The phrase, “Be Kind,” can be seen everywhere from around the necks of conscientious dogs to socialites Paris and Nicky Hilton’s wrist. The “Be Kind” matching set consists of a bracelet and dog collar, created by animal activist and spokesperson Frances Hayward to raise money for the Humane Society and their effort to rescue animals affected by Hurricane Katrina and Rita. Since the release of these brown and blue bracelets in September 2005, more than 30,000 have been sold, raising upwards of $200,000 to help rescue the stranded animals in the Gulf Coast.
Hayward first got the inspiration to create the “Be Kind” set from her very own rescued dog, Amigo. Under Hayward’s nurturing care, Amigo went from being an abandoned stray left homeless by Hurricane Frances that struck the Bahamas, to the poster-dog for the local Humane Society on Grand Bahama Island. When Hayward rescued Amigo, he was a small mixed-breed dog all alone in the world. But in a canine rags-to-riches story, he transformed into the “face” of Bahamian potcake dogs (potcake is the Bahamian term for mixed-breed dogs, referring to a cake that forms at the bottom of a pot of peas and rice, typically fed to dogs in the Caribbean).
Hayward and the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons chartered a bus named after her beloved Amigo called the “Amigo Express”. They traveled to affected areas in Louisiana and brought back over twenty abandoned dogs and cats to Long Island. “These animals came in the worst condition, and within days they were fine,” said Hayward. “There are still hundreds more. If we can’t find their owner, we’re going to adopt them.”
Amigo’s fame and philanthropy extends to his own foundation, the Friends of Amigo Foundation, which is collaborating with the Humane Society to create these message bracelets and collars to continuously help the animals affected by the natural disasters.
Frances Hayward, an American-born woman who now divides her time between New York, London, and the Bahamas, is extremely active in charity work. She’s married to one of Britain’s richest men, Sir Jack Hayward, ranked #270 in the Sunday Times’ 2004 Rich List. Hayward invests her energy and money largely on philanthropic efforts, throwing parties for charity at her East Hamptons estate or being personally involved as a chairperson on several committees. She is honorary chairperson of the Humane Society in Grand Bahama.
Along with Hayward, Amigo’s efforts to help animals were recognized when he received the Ambassador of Goodwill Award from the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, presented by actor Alec Baldwin! Amigo has gone from life on the streets to achieving local stardom and inspiring a trend that will help animals everywhere, including animals affected by Hurricane Katrina and Rita.
For more information contact: www.bekind.org.