Wednesday, October 24, 2012

21 Questions with Rande Levine of Karma Rescue

Soundtrack to post (see 21 Questions): I Am Mine by Pearl Jam on Grooveshark

When I have the privilege in life to meet individuals who are truly extraordinary and inspire me to do better, be better, and live each day with pure gratitude, I *have* to wax lyrical about them.

Meet Rande Levine founder of

Not only is she gorgeous on the outside, she is all beautiful and sparkly on the inside too...untouchable I say!  While working full-time in advertising, she founded in her "spare time."  It happened slowly and almost by chance, guided entirely by her goodwill.  She was waiting at the vet's office on an appointment for her own dog when she noticed 3 other dogs who had been summarily dumped there by irresponsible prior owners.  Heartbroken as they would be taken to the nearest shelter (with an astronomical kill-rate as the majority of Los Angeles shelters tend to run), she brought them into her home, calling madly around to find fosters.  Pretty soon, those 3 dogs turned to 10, 20, 50 (and now, almost 2,000 dogs!!)...and not only was she determined to give these dogs another chance at life, she wanted to get to the root of the problems that lead to the abuse and abandonment of domestic animals.  So, Karma Rescue was officially organized, an organization for many years she single-handedly ran in her spare time while maintaining a separate day job.

Karma Rescue now has several full-time employees and a plethora of compassionate volunteers who manage the administration of the numerous programs, foster-care placements, and fund-raising, but it is entirely a non-profit and Rande still devotes her blood, sweat and tears to it while maintaining her separate day job (primarily for the health insurance...see 21 Questions).  Rande is a heroine to me not only for running Karma Rescue, but also for keeping up the extremely demanding schedule for Karma Rescue when she was diagnosed earlier this year with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  She had to go through 6 rounds of chemotherapy.  If you know anyone who has gone through chemotherapy or if you have gone through it yourself, you know what an immense toll it takes on the body and mind of that person.  Throughout it all, she never complained, felt sorry for herself or gave up on Karma Rescue...I'm telling you this woman is UNTOUCHABLE.  

What I really admire about Karma Rescue as an organization is that it is extremely efficiently run and its programs delve into the heart of the problems that cause the symptoms of abandoned and abused animals.  It doesn't just put a band-aid over the wound (even though, to reiterate, just through its rescue program alone almost 2,000 dogs have been saved).  For example, Karma Rescue initiated a free spay-and-neuter mobile clinic that gets sent into the neighborhoods with the highest rate of animal abandonment. Read about it here. It also implemented an educational task force that goes into schools, public libraries and girl scout troop meetings to educate children about the duty that human beings have to respect and properly take care of animals.

Some pics of the dogs rescued by Karma Rescue in their permanent homes:

Karma Rescue is so incredibly efficient, well-run and effective in the community, it was recently deemed the best dog adoption charity in Los Angeles by Los Angeles Magazine.  Here are some of the mugs of dogs that are available for adoption right now.  Look at those faces!!  And they are swell house dogs, all stringently tested by the Karma Rescue team.

If you are like me, and simply unable to adopt a dog right now while loving dogs intensely in your heart, you can PAY for the FOSTERING of a poor dog patiently waiting for its forever home.  However much you can afford on a monthly basis all goes 100% to the rescue of a dog from a high-kill shelter and its care while a permanent home is found.  Isn't that wonderful??  Or, you can make a donation here.  You don't have to worry about your hard-earned money being wasted or going towards high overhead costs.  Come on, you can do it, it's fantastic karma not to mention, doing good always makes the giver happy...this one is a scientific fact.

You can also "Like" Karma Rescue on Facebook to keep apprised of its events.

Rande, you are so awesome and inspire me to form a life that melds passion, heart and philanthropy.

21 Questions with Rande Levine

1.      What is your idea of perfect happiness (on a personal level, not in terms of the world)?
To strive always to practice self-care & self-nurturence, would make me happy and proud of myself.  Even better, would be to have all my animals around me at all times.
2.      What is the trait you most dislike in yourself?
My lack of patience. I often forget to “smell the roses,” because I’m always in such a rush.  Sometimes I miss out on important details.  I’m only now coming to understand the saying, “haste makes waste,”  as it’s a shortcoming I’m trying to work on.
3.      What is a trait you most dislike seeing in others?   
Lack of commitment.  In my work with KarmaRescue, I constantly see people giving up on, abandoning & relinquishing their animals. When I commit to something, there’s no backing out; I give it my word, & that’s final.
4.      What is the trait you most admire about yourself?
Compassion! I have compassion for the underdog.  Whether the at-risk are animals, children or the elderly, I have compassion for them, & will help in any way I’m able. I want their voices heard.
5.      What is the trait you most admire in others? 
A willingness to learn, to continue to educate oneself, to have an innate intellectual curiosity.  I admire people based on the effort which is put forth, regardless if the goal is reached; it’s about trying.
6.     What is one bad habit that you hate but which you haven’t eradicated?
Biting my nails.  As a child, my grandfather told me that a man would one day want to put a ring on my finger, if I had pretty nails.  Well, I have that man, who did put a ring on me, despite my bad habit, but I still think my grandfather’s advice was good!
7.      What is your greatest extravagance?
My horse, Kona, & Whole Foods! 
8.     What’s your foolproof pick-me-up when having a down day?

A good outdoors run with my I-POD on & nothing but road ahead.

9.     Which physical trait do you like the best about yourself?
My arms have always been in good shape, even when the rest of my body hasn’t followed suit.
10.   Name something you love just for its beauty alone.
Animals, JUST as they are.
11.    Name an object/past-time/experience that gives you immense pleasure (besides s-e-x).  
Travelling throughout Europe, then on to New Zealand & Australia.  When I think of all the beautiful places in the world which I’ve visited, memories of those trips always bring me pleasure.
12.    Name one issue in the world that breaks your heart. 

Homeless animals, animal over-population & animal abuse.

13.    Name one issue that makes you furiously angry.

Homeless animals, animal over-population & animal abuse.

14.    If you could give $1 million to one of your favorite causes/philanthropic organizations, which one would it be?

KarmaRescue, a 501(c)(3) animal rescue organization I founded in 2003.  To date, we’ve saved >1,900 dogs. We have amazing volunteers who work their ‘tails’ off, helping to save even more lives!

15.    Name one celebrity whom you really admire for his/her philanthropic work. 

Oprah!  Who doesn’t love Oprah?  She’s my girl!

16.   Name one of the hardest obstacles you’ve had to overcome in life? 

In early-2012, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  I had to endure six rounds of chemotherapy that literally wore down my entire body & mind, in a fight for my very survival!  There were moments when I thought I couldn’t make it, my body & mind were so failing me, but I survived it & I’m now in remission.

17.    What helped you most overcome it? 

The amazing support system of my husband, my mom, my animals, my extended family & a ton of therapy!

18.   What was your takeaway from this experience?
These two life lessons are invaluable:  1) S L O W D O W N; and, 2) don’t sweat the small stuff (which most everything is!).

19.   What pithy advice would you like to give a recent college graduate?

Work hard, there are no guarantees in life!

20.   What is your current anthem (song that gives you energy, words you live by)?

"I Am Mine,” by Eddie Vedder/PearlJam:  “…I know I was born, and I know that I’ll die, the in-between is mine...”

21.    What is your aphorism/motto in life at this moment? 

Take care of you, because you are all you’ve got!

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