Cruising for Animals

Prior to their marriage 35 years ago, neither Bruce nor Carolyn Silberstein could claim a particular closeness to animals. Though she longed for a pet, Carolyn had never been allowed one as a child, and though Bruce grew up with dogs he was not yet an avid animal lover. Two children, several special dogs, and an empty nest later, the Silbersteins are now passionate in their love for animals.

One dog in particular deeply touched the lives of the Silbersteins. Upon returning to New York City from college, one of their sons adopted a rescued pit bull who quickly became a beloved member of the family. However, the Silbersteins' happiness turned to heartbreak when their son found himself on the losing end of a battle with his apartment building to keep the dog. Although they were ultimately able to find another loving home for the pit bull, the family's experience of fighting for and then losing the dog made them realize the depth of the human-animal bond."This experience really ignited our love for animals in recent years," remembers Carolyn."Since then, Bruce and I have adopted a Maltese, and my older son and his wife have taken in a dog rescued from Hurricane Katrina."

Having long been generous philanthropists, the Silbersteins felt a growing commitment to designate some of their giving to animal causes. Carolyn, an avid fan of Animal Precinct notes,"Though what I see on the program often upsets me, it also strengthens my resolve to do something to promote the humane treatment of animals."

In August, the Silbersteins contacted the ASPCA to arrange a tour of the 92nd Street headquarters, and what they saw cemented this resolve. Bruce remembers,"I was shocked by what I saw on our tour. I knew the ASPCA was doing good things for animals, but I had no idea that the shelter was as modern, efficient and well run as it was. That was a big selling point for me—I saw it as a reflection of the rest of the organization." Deeply touched by their experience, the Silbersteins decided that day to make a major commitment to the ASPCA—and in honor of Carolyn's love for Animal Precinct, they pledged to buy a new (and badly needed) police cruiser for the ASPCA's Humane Law Enforcement team.

Together with the ASPCA's Humane Law Enforcement team, the Silbersteins eagerly await the arrival of the new police cruiser, scheduled for delivery in 2008. Reflecting on their gift, Carolyn notes that love for animals sometimes has a snowball effect, and she is excited about how their story will help inspire others to do good for animals.