Michael and his beloved dog Gibson joined fellow Theater performer/animal lovers
in Broadway Barks! a benefit supporting five major shelters
(ASPCA, Bide-A-Wee, CACC, The Humane Society Of New York,
and The North Shore Animal League).
The event organized by Bernadette Peters, presented cats and dogs
from the shelters for adoption.
Michael spoke on behalf of the ASPCA just after 5,
before having to dash down the Jane Street for his 7 pm performance.
photo at left by Aubrey Reuben
In association with A.S.P.C.A. Bide-A-Wee Center for Animal Care
and Control The Humane Society of New York, North Shore Animal League
Present Broadway Barks
A collection of the coolest k-9s
and most fabulous felines up for adoption on Broadway
Sponsored By Broadway Cares
Hosted by Bernadette Peters
photo at right by Bruce Glickas
With Many Members of the Broadway Community
and Many rescued Dogs
Richard Hester, Stacey Shub, Maria Di Dia, Carol A. Ingram, Scott
T. Stevens for Broadway Cares
With Additional support from Pet Access.com
Broadway Barks, Shubert Alley
Michael and Gibson arrived early. After speaking with fans and the
show coordinators, Michael waits on the steps leading the podium.
Taking a canteen filled with water from his knapsack, Michael offers
Gibson a drink on the scorching hot day.
Gibson politely declines, so Michael rubs the water over her head
to cool her off.
Other dogs are afraid of the steps but Gibson makes her way up them
like a pro. When Michael takes the microphone, she promptly sits
down with her back to the audience....
She's going to ignore you all now.
Don't take it personally.
Hi, I'm here to tell you about the ASPCA. The American Society
for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded right here in NY,
way back in 1866, which makes it the first humane society in the
Western Hemisphere. Their goal is to promote humane principles,
prevent cruelty and alleviate pain and suffering through Nationwide
programs. Among the many remarkable services the ASPCA provides
are the ANTIMED free pet information line which handles requests
for behavior and veterinary information. Their National Shelter
Outreach program which advises many local shelters. Their humane
education program which distributes classroom materials nationwide
to teach children to treat animals with respect and compassion.
They also operate a National poison control center telephone hotline
handles 50,000 cases a year. They actively work to pass new laws
guaranteeing the well being of all animals. And here in the city
-in addition to operating an animal hospital and investigating cruelty
complaints, the ASPCA shelter which is located at 424 East 92nd
Street finds homes for approximately 2000 dogs and cats each year.
In August of 1994, Gibson was one of those dogs. I came to the ASPCA
looking for a humane mousetrap to deal with some uninvited houseguests
in my apartment and while I was there I figured I would just take
a look at the dogs. I'd been thinking about adopting a pet for a
while but just wasn't really sure I was up to the challenge yet.
I was so impressed with the thoroughness of the interview that I
had to go through before I was even allowed to see the dogs. It
was clear that the ASPCA is determined to make sure that their animals
are taken care of by people who are responsible and people that
are going to care for them as well as the people at the APSCA do.
In spite of the fact that I'm an actor, they thought that
I was responsible enough anyway. And I was lucky enough to walk
out of the ASPCA with not only a humane mousetrap but my life companion,
She was exactly the dog I'd been looking for for ages without even
knowing it. And I'm always going to appreciate and thank the ASPCA
for bringing us together.
I briefly want to address one other issue
of animal care. Last month, I got up in the morning, well my idea
of morning, which is kinda early afternoon for most people.
I turned on the television and was appalled to see a news report
about a bull that had been brought to an illegal rodeo and had escaped
and been chased by the NYPD out into the street and was fired on
by cruisers and left bleeding on the street. A couple months later,
there was an incident of a family dog that was loose in a park and
was shot to death because the officers didn't feel they could catch
the animal. The are certainly a lot of police officers and animal
control people who are there to do the work and handle animal safely.
As a civilization, we have to make sure that these people get the
calls and get to do their work. The ASPCA, the CACC- organizations
like that - are there to take care of these animals and they deserve
A friend of mine wrote the Mayor's office; "It was the kind
of callousness - in those two incidents - that exacerbates larger
social problems. Why should we worry about violence in movies and
video games desensitizing our children or whether Annie brings her
gun on Rosie when New York's finest are gunning down animals in
In two other incidents in Anaheim and Fort Worth, the incidents
were handled in a much more humane fashion. Certainly New York can
do the same kind of thing.
The root of being humane is being human. The evolutionary
advantages that we as people possess bring with them an obligation
and responsibility to care for the creatures that we share the planet
with. We don't own them any more than we own each other.
Native Americans remind us that we have to tread gently on the earth.
And that means being mindful of all the lives around us and rigorously
confronting the incidents of abuse and neglect.
That's what the ASPCA does and has done for 133
years. I urge you to bring home a dog today or a cat and if not
to at least actively support the organizations that are here today.
And now, it is my pleasure and privilege to introduce my friend,
my former cousin and a real dog among dogs...
from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown - Tony Award winner- Roger