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Lee Asher is the Founder of The Asher House

“Lee Asher is known for his positive presence. Visit The Asher House page and you’ll be met with countless videos of Lee greeting animals getting a second chance at his Oregon sanctuary. But Lee’s struggles with mental health don’t often get the same spotlight.

Lee joined host Jay Ruderman to talk about the importance of pet adoption, resilience, and what it took to go from a 9 to 5 to running a 240-acre animal sanctuary. The two also discuss Lee’s long road with depression, and what changes he’d like to see in the animal rescue community.

To learn more about The Asher House, click here.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Lee Asher:

The reason why we love the hug so much, it’s the heart against the heart. We’re here and connected and living things, human beings, we’re all connected. When you go from just thinking that and saying it to believing it, then the animals believe it about you too, and that’s the biggest difference.

Jay Ruderman:

Hi, I’m Jay Ruderman and welcome to All About Change, a podcast showcasing individuals who leverage the hardships that have been thrown at them to better other people’s lives.

Montage:

I say put mental health first because if you don’t-

Montage:

This generation of America has already had enough.

Montage:

I stand before you, not as an expert, but as a concerned citizen.

Montage:

Yes we can.

Montage:

Louder.

Montage:

Yes we can.

Montage:

Louder.

Jay Ruderman:

If there’s one word to describe Lee Asher, it’s resilient.

Lee Asher:

But what I can tell you that I’m convinced of is the beauty of a dog that we share in common with is the resilience. People always mention, “Man, dogs are so resilient. They’ve been through this, they’ve been through that.” Yeah, but you have been through a lot of shit too, and you’re here.

Jay Ruderman:

Lee has been an avid animal lover since childhood. His history of rescuing and fostering dogs goes all the way back to high school. That singular purpose of finding animals safe and loving homes came out of a rough beginning.

Lee Asher:

Nothing ever felt like I fit. I always felt like a piece of a puzzle that was out of place. I had scoliosis, so I had to wear this huge back brace to school. Everyone was picking on me and throwing me into things and tripping me with it. And if it wasn’t for me feeling like such an outcast, I never would’ve started running away from school and going to the animal shelters and feeling like I found my purpose with animals. It never would’ve happened.

Jay Ruderman:

Lee’s single minded focus on saving animals has not only helped countless shelter pets find homes, it’s also kept him afloat during his own battles with mental health.

Lee Asher:

I get very depressed and it gets so dark and sometimes it comes for no reason. And what I have to do is I have to stop and I say, “Okay, let’s also think about the dogs that are on the way. Think about how happy those dogs are about to be when they touch grass for the first time.”

Jay Ruderman:

Today Lee runs Asher House, a sprawling animal sanctuary in Oregon. He’s been able to find hundreds of dogs, new homes with loving families and open the eyes of countless others to the beauty of rescuing a shelter pet. So welcome. As you can tell, I’m a dog lover. This is Teddy.

Lee Asher:

Hi, Teddy.

Jay Ruderman:

Teddy is with me all the time and loves me and I love him. I wanted to start by asking you a very basic question, something that I think you’re uniquely positioned to answer. What is the connection between dogs and humans? And I know you have many other animals in your sanctuary and animals that you’ve worked with, but the dogs seem to be a little bit different. They seem much more attached.

Lee Asher:

Yeah, I mean, it goes back to a long time ago with the wolves, and we depend on each other. We’re one of the few animals where we depend on each other to survive for more than just survival, it’s for love. It’s mental, it’s physical. I think the dog and the human bond is one of a kind. And you see it with other animals too. You see it with pigs and you see people have very special bonds with parrots, but with dogs, there’s just something very special there. Going back to the energy, 99.9% of the time, if you pass away, your dog is going to pass away too. Here’s a great example. I think it was six months ago, an awful story, this couple boyfriend, girlfriend, husband and wife were on a hike with their dog and they died. They died from dehydration.

Jay Ruderman:

I remember this story.

