“We should start with the premise that a society can be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. I have made it my life’s mission to care for and empower those most in need — but when I met my wife, that category of those most in need took on a brand new meaning.

I grew up in a household with a dog I rescued, and through the years have interacted with many pet owners and met their furry little friends. But there was something I did not know. I always believed that animal shelters existed to find every animal a good home and that every animal would remain until they did. I had no idea how many animals never made it out of the shelter alive. I had no idea that an animal could be killed within 72 hours of its arrival or that if they had a cold or were deemed “unfriendly,” they wouldn’t even have a chance to be adopted at all — they were simply warehoused until their death.

Thankfully, though, I have also learned about the many people doing the work necessary to save these innocent lives — all the volunteers who spend their time, money and energy caring for and saving these vulnerable creatures.

My wife began the Animal Protection Division of the Guardian Angels, which encapsulated her years of working with feral cats — cats born outdoors and too wild to be domesticated. These are the cats New Yorkers probably pass by every day on the streets, in their backyards, and even in the bodegas. Cats who are friendly, healthy and kind. They just need a little more freedom than a house cat.”