It’s a heartbreaking sight, watching dogs running around in packs, hungry, mistreated and abused. For former racing driver Sam Reklaw, this sight was something he felt he could fix.
“When I was racing in Latin America, there was a lot of homeless animals around, as much as you try to live with it, knowing you can’t save them all, sometimes you just feel like you must do something, anything to help”
Reklaw worked with various animal foundations which looked after homeless dogs, but he felt the best way to help was to raise publicity for them.
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“I got the idea from a woman I was in a relationship with, her name was Jimena Hoyos and she was an avid animal supporter. As a well known actress, she gave up all money and fame in order to help these animals and founded a well known charity called Gozquez with very little support from any agencies and at times, even clashing with the local authorities. One of the most amazing human beings I ever had the pleasure to meet, she inspired me to help animals more”
Reklaw decorated his race car with the logos of the various animal shelters he worked with, hoping this would raise some sort of awareness. Did it work?
“No” he says
“It’s my belief that the entire reason we can and do give so much attention to animal rights and charities these days is because our Western society has reached a point where we intuitively understand that we have ample food to ensure our survival against starvation. In a situation where our own survival once again becomes threatened (as in the case of many cultures around the world) all thoughts of animal 'rights' would go out the window. In developing countries like in Latin America, many people live below the poverty line, people are fighting for their own survival so helping animals becomes less important for them, as opposed to developed countries”
It’s a sad fact that many animals remain homeless and abused all over the world, and it’s something we should pay more attention to, but it’s comforting knowing that there are fantastic people out there working tirelessly to make some sort of difference.