Lee Asher:

The dog died with them. Any other animal, a parrot, any other animal would’ve said, “I need to survive. I’m going to go find water.” And they probably would have, eventually. They would’ve found it. The dog definitely could have found water eventually, and he didn’t leave his parent’s side. He didn’t leave the humans side, and the dog died too. So it just shows you all animals are special. They really are. All animals have souls, and all animals, in my opinion, are the light of the world. The world can be very dark and animals naturally bring a light to it that makes any sane person, in my opinion, feel some sort of emotion, a better emotion. But dogs in particular, it’s like they were really sent here. Dogs are, it’s the only animal that’s not going to leave your side, but it’s just a very, very special, special soul.

Jay Ruderman:

Lee, I want to talk a little bit about growing up, and you’ve talked about this, about what your experience was growing up and being very uncomfortable interacting with other people, being bullied, having physical issues like scoliosis. Talk a little bit about your childhood and how that impacted you.

Lee Asher:

Everyone has a story and everyone has things that they wish went differently. For me personally, I grew up in a very narcissistic home and I was able, at a very young age, to figure out that I didn’t want to really be like my parents. And when you figure that out at a young age, it doesn’t mean you don’t want parents. You just don’t want to be like those parents. And at a young age, I really began trying to find my way because I could see how lost my parents were and their priorities were just so messed up. Their values were so messed up.

So because of that, I became needy to belong. Nothing ever felt like I fit. I always felt like a piece of a puzzle that was out of place. And it was very depressing for me because there weren’t many things in my favor that were helping me achieve those goals. As you mentioned, I had scoliosis, I still have it, so I had to wear this huge back brace to school. Everyone was picking on me and throwing me into things and tripping me with it. And in addition to that, I was told that I had severe learning disabilities. I still have very bad ADHD. If anything wasn’t fascinating to me, I just couldn’t retain it. I really couldn’t. And I would try and it just wasn’t possible. I was always thinking about animals and nature.

So I had to be in these special classes. I was in the classes with the kids with the severe learning disabilities. So at the time I really thought to myself, “Why is this happening to me? Why am I like this?” But my gosh, now going back, I wish I could hug that kid and tell him, “Hey, this is all part of what you’re going to do with your life. This is all preparing you for the future. And if it wasn’t for me feeling like such an outcast, I never would’ve started running away from school and going to the animal shelters and feeling like I found my purpose with animals. It never would’ve happened. And that’s what people really need to understand. All of it happened for me. It was all such a gift. And everything that happens to you is a part of the recipe for your purpose.

And if you don’t believe that, the alternative makes you a victim. When you have the victim mentality, it’s “I’m not going to help others because nobody helped me.” It’s not the approach for a successful life. And when I say successful, I don’t just mean financially, I mean a life worth living. Because of what I do, people tend to ask me how to find their purpose. And a good question in response to that is, “Well, what are you doing to look it?” And if you’re not looking in service, you’re not looking at all. You have to know that, Jay, me and you, we have the same purpose. The people who helped facilitate this have the same purpose. Your neighbor, we all have the same purpose. It’s an act of service. It’s why we’re here to help each other.

And if you’re doing anything other than that, you’re just pushing yourself backwards. No one is here to hate. No one is here to troll. We are all born to be creators. So you have to ask yourself every day, “Am I creating today or am I destroying?” And I learned at a young age that I wanted to create. I was never good at math. I was never really good in school. I always felt like I was stupid. I just knew what my calling was. I wanted to help people. I wanted to show love. I wanted to show people the same love that I would show animals like this unconditional, forgiving love.

Jay Ruderman:

So much of your background has resonated with me. I don’t talk about it, but I also had scoliosis growing up. I can tell you from looking at you and you’re very physically fit and you work out a lot, I could not tell unless you said that out loud. And I have a son with ADHD that we’re dealing with a lot of issues. He’s dealing with a lot of issues.

Lee Asher:

It’s not easy.

Jay Ruderman:

No, it’s not. And I tap into what you’re saying, but the way that you have been able to encapsulize the meaning of life, cut through all the crap and really see, hey, this is why I’m here, this gives me the most, meaning this gives me the biggest ability to contribute to the world. I think that the fact that you’ve been able to do that, I’m sure it didn’t happen right away, but in short time is very impressive. Most people can’t do that throughout their whole lives.

Lee Asher:

Can I add to that?

Jay Ruderman:

Sure.

