restaurants have had numerous recommendations.” 

See the full list of the 100 most pet-friendly places in the world at trustedhousesitters.com/top-pet-friendly-places.

New green groomer rolls in

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Local marketing professional Greg Robeson has closed his longtime agency to follow two of his greatest passions: dogs and the environment.

Oct 1, Robeson launched Green Whiskers, an earth-friendly mobile pet salon featuring technology that uses up to 90% less water than traditional methods. He began planning the business last year after attempting to schedule mobile grooming for his family’s Golden Retriever, Sally.

After receiving a call-back from just one groomer — which was booked for months — Robeson researched and confirmed a need for more local mobile groomers. He also discovered a grooming system that injects cleaning solution directly onto the fur and skin and then suctions the moisture, using less than one gallon of water (traditional shampooing can use up to 10). Best of all, the technology feels like a massage.

Robeson is committed to a calm, pampering canine experience and outstanding results thanks to an award-winning show groomer. Also in the wings —grain-free vegan cookies that in tests are getting great reviews.

Following the launch of Green Whiskers, Robeson plans to add more mobile salons in the coming years. In support of this, he is hosting a unique GoFundMe campaign, seeking a total of $15,000 from 30 dog lovers who will receive a year’s worth of free grooming.

Learn more at greenwhiskers.com.

Cat Named Andy Shares “Deep Thoughts” in Portland, Oregon

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Adopted cat Andy is the star of punny window paintings

(Sherwood, OR)—When Portland, Ore., resident Hayley Cassatt adopted her cat Andy from the Cat Adoption Team (CAT) in 2011, she had no plans to make Andy a star. In fact, she hadn’t anticipated adopting Andy at all.

“I was looking around for a male orange kitty, and Andy didn’t quite fit my match,” says Hayley, “But when I saw her I fell in love.”

Although Andy was “a little scared and a little weird,” the two made an instant connection. It felt like love at first sight, but Hayley wanted a second opinion before committing to Andy. She called her dad.

“I said, ‘Dad, I can’t leave without this cat; she’s my baby,’” Hayley recalls. “He said to go for it, so I took her home.”

It wasn’t the first time Hayley had looked to her father for support. The two were quite close, sharing a love of puns, cartoons, and—of course—cats. An award-winning photographer, designer, and cartoonist, Hayley’s father also considered himself a “cat butler” to the Cassatt family cats. When he passed away from cancer in 2013, Hayley wanted to do something unique in his honor.

“Andy always sits in this window and I thought it would be so great if I put up some puns as an homage to my father,” Hayley shares.

An art teacher and professional artist herself, Hayley put up Andy’s first “deep thought” in the window of her home in Southeast Portland. Since then, she’s continued to create window art with Andy as the centerpiece. When she noticed passers-by taking photos, she started an Instagram account (instagram.com/deepthoughtsbyandy) so that people could see more of Andy and tag her in their posts.

Hayley says she usually picks puns or topical sayings for the window. Things like holidays, current events, and pop culture inspire the artwork, which changes every couple of weeks.

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Hayley doesn’t publicize her address, but enjoys when people happen upon her window, smile, and take photographs of Andy. Some people even seek out the special window just to see what Andy’s been thinking.

“My dad would have really loved how excited people are,” she says. “It really makes me happy to pay him tribute.”

In addition to honoring her father, Hayley likes the chance to be playful with her cat too. Her advice to others seeking a feline companion is to “do something fun with them.” She adds that it’s important to adopt. “There’s a lot of cats out there that don’t have homes. I don’t feel like a home is a home without a cat.”

As for how Andy feels about all the attention? Well, you’ll just have to find her window and see for yourself!

Room to Roam

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Keeping cats and wildlife safe — in style

We love our feline companions. So much so that it’s easy to forget they are natural predators, and those hunter instincts have can deadly consequences for other feathered and furry creatures in the neighborhood.

The Portland-area Audubon Society reports that nearly half of the injured wildlife cases brought to its welfare centers involve cat-related injuries. To help address this issue, the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, Portland Audubon Society, and Portland-area humane societies and animal shelters partner in an annual Catio Tour.

