Setbacks make you stronger. Just ask Okey.

When I launched the second Okey’s Promise project, I really debated about using the Kickstarter program a second time. It worked well for the first project, and it was trendy. But there were drawbacks. Kickstarter is all or nothing (you get nothing if you do not meet your goal), and they really constrain you to a time frame. There are also fees that cut into your actual proceeds.

I decided to go with it because the program is getting lots of buzz for its creativity. Unfortunately, it did not work so well the second time around. We didn’t meet the goal, so we got nothing.

I am not giving up, though.

Okey’s Promise is not just about me. Okey’s Promise is a movement that includes Promise Keepers from all over the world who have given their time and passion to the cause. It would be incredibly selfish for me to just give up and say, “Sorry, guys,” to all those who have been helping me get the word out.

So we are charging forward, and beginning a whole new fund raising campaign through ChipIn. I will honor the same rewards that I offered through the Kickstarter campaign with the ChipIn campaign. I have raised the goal and extended the time frame in the hopes that we can make it even grander.

Read the details about the Okey’s Promise: Celebrating the Human – Animal Bond project here.


Okey had many setbacks in her process of adjusting to life with four other cats and a human that she both feared and clung to for support. Nothing was easy for her, why should I expect it to be easy for me?

If you would like to contribute, you can use the widget in the right sidebar. If you can’t contribute funds, you can still be a Promise Keeper by helping get the word out. Please feel free to embed the widget on your own site, and please share the video.

Thanks for your support. It means more than you know.



Things are hopeless except when they aren’t.

Drawing by BZTAT

The other day, I shared a story about a woman who was tending to cats in a seemingly hopeless neighborhood, where children were treated with disregard, and the cats with even less. I shared it as a story of hope.

What? Hope?

I know. It felt like a stretch even to me.

I spent 20 years working with children and families in neighborhoods like the one in the story. I have seen not only the pain of feral cats harmed by hateful human acts.

I have seen children harmed by hateful human acts.

Those children often grow up to hurt humans and animals, and the cycle continues.

Except when it doesn’t.

You see, there is hope, because sometimes the cycle breaks. Sometimes something happens, and a child’s spirit rises above the emotional carnage around them. Sometimes an emotionally wounded adult gets help and changes their actions. And sometimes a fearful victim seeks refuge and protection from an abuser, and becomes a survivor.

I was only able to stay a counselor for 20 years because of the resilience and hopeful courage that I saw in the people with whom I worked. I left the profession to pursue my art, not because I lost hope.

What happens to cause the cycle to break?

  • Someone reports an incident of child abuse to authorities and it leads to a family intervention that protects the child and gets the family the help it needs to be safe.
  • A child sees an adult acting differently than what he/she is accustomed to seeing – caring for animals or doing other random acts of kindness.
  • Schools and other community resources promote education about empathy.
  • Someone is moved to action to change things in their community because they were moved by a piece of art or other creative endeavor.

Okey’s Promise is more than an artwork. It is more than a website and blog. It is a movement to create awareness so that we can improve the lives of children, of families and of animals.

Contributing to the current Kickstarter campaign is one way that you can keep the promise, but there are other ways too.

What can you do in your community to make our world a better place for all creatures great and small?

Please check out our resources page for information about intervening with children, families and animals. You may find that there is more that you can do than you ever imagined.



Profiles of Hope: The Empty Collar

cat-collar-wood-doorThis is the first in the Okey’s Profiles of Hope series, which highlights anonymous stories of courage and hope related to the issues of animal abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence. This story was sent to me via a follower on Facebook.

I have always known that people that abuse and neglect animals are often abused or neglected themselves, and people who are heartless are raising these children, and the children are becoming heartless.

Sadly, I get to see this up close and personally every day where I go to care of a colony of cats in a very bad neighborhood in Worcester, MA. The adults throw rocks at us. The children throw rocks at the cats. The children have killed kittens. The adults do not care. The adults think nothing of getting rid of a pet when they feel like it. They do not watch over and protect their children either.

Just yesterday as I was taking yet another dead cat from the shed and removing its collar to place on the shed door as a reminder, a woman was screaming and swearing at her child from one of the apartment buildings nearby. There is such anger and hatred surrounding these children. They take it out on the cats and they will grow older and start taking it out on people.

It starts in the home. If there is no kindness, love and positive role models in the home, there is no hope for the children or the animals. There is no hope for the future.


From BZTAT: But there is hope. This writer is intervening with the cats, and making a difference. And Okey’s Promise Keepers are helping to get the word out that we need to look at the WHOLE problem – children, animals, AND emotionally wounded parents.

It does start with the children. How can we make a difference to help them see that an animal is a life worth respecting, and an empty collar is something we never want to see?

The empty collar reminds us all that there is a lot of work to be done to change hearts and minds, but it is a goal worth seeking.


Would you like to submit anĀ Okey’s Profiles of Hope story? Contact BZTAT to learn how.


Public art to make our world a better place for all creatures great and small.