Lee Asher:

When you say what you’re saying, for some reason, I’m not sure if it makes sense, but I have this inner dialogue that keeps saying the word resilience. And I was only able to get to this point, and by the way, as I say that, I have this uncomfortable feeling in my chest like, “Are you really at that point?” I just want to be clear, I wake up every day and the first thing that I tell myself is remember that you know nothing. I don’t know shit. I only know what I think I know. I don’t know shit. Nobody knows. We should never be convinced that we know or this is it.

But what I can tell you that I’m convinced of is the beauty of a dog that we share in common with is the resilience. People always mention, “Man, dogs are so resilient. They’ve been through this, they’ve been through that.” Yeah, but you have been through a lot of shit too, and you’re here. It’s about, you go for your purpose, you don’t care what people think. That’s one of the hardest things with social media. Everyone, they’re so afraid of what people say about them, who they’ve never met, who they don’t know, have no effect on their life. If you really have a strong purpose, you would never allow the opinion of someone else to interfere with that. Nobody who has ever done something extraordinary, didn’t have tens of thousands or even millions of people who tried to stop them.

I have to tell you, it’s about being resilient. It’s about being defeated, knocked down, hurt, wounded. I’ve really felt so many times so close to death emotionally. I can’t express it. I mean, I really like, “Maybe this is it for me.” But you have to not live in those feelings. When you feel this feeling of defeat, remember that you’re still in the shallow end of the water and it’s up to you which side of the pool you want to be. You can get out of the deep end. It’s about being resilient. You are no different.

People want to feel unique with their problems, Jay. That’s a big thing. People want to feel like they’re unique, and I’m only using this as an example because you just mentioned it, but when people talk about ADHD and things like that, other learning disabilities or anything whatsoever, anger issues, none of us are alone with our problems. All the things that you feel, that I feel, that these listeners who are listening feel every day, millions of people deal with that too. Some worse, some less. But our problems do not make us unique. What makes us unique is the way we decide to deal with them. That’s what makes us unique because at the end of the day, they’re not problems. They’re our gifts. They’re the things knocking on the door saying, “Hey, this is what makes you unique.” I’m not a problem. I want you to figure out how to use me as a force for good. That’s the difference.

Jay Ruderman:

It does take a lot of determination.

Lee Asher:

100%.

Jay Ruderman:

For what you’ve done, changing your life, what you’re focused on, even physically, keeping yourself active, taking care of yourself. That takes a lot of dedication. A lot of people don’t realize that everything that you’re going to do, which is going to bring you to a better place, involves hard work. Nothing is simple. I know we live in a society where everyone says, “Oh, things are simple.” Even adopting a dog, people may be like, “Oh, I want to adopt a dog.” Having raised a dog and you’ve raised many dogs, it’s a lot of work. You have to put the work in. You have to pay attention. It’s a creature that is reliant on you and you have to put the work in. And that’s what I think is missing from a lot of people. It’s stopping them from moving forward.

Lee Asher:

The thing is that you mentioned how I exercise physically, and it’s what we do behind the scenes when you’re not filming that’s going to create the foundation for your success. If you’re going to fulfill a purpose, your life’s mission. Let’s say you say, “I want to focus on my life’s mission, even figuring out what my life’s mission is,” you’re not going to be able to do that if you’re exhausted.

Jay Ruderman:

Exactly.

Lee Asher:

You’re not going to be able to do that. The thing about life that so many people unfortunately figure out once they’re too old is that there is no easy direction. Not being disciplined is even harder than being disciplined. It’s hard no matter what. We have a pond behind us. It’s about 10 acres. The dogs go swimming in it. The sanctuary is on 240 acres. A week ago, I was overlooking the pond. It was around 8:00O PM. The sunset was starting to go down, and I see these two geese, and they have six ducklings with them, and they’re going across the lake. And I remember looking at them and it was so peaceful, and I said, “Gosh, what an easy life to be a goose. What an easy life.” Today, this happened this morning. I go out, I look at the pond, the same two geese were going, only two ducklings, only two.