Now in its 6th year, the Catio Tour is a tour of homes showcasing enclosures created to provide safe spaces for cats to enjoy much-needed outdoor time while protecting wildlife and songbirds.

“We’re not saying keep your cat indoors,” insists FCCO Executive Director Karen Kraus. The goal of the Catio Tour is to inspire people to build their own catio. Protected outdoor spaces for cats, Kraus says, are a win-win. Catios protect pets from cars, birds of prey, and coyotes. Kraus points out that cats can also be preyed upon.

Catio tours are still a new idea, Kraus says, but similar events have caught on in other communities such as Seattle and Santa Cruz. The first year of the tour in Portland, organizers didn’t know what to expect. But signups were overwhelming, and this year’s tour will have about a thousand attendees viewing around a dozen Catios. “Many people try to see them all,” Kraus says, while some opt to visit select properties.

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Kraus hopes the biggest takeaway from the self-guided tour is that it doesn’t take a lot of money to create appropriate outdoor experiences for family cats. The goal is to inspire people to build their own backyard feline spaces.

Catio budgets range “from frugal to fabulous, DIY to designer,” Kraus says. “If you don’t have a lot of money you can build a catio.” Some are elaborate, with elevated areas and diverse sources of stimuli. Others are simple, chicken coop-like structures on a back porch.

“It doesn’t have to be expensive,” Kraus assures. “This is stuff you can do at home. Whatever you can envision you can afford.” Almost all catios are built from supplies available at most hardware, garden or farm-supply outlets.

The Catio Tour is a natural for a community that cares about nature and the environment. Kraus hopes attendees will come away from the tour with the feeling that anyone can help cats and wildlife share a better balance. “All of us play a role in this,” she says.

Portland Catio Tour * Saturday, Sept 8 * $10; benefits FCCO * feralcats.com.


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William Kennedy is a freelance writer who lives with his wife and daughter in downtown Eugene, Oregon. He's had many furry friends in his lifetime. Currently, he's tolerated by a black cat named Midnight.

Ask an Animal Lawyer with Elizabeth Holtz

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Q:  My neighbor moved but left his dog behind. The dog has been with us for months. Could the neighbor claim the dog as his if he returns?

First, a big thank you for stepping up and caring for this abandoned dog. If you hadn’t intervened, the dog might not be alive today. Generally, a person who abandons his dog and moves away loses the right to his “property.”  That’s right — in the United States legal system, and most legal systems around the world, animals are classified as property.

It may come as a surprise that animals are still categorized as property considering that science and commonsense tell us our companion animals are individuals with unique personalities. Most of us consider them to be members of our families. I doubt you would be as worried that your neglectful neighbor might one day want his couch back.

Abandoning an animal is a crime under most states’ cruelty laws. While animals are still considered property, the law is slowly changing. The Animal Legal Defense Fund recently filed a groundbreaking lawsuit on behalf of an Oregon horse named Justice that challenges animals’ status as property and argues that animals have the legal right to sue their abusers in court. Advances are also happening in the area of companion animal custody.

Recognizing the profound bond people develop with their companion animals, some judges are approaching companion animal custody cases much differently than they would disputes about a car or TV. Judges are increasingly considering which home is in the best interests of a dog or cat rather than approaching the case from a strict property analysis.

Your situation is much more straightforward. If your neighbor hadn’t moved but instead was hospitalized for a long period of time or forced to leave for reasons beyond his or her control, then things might be different. But as stated above, if your neighbor abandoned the dog, then you should be in the clear. Of course, nothing in life is certain. Even if the facts are on your side, someone could still contest custody. If you do find yourself in a dispute, I recommend consulting an attorney to ensure that the dog stays with the person who has stepped up and cared for her — you.

It’s also a good idea to keep records demonstrating that you are now the dog’s caregiver. For example, receipts documenting veterinary care, food, medicine, and toys provided will bolster your case if it comes to that. Licensing and microchipping your new friend under your name is also a smart move.

Thank you again for your compassion. I hope your new best friend has a long and happy life with you!


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Elizabeth Holtz works with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, she began rescuing injured and abandoned animals as a very young child, though she admits her mother did much of the work.