jme Thomas’ Motley Zoo

Name: jme Thomas

What is your job? 

Full-time volunteer executive director of Motley Zoo Animal Rescue

What social causes are most important to you? 

Animal welfare, primarily finding homes for pets in need.

What charity do you support – and how? 

Motley Zoo primarily, but I also started “Cancer is a Jerk” in honor of my best friend who is losing her battle to aggressive and advanced breast cancer. I have always been a person dedicated to service. I used to design clothing (came VERY close to being on Project Runway three times!) and my goal with the clothing line was to donate the proceeds to charity. Eventually, I decided that instead of trying to get from A to Z by selling the clothes, I could instead just do the work myself instead, directly to the causes I cared about. So I have now funded 2 charities, though Motley Zoo is my full-time priority.

Why do you have a passion for this one in particular, is there a personal tie? 

I have always loved animals- they used to call my mother Dr. Doolittle, so I certainly got it from her, but actually, I was never allowed a dog or cat growing up-it wasn’t until college and beyond that, I actually had experience with these animals, but it changed my life. Adopting my first rescue dog was the catalyst for fostering, and that was the end of the line for me- I knew that was my calling. Less than 2 years later I founded Motley Zoo with less than $2500 and a handful of people to help. We are now an org of over 100 volunteers and just rescued our 1000th pet (since May 2009).

Is there a particular way you would want to encourage readers to be involved? 

I would encourage them to consider volunteering or fostering for a shelter or rescue near them. Adopt, or donate too. Fostering is easier than people think- we always encourage someone to give it a try just once- the experience is the most amazing thing…you think that changing the pet’s life is the basis, but really you find it changes yours the most! Don’t be afraid to ACT TODAY in finding a way to help animals in need.

How would you define social responsibility?

It is everyone’s responsibility to attend to the little corners of their world. Everyone has some kind of a cause that gets them going- rather than talking, criticizing, and worrying ACT. Action is critical, and it starts with ONE person, one day, deciding the solution is in their hands.

Do you have any tattoos that relate to your work?  

Yes, I have 2 cats on my lower back — my first 2 kitties. I have a large cat on my bicep, the incarnation of all my black kitties to date (4). I am trying to work out getting a logo of a cat adoption campaign in exchange for a grant…the others are Nike, the goddess of victory. This came initially from my love of the Misfits (my first tat was actually a Misfits fiend but done badly so I covered it up with the cats on my butt), but Nike was a goddess with fiery golden hair (same as mine) and through the many adversities in my life, I have triumphed. It is across my full back- my first anniversary present from my husband, also the artist.

He wouldn’t do it for me when we first met because he thought I’d regret it if we broke up…but I told him that was silly- and after a year, and knowing we were to marry, he agreed! I added lilies to her feet when my mother died(she bred many new kinds of them). I also have a compass, that 2 of my other friends have. My one friend died suddenly as well so it means even more to me now. All of my tats mean something important to me- and I plan to get a sleeve of animals, clearly dedicated to all my charitable efforts too.

Your artist?  

Bryan Thomas, my husband. The most talented artist ever! He only moonlights as an artist now but used to work in a shop.

Check out: Shawne “Lights Out” Merriman for Homelessness

Sharon Gannon for Animal Rights and Environmentalism

Sharon Gannon, founder of Jivamukti Yoga

What is your job?

To contribute in some small way to the happiness and liberation of others.

What social causes are most important to you?

Animal rights, environmentalism, and music

What charities do you support – and how?

I give money to lots of amazing people who are doing hands-on work to relieve the suffering of animals—one being at a time. I also give money to many amazing people who are working to educate other human beings about the intelligence and sensitivity of other animals, trees, forests, bodies of water, and other ecosystems. I also like to support individual musicians who are doing wonderful musical things in the world.

