ENCINITAS — It takes a hero to run a growing animal shelter. According to the American Red Cross San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter, Rancho Coastal Humane Society President Jim Silveira is that hero. Silveira received the Wendell Cutting Humanitarian Award during the 12th annual Real Heroes breakfast Oct. 3 aboard the USS Midway Museum. Staff members nominated Silveira without telling him and he learned of his award with a message from the American Red Cross.
It read, “Congratulations! Because of your compelling representation of courage, heroism, kindness and bravery, you have been selected to receive an award at the 12th Annual Real Heroes Breakfast. After evaluating all of the nominations, a variety of inspiring stories of heroism, your act of courage and compassion was chosen as the winner for the Wendell Cutting Humanitarian Award. Perhaps in your case, we should rename it ‘Animaltarian.”
The nomination points out that, prior to joining Rancho Coastal Humane Society as vice president in 1999 and being named president in 2000, Silveira founded Southern California German Shepherd Rescue where he rescued and found new homes for 4,300 dogs.
The nomination concludes, “Ask the abused wives who have escaped and broken the chain of violence because the Animal Safehouse Program guarantees safety for their pets. Ask the senior citizen who spoke for the first time in months thanks to the fur therapy of a Pet Assisted Therapy Dog. Ask the veteran who can now feed himself because he knows his dog is being fed. Ask the parent whose child explained, “I’m sorry I was so mean, Mommy. I know that you have feelings, too. Just like the animals.”
Ask the little girl who whispers her deepest secrets to her dog, the little boy whose cat gives him a feeling of being needed, the family whose pets are their children, or the senior citizen who is no longer lonely simply because of the dog at their feet or the cat on their lap. They all agree. Jim Silveira is a Hero.”
For more information, visit Rancho Coastal Humane Society at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas, call (760) 753-6413, or log on to sdpets.org.