The Voice




Linda with the auction winners, Pets Alive Executive Director Audrey Lodato, and Molly (woof!)

On November 9, 2014, the three winners of Linda’s auction to benefit Pets Alive joined her and her son, Jake, for an afternoon at this wonderful no-kill animal shelter in Middletown, New York where they would become acquainted with the staff and the animals who benefit year after year from the generosity of Linda and her fans. As you will read, the day will not soon be forgotten by the three lucky auction winners, Carol Lefevre, Todd Bulmash and Linda Skidmore.

“Pets Alive had the pleasure of recently hosting Linda Eder and her auction winners for a day at Pets Alive. Pets Alive is one of the oldest and largest no kill animal sanctuaries in the country. We’re home to about 150 cats, 75 dogs, and 12 farm animals.

Yearly, Linda holds an auction for her fans, and the winners get to spend the day with her here at our facility. This year Linda herself and her fans raised 5,000 dollars! Linda brought a large handmade check, and we posed for pictures with Molly, a lovely pit bull who was not too sure about having her photo taken.

The group spent the day enjoying our facility and spending time with the animals that live here. They enjoyed a barn tour hosted by our volunteer Vivian, some time in the cattery, and some time with the dogs too.

Pets Alive is so grateful to Linda and her fans for this generous donation. The money will be used to save the lives of companion animals in need.  If you’d like to follow Pets Alive, you can find us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/petsalive, on Twitter – @petsalive, or on our website – www.petsalive.org.”

-Audrey Lodato, Executive Director of Pets Alive



Carol Lefevre, First Place Auction Winner, from Virginia writes…

Linda and Carol

The day was clear and mild. My sister and I had driven to Middletown from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia the day before so that we would be on time for our visit to Pets Alive. I was so excited for the visit to begin that, of course, we got there early. Soon Ellen Jacobs and the other two auction winners, Todd Bulmash and Linda Skidmore, arrived. 

As the noon hour approached, we watched Linda drive up. With her was her tall, handsome son, Jake. I had never met Linda before and I was beyond excited to get a hug from her. 

We then started our tour led by Vivian Fiero, a member of the great staff at the Pets Alive animal sanctuary. It is quite an impressive place. In addition to the staff, there are many volunteers, without whom the facility could not operate. We saw many dogs, each in its own large run with toys, beds and an igloo house.

We were then taken to a barn with a pig in one stall and a blind horse named Boo in another. Linda was so kind as she petted and talked to Boo. She, of course, being so knowledgeable about horses, answered a number of questions I had about them. Then we entered the pig pen. It was a large fenced in area next to the barn. Who knew it would be so much fun to pet a pig! We saw some other horses that live on the “farm.” After that we saw some goats and a beautiful horse named Murphy that still had the scars from a halter that had been embedded in his face. Unfortunately, due to my severe allergies, I had to miss the cat house. It seemed that was a highlight of the visit as everyone played with (and almost adopted) some of the
resident cats and kittens. 

The staff of PA provided lunch for us and, since the day was so beautiful, we ate at picnic tables outside. The cameras and phone cams clicked all day as each of us wanted pictures with Linda and each other to commemorate this wonderful day. 

The day ended with auction gifts presented, more pictures taken, promises of Facebook friending, and hugs all around as we said goodbye. All of my feelings about what a terrific person Linda Eder must be were realized. She is beautiful, warm and full of love. This was truly a day I'll never forget.

 

Todd Bulmash, Second Place Auction Winner, from Illinois writes…

Linda and Todd

For years I have heard Linda talk about Pets Alive, the no-kill animal shelter in New York. After hearing what they do for the animals and how heavily they rely on donations, I wanted to do all I could. So being the animal lover that I am, I would always make sure I stopped at the bank before a Linda concert to pick up a few rolls of quarters to leave on the stage. I knew those quarters would make their way to the folks at Pet’s Alive. 

However, when I saw that Linda was auctioning off a chance to spend the day at Pets Alive, I knew I had to be a part of it. I watched the auction page very closely and made sure that I put in my bid as close to the cut off time as possible. I was so excited to find out that I had won one of the spots. 

When the weekend finally came, I packed my bags and flew from Chicago to New York for what I was sure was going to be a wonderful day. Being the middle of November, the weather was anything but predicable. However, we lucked out and had a day filled with sunshine and temperatures that were very reasonable for that time of year. I was able to get away with wearing only a hoodie for most of the day. 

I made sure I got there early so that I did not miss anything. Once Linda arrived, the fun began. Linda even brought her son, Jake, that day. We started the day meeting Audrey, Executive Director at Pets Alive. We took a few pictures and presented the folks at Pets Alive with our donations, which they were so thankful for. Not only did the three of us who won the auction present donations, Linda also gave them a donation on behalf of her fans. I finally got see all those quarters make their way to the shelter!

We then started our tour of the facility. I was surprised at how large Pets Alive really is. The folks at the shelter do a wonderful job of giving the animals that they care for plenty of space to “play.” Our tour began with the barn area – we got to meet some pigs, goats and even the horses. One of the horses, named Boo, is blind. When we got to Boo’s area, Linda spent a lot of time with him. In some small way, it was magical being able to stand back and watch Linda connect with this horse. You could tell that she had a soft spot in her heart for him. After we said goodbye to Boo, we went to see Murphy, a retired NYC carriage horse that some Linda fans may remember. 

After our barn tour, we had a wonderful lunch that was provided by Pets Alive. During lunch we all got to chat and get to know each other better. Getting to spend that time with Linda is something I will always remember.