What does it mean? Just because something looks easy for a second, doesn’t mean that that is the easy life. In one week, those poor geese lost more than 50% of their children. It doesn’t matter what you are. If you are alive, if you are a duck, a goose, a worm, anything, if you are alive, you have to constantly work to survive. And if you don’t put that work into survive, when you’re in nature, you get eaten. If you don’t put that work to survive when you’re a human, you pretty much lose your will to exist. You become this person who never really actually lived. And if that’s the case, why not just decide to switch that? Why not just decide to start to commit? And I always tell people, if every day the grind of every day, which is what I do, sounds too unrealistic, then why didn’t you choose five days? Why didn’t you choose four or three or two? There’s no excuse.

Jay Ruderman:

Let’s talk about your journey. You took the path to work in corporate America. You did that for a while. You realized you hated it. Talk about that transformation, how you went from there to going on the road with your RV, with the dogs, to establishing Asher House.

Lee Asher:

As soon as I was able to, as soon as I was pretty much 18 and able to adopt a dog from a shelter, I was always getting dogs from shelters. In college, I was fostering dogs. In college, I fostered dogs, parrots, pigs. I mean, I was already building a small farm. I had the vision that I was going to work my ass off, make a lot of money and open up a sanctuary. That was my big thing. And that’s what everybody who loves animals pretty much says, “If I ever hit the lottery, I’m going to do this, do that.” None of that is actually true, unfortunately, because you’re either going to do it or you’re not. You’re not going to wait. And that was the epiphany that I had. I realized I was working as hard as I could. I hated my life. And I said to myself, “What are you doing with your life right now that makes you think you’re going to be able to fulfill your dreams? You’re not any closer today than you were 10 years ago.”

I had a lot of dogs at the time, and I was around 27-28 years old when I realized I was looking around me, seeing what my coworkers were doing, seeing what past coworkers were dealing with their lives. And if you’re a part of a herd, unless you leave that herd, you’re most likely going in that direction. I knew in my heart, I could feel it, I needed to leave the herd. I needed to do something different. I needed to go the opposite direction that everyone was going.

And the reason why I was able to make that decision, and I don’t mean to get too deep here, but the truth is, is I don’t think I wanted to live unless I was going to do it. I was over it, man. I was over the grind and the hustle without getting closer to the promises that I made dogs when I was younger, which was that I was going to save them all. And it was really that rock bottom that made me change my mind. I was like, “I’m either going to go all out and live my dream and fulfill my purpose and search for it along the way, or I just don’t know if I want to be here anymore. ”

Jay Ruderman:

How did you make that transition? Because I’m sure that it was a struggle at that time.

Lee Asher:

Yeah, it was beyond a struggle. My gosh. It was a very scary place for me, but I was going to do it regardless. So for people who don’t know, back in 2017, I had an idea because I was going to the shelters at the time and filming dogs that were available for adoption. And so many people on social media couldn’t believe that a dog that beautiful or a dog that calm or a dog that well behaved was at the shelter. And my own personal dogs, literally, people didn’t believe that I had adopted these amazing, beautiful dogs. A good way to find your purpose is the questions that people ask you a lot. The attention that you’re getting for something positive a lot, not all the times, but sometimes is a good foot in the door for finding your purpose and your mission.

So I had the idea. I said, “Man, if all these people don’t think that these are the types of dogs inside of shelters, let’s get an RV, bring my dogs so I could show people the relationship and the bond that you can have with your rescue dogs. And let’s go visit all the shelters in the country, highlight them on social media, get dogs adopted while showing what kind of dogs are inside of shelters.” Because I remember being so disappointed with the marketing material from shelters. The very sad music showing the sick, sad dogs, the slow motion with the dog looking up, and it only has one eye, “Please donate today.” I’m like, “My God, you’re scaring people, for God’s sakes. You’re keeping people out of the shelters.” Show them the other side of the kennels, which is the puppies and the jumping and the happy dogs and this. It’s not just the two, three sick dogs that are there.

So that’s what I wanted to do, and I sold all of my stuff. I sold everything. I started a Kickstarter where I needed to try to raise $40,000 to buy this RV. It was very difficult. If it wasn’t for a company called Best Bully Sticks, I never would’ve made it. We were about $20,000 away from our goal, and they gave me the rest of the money, and we got a lot of beautiful support from the supporters and followers, and we bought the RV and I hit the road.