All of life is alive. A bird is alive and feels and thinks and communicates. A Tree is alive and also feels and thinks and communicates. We live in a living world filled with feeling, and thinking beings who are communicating with us all the time, but we (human beings) have forgotten how to listen. I like to support other people who have organizations (sometimes it’s just them working solo) that are helping all of us human beings to remember how to live harmoniously/musically with all of life.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite non-profit organizations which I love to support:

PETA, Farm Sanctuary, Sea Shepard Conservation SocietyUrban Cat LeagueNeighborhood CatsAnimal MuktiBonobos Conservation Initiative, Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Woodstock Farm Animal SanctuaryAnimal Kind, Circle of Life, Gallmann Africa Conservancy, Rainforest Foundation, and Maverick Concerts.

How would you define social responsibility?

Being political. The word, politic means the body—the greater body—the community you live with. Some people may say that they are not interested in politics, that they are not political. Well, I would have to say that, you can’t help but be political because you live on this earth—you live in a community, you are not alone—you are living with other people. Even if you take yourself out of a metropolitan city and transport yourself to the “country” somewhere, you can’t get away from people—you will find yourself still living with people—perhaps tree people or bird or butterfly people or deer or bear people or maybe even elemental beings like fairy people—but still you will not be able to get away from “other” people. So for your own happiness and sanity, it would be best if you could find ways to get along with these other people. I think the real meaning of social responsibility is to be political –to dare to care—to care about the happiness and wellbeing of all the people who you live with. To be political is to live your life in a way that enhances the lives of others in your community—all others.

A great way to start getting into politics is to be vegan. To dare to care about others (animals trees—all living beings) is the most radical, political thing any of us can do at this time. We’ve all been conditioned by a culture, which has told us to look out for number one—no need to care about anyone else. This self-centered way of perceiving reality is simply not sustainable to live here on planet Earth. And besides that –it isn’t very much fun either to live so cut off from the rest of the world.

Do you have any tattoos that relate to your social beliefs?

On my right ankle, I have a tattoo of a black, gold, and red coral snake coiled around the alchemical symbols for entropy and evolution. It is a heavily encoded image, which speaks about equanimity of mind—the goal of yoga practice. The snake is modeled after a real person who I met when I was a little girl, living in the Florida everglades—this small snake spoke to me then—she taught me something about the power of one’s actions.

The snake is an ancient symbol of consciousness, DNA, kundalini, and perception. Entropy means to turn inward and evolution means to roll out. When we are able to bring our minds to a place of equanimity we become balanced, overcoming duality and the restrictions of time.  This tattoo reminds me of my project to try to attain some level of equanimity of mind while I am still fortunate to have a body—to be alive.

Quick list of tattoos/mention artists if you’d like:

Madame Vyvyan Lazonga—the greatest tattoo artist in the world! This talented and amazing lady lives and works in Seattle Washington, we’ve known each other since 1968—wow that’s 42 years!

Check out: Pussycat Dolls’ Kaya Jones for Equality

Joan Jett for Farm Sanctuary

Name: Joan Jett

What is your job? I am a musician, guitar player to be exact.

What social causes are most important to you?

Animal rights, environmental causes, taking care of our forests, rivers, oceans, air… to see that connection.

What charity do you support? Farm Sanctuary.

Why do you have a passion for this one in particular, is there a personal tie?

There is a personal tie because I love animals, and feel a connection with them. I became aware of Farm Sanctuary’s work and wanted to help. Farm Sanctuary has 2 farms where they bring the animals they rescue. One is in upstate New York and one is in California. I just went to visit overnight in New York, and it was an incredible experience! I met my namesake, Joan the pig! I really enjoyed meeting all the animals. I highly recommend the experience!

Is there a particular way you would want to encourage readers to be involved?

To become vegetarian, or vegan. I am vegetarian, I have fluctuated between the two, but my goal is to be vegan. It helps the animals and the earth.

Quick list of tattoos/mention artists if you’d like:

I have a fighter jet on my left hip, done at Lyle Tuttle’s shop in West Hollywood, CA. Everything else was done at Daredevil Tattoo in New York City. I have a Labris inside double female symbols on my sacrum, an om symbol on the back of my neck, a Greek symbol for victory and progress on my ankle, a spiral with rays radiating out on my left forearm, a figure 8 armband on my upper left arm, and a triangle with loops and swoops above the figure 8 armband.

Check out: Sharon Gannon for Animal Rights and Environmentalism