Category Archives: Animal Support

Traveling to Philippines to Change One Man’s Life

omidi-michael-julian-Philippines

                                                                                       

Julian and Michael Omidi have long been involved in sponsoring charitable causes that range from standing up to animal abuse to delivering aid to the poor around the world. Aside from donating money and initiating fundraising programs, however, the Omidi brothers also like to go beyond the usual philanthropic efforts. Indeed, in certain exceptional cases, they actually roll up their sleeves and put their skills to directly assist those in need. A remarkable example of their propensity for direct involvement in charitable work took place in the summer of 2013 when Julian and his mother, Cindi, sponsored Michael Omidi’s mission to travel to Philippines and operate on a man suffering from a massive neck lump caused by a thyroid goiter.
omidi-michael-julian-Philippines-after

                                                                               

The 20-year-old patient in question had lived with his condition for 10 years. Since his large neck mass set him apart from the rest of people in his village, he found himself alienated from the rest of community, unable to keep a stable job or maintain a romantic relationship. Incapable of supporting himself financially, the man had been living with his aunt and her 6 children since both of his parents had passed away a while ago. For many years, he had been trying unsuccessfully to seek medical care for his condition by applying for various social programs that sometimes covered his doctor visits, but were generally insufficient to provide for any sort of effective treatment.

omidi-michael-julian-Philippines-rx

When local physicians advised him to undergo tests such as MRI and CT scan, he often found himself unable to follow up on these recommendations. In the absence of adequate medical facilities in his village, the patient’s only option was to travel to the cities in order to have the aforementioned diagnostic procedures done. Unfortunately, not only did he lack the funds to travel, but his social programs did not even cover the tests. Making the mattes worse, local medical facilities required a long wait to undergo the MRI and CT scan, thus delaying the much-needed treatment.

omidi-michael-Philippines

Upon hearing the patient’s story, Julian and Cindi Omidi promptly gathered the funds to organize a charitable mission and deliver assistance as quickly as possible. To ensure success of the mission, the Omidi family also reached out to Yolanda Abaca, an experienced nurse and philanthropist who helped organize social workers and handled communications with the governor. Her daughter, Maria Abaca, oversaw the surgical details of the medical mission and, working closely with Yolanda, took care of innumerable tasks in preparation for the trip. The success of this mission could not have been possible without their invaluable contributions.

When Dr. Michael Omidi, a renowned plastic surgeon based in the Los Angeles area, arrived in the city of San Miguel, Bulacan Province, to perform an in-person exam, he was greeted with scorching heat. With the temperature outside being as high as 105 degrees, the patient came in wearing a scarf around his neck, immediately raising concerns about the severity of his condition but also attesting to his longstanding plight. Given the urgency of the situation and a limited amount of time at their disposal, Dr. Omidi and his staff quickly made arrangements for a CT scan. In order to guarantee safety of the procedure, they also made a thorough assessment of the facilities at a district hospital and, upon finding them inadequate to handle cases of this magnitude, insisted on access to the university hospital. In order to secure approval, Dr. Omidi convincingly demonstrated that the patient would need blood work, access to intensive care unit, and potent medications to manage the cardiovascular status (e.g., drop the pressure around large vessels, increase the blood pressure, ventilator to manage the airway overnight).

omidi-michael-julian-Philippines-drs

 

On the first day of surgery, Dr. Omidi and Dr. Lee Au removed the tumors from the front section of the neck. Following this procedure that took 16 hours, the patient remained in the intensive care unit overnight, intubated on the ventilator. On the second day, the patient was brought back to the operating room and Dr. Omidi spent an additional 8 hours to remove the tumors from the backside of the neck.

In the end, the surgery was a resounding success. All the tumors were removed along with half of the thyroid that was responsible for causing the neck mass. Dr. Omidi and his staff were careful to ensure that there were no injuries to any of the numerous nerves in the head and neck area. The patient recovered well and was sent home 4 days after the surgery.

 

omidi-michael-julian-Philippines-maria

In the months that followed, the Omidi brothers kept in touch with the patient who has now effectively assimilated back into his community. He no longer has to wear a scarf in the midst of a summer heat to earn acceptance from the townsfolk. The last time we have heard from him, this man has found a girlfriend and is currently studying at the local university to realize his goals of entering the construction industry. His dream is to build a new house for his aunt who lives in an old and rundown shack.

Sometimes, it takes not only financial assistance but also personal commitment and hard work to make a difference in someone’s life. At the end of the day, Julian and Michael Omidi know that helping a fellow human being in need is worth every effort, penny, and time spent.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animal Support, Health, Poverty, Uncategorized

Animals Can Fly in Style, Too

In today’s blog, Julian Omidi discusses JFK Airport’s plans for an exciting new animal facility.

If you’ve ever had to travel with animals, you probably already know it’s a hassle. However, this may soon be a thing of the past. New York’s JFK airport has announced plans to open a 178,000 square foot facility specifically designed to accommodate animals of all kinds. The rules for traveling with animals generally involve a mandatory quarantine to prevent bringing contagious diseases into the country, and the new facility will be able to shelter animals during this period—hay-lined stalls for cattle and horses, an aviary, and holding pens for smaller animals.

The $48 million facility is to be called The ARK, and will open next year. The ARK will also accommodate specifically to dog owners in collaboration with Paradise 4 Paws, and will include a luxury resort with splashing pools, dog masseuses, flat screen TVs, and “pawdicures.” Cornell University veterinarians will also run a 24-hour clinic in the facility, which caters to all animals.