Jay Ruderman:

So you’re trying to get people comfortable around the idea of considering adopting a dog.

Lee Asher:

Nailed it.

Sound Bite: Host:

You may know him for his six rescue dogs or maybe for his big RV in which he’s traveling the country in. But what most fans can’t get enough of is his sense of humor.

Sound Bite: Lee Asher:

Hey, welcome to the Asher House. Come on in.

Sound Bite: Host:

Lee Asher, along with his best friend and his six rescue dogs have been on a trip that will take them through 49 states in which their goal is to get as many dogs adopted from local shelters as possible. It was all made possible thanks to a Kickstarter-

Jay Ruderman:

And when did you realize that you’re starting to have success? That you’re able to influence getting people to adopt dogs?

Lee Asher:

My very first adoption event was in San Francisco. I really thought we’d have maybe 25-30 people and the event only had three people show up and they were related. And that was really scary to me because I’m like, “Oh man, I don’t know if this was the best idea, these three people.” And so it ended up just being me and these three people hanging out in my RV until the tour of the shelter. And we were talking and they said that they had a dog, but they got it from a breeder and the next dog they were going to get from the same breeder. So I was trying to talk to them about why they should consider adopting. And they had never been in a shelter before. They’d never even been in a shelter, and they lived right by it.

On the tour, they couldn’t believe their eyes. They were like, “Oh my God.” And they see a dog, they fall in love with it, it’s this little poodle, and they adopted it. They adopted their first dog. I really had felt like I won the lottery. I felt a little bit defeated by the outcome of just the three people. But when they adopted a dog, I was like, “Wow, maybe I can really do this. Maybe this is going to work.” And then slowly but surely, we started adopting more and more dogs and more and more people started showing up to the events. And then it wasn’t just that, all around the world, not just the country, all around the world, people are telling me, “I adopted this dog because of you. I adopted that dog.” So I started seeing this and I was like, “This is it. This is why we’re doing this. This is why I’m doing this. This is it.”

Jay Ruderman:

How do you know when someone is the right fit to adopt a dog?

Lee Asher:

The most unfortunate thing about the animal rescue community, it is filled with mentally unstable people that, for their own ego, call themselves a rescuer. They rescue a dog from a shelter just to put it in their own personal shelter, to say that they saved the dog. It gives them this significance. And then they have this entitlement to decide, to make the decision who gets the dog. So when you ask what does it take to adopt a dog? It really takes someone who has the mindset that, “I’m not adopting a dog because I need a dog. I’m adopting a dog because that dog needs me.”

And that’s the difference. Anybody can want a dog, but does that dog need a person? And what kind of person? And that’s something really important to pay attention to. It doesn’t matter how perfect a dog is, but a dog is going to test you just like a child will. It tests your patience, it’s going to make messes, it can bark, it can be very sick. You can find this perfect puppy from a breeder. I can’t tell you how many dogs we take because someone adopted a dog from a breeder. They end up having health issues that they can’t afford. You really want to be somewhat prepared for anything.

One of the things that the rescue community needs to do is get better leaders in the community, better people that represent animal rescue. There’s some really crazy, crazy people out there that would rather dogs not get adopted and destroy rescues because they’re sick. There’s really crazy people that just say they rescued a dog because they want to get the likes and the comments. It makes them feel like they have purpose, but it’s the complete opposite. They rescued a dog for their own need, for their own ego, and that’s what you have to be the opposite of. That’s one of the terrible things about social media. One of the reasons why the rescue world is in this very dark place right now with hundreds of thousands of dogs being euthanized every day is because of social media. People are trying to get the boutique most cutest dog so that they could be Instagram famous and whatever, and they’re getting rid of their other dogs and any dog with any sort of issue.

Jay Ruderman:

So Lee, I want to get back to social media because you’ve been fabulously successful at projecting a really positive image of being with your animals, and it’s attracted a big following and had a hugely positive effect in the world. But when did you start doing the videos and when did you start realizing that these videos were meaningful to people and were catching on?

Lee Asher:

It was really 2017 when articles started to come out, a lot of these different articles were coming out about this guy who can’t stop fostering dogs. And so it was really then, it occurred to me this is going to be the best way to share this message. This is going to be the best way for me to influence people in a positive light.

