Meet Amanda Hearst, Founder and Chair of Friends of Finn
The Friends of Finn (FoF) committee is a group of young leaders dedicated to working with The HSUS’s Stop Puppy Mills Campaign to put an end to the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills and advocate pet adoption.
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 (Finn for short) from a local New York City pet store. I had grown up with animals - dogs, cats, even some goats and donkeys - and now I had Finn, my very first pet, who inspired me to do something meaningful- I just didn't know what yet. 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 my animal-loving friends to join.
Shortly thereafter, 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 engaged with the work. It was difficult, challenging and enormously rewarding. Then 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. However, after seeing those little dogs in cages, with looks of fear and anxiety in their eyes, hair knotted, bodies weak and emaciated, I had to know the truth.
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." He had come from a puppy mill with countless citations and that had, at one particularly low point, housed 900 dogs in the same vicinity.
It was then that Friends of Finn was born. I knew 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 cruel industry of puppy mills.
I am astonished by the success of our committee. 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.
Amanda Hearst and the Friends of Finn committee
Learn more about what you can do to stop puppy mills »
Amanda Hearst is the Founder and Chair of Friends of Finn, and serves on The HSUS Board of Directors and the Advisory Board of NEST. Hearst co-founded an ethical fashion e-commerce business, Maison de Mode, where she sells and supports conscious commerce, and is also the Special Projects Editor at "Town & Country" magazine, where she writes about sustainable fashion and travel. Named one of the "20 Under 40" philanthropists by the New York Observer, Hearst received The HSUS Compassion in Action award in 2015 for her work on behalf of animals. She currently resides in Manhattan with her pup, Finnegan.