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January 26, 2012

Meet Amanda Hearst, Founder and Chair of Friends of Finn

Friends of Finn is a dedicated group of young leaders committed to stopping the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills

Friends of Finn

  • Amanda Hearst started Friends of Finn to fight against the cruelty of puppy mills.

  • Amanda's dog Finn is her inspiration to help other dogs from puppy mills. Jerritt Clark

  • Amanda's efforts to end puppy mill misery took her into the field on an HSUS puppy mill rescue. Michelle Riley/The HSUS

  • Amanda's dog, Finnegan Hearst. 

My love for animals is what brought me to The HSUS. (Or perhaps what brought them to me!) After all, it was quite serendipitous how this all came about. 

I had recently bought my dog Finnegan from a local New York City pet store and could not get the notion out of my mind that I wanted to work with an animal charity. I had grown up with cats and dogs (and even goats and donkeys in the Hamptons!), and now I had this little dog, my very first pet, and I wanted to do something. 

And then The HSUS rang: They wanted a mother/daughter team to chair their first-ever gala in New York City. 

It was perfect timing. I immediately said yes and enlisted all my animal-loving friends to join. I flew down to Mississippi to visit animals rescued from a horrible puppy mill. (Watch the video of my visit with dogs rescued by The HSUS.) I was finally doing something and it was difficult and challenging, yet enormously rewarding. 

After the puppy mill, a thought crossed my mind: Was Finn from one of these puppy mills? The pet store had given me his birth certificate and paper with his family tree, assuring me that he was not a "puppy mill dog," but from a breeder who treated his animals kindly. 

Learn more about what you can do to stop puppy mills » 

However, after seeing all those little dogs in cages, with looks of fear and anxiety in their eyes, with their hair knotted and their bodies weak and emaciated, I had to know the truth. 

So, with the help of The HSUS, we did some research and the news hit me like a bullet in the chest: Yes, Finn was, in fact, a "puppy mill dog." 

Finn had come from a puppy mill that had had countless citations and had, at one particularly low point, housed 900 dogs in the same vicinity.

It was then that Friends of Finn was born. I knew that I could make an even bigger impact by aligning my friends (all of whom have pets that they adore) to raise awareness and funds to stop the industry of puppy mills. 

I am astonished by the success of our committee in such a short time. It is gratifying to know that we have not only raised money to rescue animals but also helped raise awareness of the problem.  

This is an exciting moment in the campaign against puppy mills, and I am so proud to be a part of this movement.

We hope you enjoy learning about this incredible cause. We look forward to your support and we'll keep you posted on everything from upcoming events to current FOF news.

Sincerely,
Amanda Hearst and FOF

Amanda Hearst is the founder and chair of Friends of Finn. She is also a market editor at Marie Claire magazine and a blogger for the magazine’s website, where she writes about sustainable fashion and design. Amanda also sits on the Executive Board of Riverkeeper, an environmental organization dedicated to protecting the bodies of water around New York City. She currently resides in Manhattan with her pup, Finnegan.

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