Jay Ruderman:

And when did it start really taking off?

Lee Asher:

It really started taking off in 2018, and just hasn’t stopped.

Jay Ruderman:

I’m very curious about this. When you’re feeling down, you can’t tell from your videos. You’re still energetic. You’re out there doing your job. You’re showing the positive impacts of being with animals and how important it is. How do you take your emotions, your regular person, your feeling emotions, how do you set that aside and be able to show the best part of yourself and what you’re doing?

Lee Asher:

I don’t know if people know this about me. I have a Patreon community and they know this, but it’s important that people know my parents really suffered from depression, and I do as well. I get very depressed, and it gets so dark. Gosh, gosh, it gets so dark, Jay, and sometimes it comes for no reason. I could feel the cloud and I start to beg, “No, not right now.” And it comes and it starts searching for all those reasons to hate myself. It starts searching for regrets. It starts searching for failures. And what I have to do is I have to stop and I say, “Okay.” I have to say, “This is what we’re doing then, yeah?”

I separate myself so that I now become a partner to me. I tell myself, “What is the outcome right now? Why are we doing this to ourselves?” I really start to be my own therapist. I said, “There’s always going to be time today, Lee, to think about the mistakes that you’ve made. For a second, let’s also think about what we’ve accomplished. Let’s also think about the dogs that are on the way.” Let’s say I’m about to make a rescue video, but I feel depression, I’ll tell myself, “Think about how happy those dogs are about to be when they touch grass for the first time. You are doing that, Lee, think about how good the people are going to feel when they see how excited you are about this rescue. You love these dogs. You’ve been wanting to save these dogs since you saw them. This is what we’re about to do. Maybe the dark cloud can go away for a little bit and come back later so that we could take care of this together.”

Today is rescue day, and this is a big one. This will be our biggest intake yet. We are taking 20 dogs specifically from some of the highest kill shelters in California. Oh my God, look at these babies. Wee-wee-wee-wee, wee-wee-wee-wee. Look at that. Oh my God, look at the husky babies. Are you kidding?

And that’s what happens. I don’t just say, “This is it now. Now I’m in a bad mood, everyone has to walk on eggshells around me.” You know what people don’t get about me and people like me is if someone can be that happy and that excited, we can also be the opposite. And we are. You’re never going to have one extreme without the other. This does not exist. It does not exist. So someone who feels love like I do and feels joy, oh my God, don’t think that that person doesn’t… It’s a gift for sure, but it’s an incredible curse because we feel the opposite just as much as we feel the love and the joy. It’s a dark place to be that extreme. The only way to figure it out is to figure out how to talk to yourself. You have to be able to have very important conversations with yourself that separate you from the situation at hand.

Jay Ruderman:

It’s a gift. Not everyone can do that. The mindset is really, really important. How did you move from the RV to the sanctuary?

Lee Asher:

It has to go back to the lesson of, this is happening for me and not to me. It’s happening for me and not to me. This is a habit that you have to believe in. It can’t just be motivation. This is happening for me. The car wreck, the accident, the breakup, the losing the job, it’s happening for me. I’m in the RV, the beginning of my career. The beginning of my career, I finally have 2, 3, 400 people showing up lines outside to come into the RV. We’ve adopted 2-300 dogs. I mean, we’re doing it. We’re doing it. Covid happens. They say, “You’re not doing it anymore. No more adoptions. The shelters are closing to the public. You’re done.” I had a choice. I said, “I’m going to camp out in the RV until I can hit the road again, or I’m going to know that this is happening for me. This is a sign that I’m ready for the next step.” And that next step was opening up a sanctuary. And that’s exactly what I did the same year.

Jay Ruderman:

And what type of animals do you have on the sanctuary?

Lee Asher:

Dogs, cats, parrots, pigs, alpacas, llamas, a lot of horses, donkeys, goats, mules, turkey, geese, quails, chickens. That’s pretty much it. Oh, peacocks. I forgot about the peacocks.

Jay Ruderman:

I just want to tell you that what I was most impressed by watching My Pack life on HBO Max is the way you’re able to get down on the ground and be close to an animal before you’re rescuing it. And there’s a video where the previous owner, I don’t know if it’s an alpaca or-

Lee Asher:

It’s an alpaca.