When we were finished with lunch, we went to visit “The Cat House” (which is exactly what it sounds like – an actual house dedicated entirely to cats).  There are different rooms in the house and each serve a different purpose (e.g. the kittens are in one room separate from the senior cats, etc.). As a group, we spent a lot of our time in the cat house, especially the kitten room.  There were a few cats that Linda and Jake just couldn’t put down. One of the young kittens even fell asleep in Linda’s arms; it was amazing to watch.  Yet, each cat had its own unique personality that made it special. 

As tough as it was to put down the cute cats, it was time to move on and go see the dogs. We got to see firsthand how the trainers at Pets Alive work with the dogs to get them ready for adoption. A lot of time and attention is given to making sure the dogs go to a proper home.

Several hours had flown by at this point even though it felt like nothing, and our day at Pets Alive was coming to an end. We each got a chance to have our picture taken with Linda and then Linda presented each of the winners with a few gifts, as part of our winnings.

Overall, the day was a complete success. Since I have gone to so many Linda concerts over the years, my friends often joke and ask me if Linda and I are on a first name basis. Well, after spending the day with her at Pets Alive, I can finally say that it felt like we were. Linda was so “down to earth” and seeing her in an environment that you could tell she was so comfortable in, made her that much more real! I have often said that Linda is so gracious to her fans when signing autographs and taking pictures at her concerts – the whole day was just one more example of the kind of generosity she has shown to so many… even those with four legs.

 

Linda Skidmore, Third Place Auction Winner, from New York writes…

Two Lindas :)

Being a person who loves animals as much as, if not more than, humans, I was truly excited to take the drive up to Middletown, NY for my first visit to Pets Alive. Even though it was a Sunday in November, the weather turned out to be perfect. The sun was shining and the city skyline looked so beautiful as I was driving over the Throgs Neck Bridge. I was even more amazed at the fact that there was no traffic and arrived at my destination in just a little over two hours.  Carol and Todd, the other two auction winners, were already there. Ellen came in behind me and a few minutes later, Linda and Jake arrived. We were all ready and anxious to get started.

The first thing we did was present Pets Alive with a $5,000 check from the proceeds of the auction, Linda’s CDs and the quarters that all of her fans know to leave on stage. Linda had made a very large check on cardboard so we were all able to stand behind it for pictures.  Felt like I won the lottery!

At this time, we were also introduced to the volunteers who would take us on the grand tour to meet the loving animals who reside here. All of the workers we met were so gracious and giving. It was clearly evident that they love what they do and the animals love them.

Next stop was the stable. I was so happy to see that Hazel, the pot bellied pig, was back from her surgery. I had been following her progress on Facebook. We met all the piglets out in the yard too. The one animal that I was really drawn to was a white horse named Boo who was totally blind and in his 20’s or 30’s.  He was standing all alone, and Linda was halfway through the fence rubbing his side and talking to him. He responded by slowly turning around and facing her. At that point , he seemed so happy. She told me to look at his mouth. He appeared to be smiling and his lips were quivering. Linda said that meant he liked it. When she walked away, he poked his head through the fence. I imagine he was hoping that she was still there. I was sad when we had to move on.

We walked down the driveway and crossed the street to meet some very friendly goats. We were also introduced to Murphy, the very famous NYC carriage horse. I am so glad he is safe and well taken care of at Pets Alive. He loves Linda!

The next item on the agenda was a delicious lunch provided by Pets Alive. Who would have thought it would be warm enough to eat outside? I enjoyed the casual conversation with such wonderful people AND the food! It’s so nice to be in the company of other animal lovers.

And when lunch was over, we took a walk to the Cat House. This literally is a large brick house inhabited by cats. They all have designated rooms based upon age and other factors.  

We visited at least four different rooms and got to spend time petting and holding the cats. The cat above loved Linda’s attention. She didn’t like touching the floor so she jumped from fireplace to cat condos all around the room. Fascinating to watch her. She almost fell once but didn’t. In the Opera Room, we met Dame Diva. She kept walking around Linda’s neck and shoulders and appeared happy to do so. Linda, always a good sport, let her continue, making only one remark… that she would appreciate not having the cat’s butt in her face. Ha! We visited the kitten room next where I had my heart broken. I had two beautiful cats for 18 years and the last one passed away almost a year ago. I immediately saw this 12-week-old gray male who reminded me of my Zach. His name was Tollhouse. I knew I wanted two males again so Linda asked the volunteer if this little guy had a littermate. Of course, he did… and although a female, she looked just like KC, my other cat. Jake held both of them in his arms so lovingly. I think Linda was hoping I would take them home. I said if I changed my mind, I could always drive up in a few days and get them. She said she would deliver them personally to me if I had a change of heart. I thought about those kittens all the way home! Two days later I saw that they had been adopted together and that made my day!

I’m still looking, but the kittens will find me. That’s how it happened the last time!

Our last event at Pets Alive was watching the dog trainer teach her dog to make eye contact by holding a treat between her eyes. We all got to feed her. Lucky dog! And then a family came in with their old dog that was going to take a walk with one they wanted to adopt to see how they would get along. We were invited to walk with them, but Linda wisely suggested we didn’t, as it might be more difficult for the animals.

Time to say Farewell! Four hours never went by so quickly. Linda gave each of us a personalized Svengali print, a beautiful ornament that she created out of her “Linda Eder Pin Ups” and a signed copy of her LindaLive CD. We took some more pictures. It was so nice meeting Jake in person. What a kind and gentle young man! He takes after his mom! Carol and Todd, it was a pleasure meeting you and sharing this wonderful day together.

Thank you so much to all the dedicated workers at Pets Alive! And a very special thanks to Ellen Jacobs! It’s not easy putting this together and keeping in touch with all of us. But you do it so well year after year.

Linda Eder - I had a fantastic time. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Thank you always, for your generosity… and that magnificent voice! You are a kind and beautiful soul!

 

Scenes from the day at Pets Alive on November 9, 2014 ...

 

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