I STARTED flying quite a bit for business around 2002. I used to work for a public policy group and I had to go to a ton of meetings. It wasn’t really hands-on, and I really wanted to do more with my career.
When I became president of the American Humane Association, it was exactly the kind of position I wanted. I mean, really, how can you go wrong working to protect children and animals? And in terms of being hands-on and making a difference, it’s been absolutely wonderful. Most of my travels involve going to shelters, or places where there have been disasters or sadly, abuse situations. One day I might be on a dairy farm in the middle of nowhere and the next day I might have to be at some huge event.
There are good days and bad days, but thankfully many more good days in this kind of work. I don’t let any of the hassles of travel bother me. But I don’t think I’d ever put the word “joy” in a description of business travel nowadays.
Once a fellow passenger finds out what I do, it’s inevitable that person will show me a picture of their pet or pets. A grandparent may show me one picture of a grandchild, but only one, even if they have a lot of grandchildren, before they show me a picture of an animal. But parents usually skip their children and go right to the pet pictures. It’s very amusing. Animals really are family.