Mr Sam Simon passed away on 8th March 2015. Did you know he was a vegetarian (later vegan) and an animal lover? He has done so much for animals and now, his money continues helping them.
Rest in peace, Mr Simon.
Simon has been doing amazing things for animals for years. He’s been a vegetarian since age 19 and a vegan since 2005. An unabashed dog lover, in 2002, he began spending millions of dollars annually to establish and run the Sam Simon Foundation, a non-profit organization that saves the lives of dogs “to enrich the lives of people.”
Some of the remarkable ways Simon is using his millions to help animals and the animal rights cause include:
1. Mobile Veterinary Clinic
Simon fully funds a mobile surgical clinic that travels throughout Los Angeles, providing free spay/neuter and non-orthopedic surgical procedures for pets of low-income families and individuals. The clinic spends two weeks in each L.A. location it visits. Its 2013 schedule can be found here.
2. Hearing Dog Program
Simon’s Foundation rescues dogs from shelters and humane societies and trains them to become Certified Hearing Dogs or Home Hearing Dogs for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Certified Hearing Dogs assist their human companions in public places such as grocery stores, while Home Hearing Dogs are trained only to help with sounds inside the home.
3. Service Dogs for Veterans
The Foundation also trains shelter dogs to assist veterans diagnosed with PTSD as a result of serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. These dogs can also be trained to help veterans who have hearing loss, traumatic brain injury or moderate physical limitations due to injury.
4. Pet Visitation at Assisted Living Facilities
Many of the dogs in training become better socialized by regularly visiting residents of various assisted living facilities around Los Angeles.
“The pets are the highlight of the day when they come,” says Sharyn Houselog, Engage Life Director, Atria Hillcrest of Thousand Oaks. “These residents thoroughly enjoy and look forward to these bi-monthly visits. As soon as…the pets arrive, their faces light up and a spark is ignited in them.”
5. Adoption Program for Shelter and Rescue Dogs
Not every rescued dog has what it takes to be a Hearing Dog or a veteran’s Service Dog. Fortunately, the Sam Simon Foundation says these “near misses” still make wonderful companions for those who want to adopt a dog. They become part of the Foundation’s aptly named “Career Change Program.”
6. The Feeding Families Program
Established in 2011, Simon created the Feeding Families program out of “a desire to respond to the crisis encountered by families’ inability to provide food for their children and pets in the wake of the current economic downturn and the surge in unemployment.” The program distributes “nutritious vegan groceries, at no cost, to individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet.” It helps to feed an estimated 200 families a day.
The Sam Simon Foundation does not accept donations from the public, and does not charge for any of its services. Sam Simon pays for it all, happily, to the tune of millions of dollars every year.
7. Major Donations to Animal Rights Organizations
Over the course of several years, Simon has consistently made large contributions to select organizations that are close to his heart, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Why these groups?
“One of the things about animal rights, which is not the only thing that I care about in this world, is that your money can bring success. I see results. There is stuff happening, really good stuff, every week. I’m not sure you get that with a lot of disease charities,” Simon told the Hollywood Reporter recently.
8. Buying Zoos and Circuses to Send the Animals to Sanctuary
Simon told the Hollywood Reporter in July that he got this idea while talking with PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk in his hospital room. He said, “Ingrid and I got this fun idea. I started to buy these zoos and circuses in December. I just wanted to have some days where I get to see animals walk in grass for the first time. Through PETA, we rescue animals in roadside zoos and circuses. They are some of the most abused animals in the country. Freeing those animals, that’s something I’m not sure I would do if it weren’t for the cancer.”