Jay Ruderman:

An alpaca, and the guy has him on a rope and he’s pulling him, and you’re like, “Can you take the rope off?”

Lee Asher:

It broke my heart, dude.

Jay Ruderman:

But then you pick up the alpaca, which I can tell, animals, I mean, not all animals, some animals love the touch, and this is an alpaca that probably weighs 140-150 pounds, and you’re carrying it and the animal’s heartbeat is coming down. You’re sitting with it. You have a very special way about being intuitive about how to be with these animals and then make them feel, even the ram, I don’t know how much the ram weighed, but picking up that ram and making the animal feel comfortable and not having someone drag into the trailer. Amazing. I would urge people to watch the show and to watch your videos because they’ll learn a lot about how to interact with animals, how they want to interact in their natural state and not just how we want to be with them.

Lee Asher:

Exactly. And it’s a thing to remember that, not to be so corny, but it’s because we’re all here to lift each other up. Whether it be an animal or a person, we’re here to lift each other up. And when you see someone struggling the way I saw that alpaca struggling, I’m there to lift them and to connect with them. The reason why we love the hug so much, it’s the heart against the heart. We’re here and connected and living things, human beings, we’re all connected. And when you go from just thinking that and saying it to believing it, then the animals believe it about you too. And that’s the biggest difference.

Jay Ruderman:

Just tell people how they can get involved in what you’re doing, how they can support your efforts, how they can make a difference in helping making the world a better place in terms of finding homes for animals.

Lee Asher:

I’ll start with the last question, which how to make a difference. If you really want to make a difference, you’re going to figure that out. You can volunteer, you can foster, you can donate, there’s so many things. You know how to make a difference. If you have the intention to make a difference, but you’re not going to take any action to figure out how, it’s going to be very short lived. It’s not going to do anything. I would say with all due respect, don’t think that although sharing videos and sharing things is important, it’s too easy to think that that’s part of your purpose. You have to take action and you have to go do something. There needs to be some struggle or else what’s the point? But spend some time to invest in making a difference. Don’t take the easy route, that A.

B, remember that the art of living is giving. For you to actually enjoy your life, to live a good life, there has to be service. You have to give. You have to give the best of yourself and the worst of yourself. Give to the universe, give to people, give. Not just money. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about action. If you can’t give action, then give money. Speaking of donations, the only place to ever make a donation to the Asher House is on our website, theasherhouse.com. If you’d like to come to one of my speaking events or engagements, it’s theofficialleeasher.com, theofficialleeasher.com. I’m going on tour soon. I’m very excited about it, and hopefully I can meet some of you there.

Jay Ruderman:

Well, I’m sure you’re going to be very successful. I really appreciate the work you’re doing. I mean, just seeing the number of dogs and the connection that you have to each of your dogs and how you care about them and how they’re all different because they all have their own personality, but you’re doing God’s work, and I wish you to go from strength to strength, and I’m so happy that you’ve not only found your calling in life, but you’re able to influence so many people to make the world a better place. So Lee Asher, I really appreciate our time. I’ve respected you and thank you for being my guest and All About Change.

Lee Asher:

Thank you deeply, brother. The feeling is mutual. Thank you for hosting me. Thank you for being who you are and you are appreciated, and I hope we stay in touch. Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Jay Ruderman:

As a dog lover myself, it’s been a true pleasure to hear not only about the incredible work Lee is doing, but the joy he’s been able to bring so many people and animals along the way. That’s it for today’s episode. Join us two weeks from today for my talk with Coach Bill Courtney, football coach, activist, and host of an army of normal folks. Today’s episode was produced by Rebecca Chaisson with story editing by Yochai Maital and Mijan Zulu. To check out more episodes or to learn more about the show, you can visit our website allaboutchangepodcast.com. If you like our show, spread the word, tell a friend or family member, or leave us a review on your favorite podcasting app. We’d really appreciate it. All About Change is produced by the Ruderman Family Foundation in partnership with Pod People. That’s all for now. I’m Jay Ruderman, and we’ll see you next time on All About Change.

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