‘Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets,’ written by Allie Phillips author, advocate, attorney was published a year ago. However, it remains the must-read book for anyone who loves dogs and cats and wants to become involved in doing more to protect pets. This is because Phillips knows of what she writes. Her background and experiences are deep and varied. They include getting her “hands dirty” at animal shelters to working at the National District Attorney’s Association where she launched the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse, and much more.
Phillips dedicates Defending the Defenseless “To every person who has ever adopted an animal, helped an animal to safety, or supported those that do the work every day to care for homeless, abused and neglected animals.”
Despite her compassion Phillips doesn’t sugar coat the truth about the downside of protecting and advocating for pets. In fact Phillips devotes a compete chapter to this topic. The chapter is titled “Staying Strong and Resilient: Overcoming Conflict and Compassion Fatigue.” The advice found in this chapter is important for those who advocate and protect pets from burning out or becoming disappointed. Phillips cautions readers to remember seldom if ever are does victory come quickly without lots of small advances and many disappointments.
She doesn’t dwell on the negative. Her book contains plenty of success stories of advocates and their organizations that make a difference. She also includes insightful information of how to get involved, and ideas on how to do more.
The sixteen chapters are well organized and take the reader from a discussion of animal rights and animal welfare, to where to start in becoming an animal advocate. She includes specific subjects such as “Advocating for Shelter Animals,” to “Models for Thriving Animal Organizations,” to “Preventing Cruelty and Neglect of Animals.”
The reviewer gives ‘Defending the Defenseless,’ four stars. The book is a balanced combination of thoughtful discussion, success stories and ideas of what the interested reader can do. The combination of working at the grass roots level at animal shelters and organizing at the national level provides Phillips a platform from which to write that is based on a very wide horizon of experience. The result is information that comes from pragmatic experience not from unrealistic expectations.
Anyone who is thinking about becoming involved in championing companion animals must read ‘Defending the Defenseless.’ Even those who are veterans at volunteering, or working for the advocacy or protection of pets should read this book because it reminds the reader that one should not become overwhelmed at the job ahead, but should count each animal saved as a victory
‘Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets, Allie Phillips, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 2011, 276 pages; can be obtained at bookstores or online at Amazon for $29.37 or in Kindle for $18.35.