ARK architect Cliff Bollman claims that their design process “is in collaboration with veterinarians and consultants to help minimize the amount of stress placed on the animal.” The facility is even helpful for owners of animals that do not need to be quarantined, which will be held safely at The Ark until their owner picks them up upon arrival.

The cleverly-named facility is projected to have the capacity to house over 70,000 animals per year. The ARK will be especially popular with owners of animals competing in shows, such as horses, as it is the first luxury animal travel facility of its kind in the world. However, it won’t be cheap: for example, some dog suites may cost their owners upwards of $100 per night.

Hopefully The ARK will open next year with success, and may even pave the way for similar, more affordable facilities in travel hubs around the world.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Leave a comment

Filed under Animal Support

Sixth Mass Extinction is Here, Experts Say

Julian Omidi discusses the ‘sixth extinction’ and how the elimination of species may lead to the end of mankind as we know it.

Mankind may be approaching another extinction event. That’s at least the thoughts of Paul Ehrlich, senior fellow at Stafford Woods Institute for the Environment. What is being known as the ‘sixth extinction’ has Ehrlich and his co-authors calling for the conservation of animals and their habitats. Today, lets look at his work and the potential threat facing our ecosystem.

Recently published in Science Advances, the study shows species are entering extinction at 100 times faster than the normal rate. If continued at this rate, it could take millions of years to recover. The estimate was based on research of fossil records and other extinction counts from a variety of records. Their thoughts, their findings severally underestimate the severity of the situations.

A large contribution to this is humans impact on the environment. This includes introducing invasive species, land clearing and logging, as well as carbon emissions. It is thought the damage to ecosystems by such practices will eliminate the natural benefits for generations to come.

The authors suggest that avoiding this type of event will take rapid change. This would require adding conservation efforts to already endangered species as well as working on reducing climate change and altering their natural habitats for commercial gain.

To change this then, we must go further than protecting animals rights, but also consider the ecosystems that promote biodiversity. We must make a large scale shift of our consciousness towards how we obtain our energy, how we build housing and even how we distribute food. The study makes clear that mankind has the biggest part in the spark of the sixth extinction.

Only time will tell the impact this event could have and our ability to postpone it. It seems that any form of advancement in technology has some negative impact of the Earth’s ecosystem. If we are not careful, the next few generations of mankind may suffer our ignorance.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is the co-founder of Animal Support, a nonprofit that advocates for the well being of animals around the world.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animal Support, Julian Omidi

Animal Tracking in the Serengeti

lion-277328_1280

In today’s blog, Julian Omidi discusses animal extinction and how we can get involved in stopping it.

Animal extinction is a global issue that doesn’t get discussed enough. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, literally dozens of species are going extinct every day—and it’s mostly our fault. Human activities over the past century have caused a shocking number of consequences for animals, the most significant being global warming and habitat loss. It’s even more important than ever to raise awareness and involvement in order to slow these alarming rates of extinction.

One group found a rather creative way to do this– through photography.

Between June 2010 and May 2013, a research team led by Alexandra Swanson set up over 200 cameras in Serengeti Park of Tanzania. Their goal was to capture the lives of endangered species that would be difficult to photograph in the presence of humans, so the cameras were mounted on trees or other still objects. They incorporated both motion and heat sensors so that when an animal was near, the camera would be triggered automatically.

As a result, more than 1.2 million sets of photos were captured during this time. The research team was obviously quite overwhelmed by the sheer volume of images they’d have to start sorting through, so they asked an online “citizen science” portal called Zooniverse to help.

Here’s how it works: anyone, even without a background in science or zoology, can log on to this website and register to help with the Snapshot Serengeti project—or a number of others, which cover nature, wildlife, climate, humanities, and even space! Zooniverse uses an algorithm to narrow down the species of the animal photographed based on a number of characteristics that the user can select.

With the help of Zooniverse and 28,000 citizen volunteers from all over the world, Swanson’s team was able to make successful identifications of 48 different species as of last week, many of which are classified as endangered. The project is still open, so I encourage you to try making some identifications of your own! It’s a fun way to make a difference and learn about rare species of animals.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is a philanthropist and co-founder of the non-profit organization, Animal Support.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animal Support

Antibiotics and Animal Welfare

Lab_animal_care

In today’s blog, Julian Omidi discusses the rights of animals in the livestock production sector.

The “five freedoms” of animal welfare

In 1965, the UK government commissioned a report on the welfare of animals being raised as livestock. The results contained a list of five freedoms that all animals should be given when under human control, and was subsequently adopted by animal rights organizations around the world as a constitution of sorts. The freedoms are as follows:

  1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst
  2. Freedom from Discomfort
  3. Freedom from Pain, Injury, or Disease
  4. Freedom to Express Normal Behavior
  5. Freedom from Fear or Distress

Are big businesses finally coming around to furthering animal rights?

Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club issued press releases late last week that have captured the attention of both the media and animal welfare activists: a promise to abide by these five freedoms in order to enforce the humane treatment of farm animals, and improve the sustainability of the resulting food products.

It’s a move that echoes recent statements from the likes of Perdue, Tyson, and McDonalds—to name just a few.

Is this a genuine effort to facilitate a positive change in the retail industry, or just a strategic PR move to shift attention away from questionable labor practices in the past decade? Regardless of intent, at least it’s a step in the right direction. Corporate transparency is certainly one way to hold institutions accountable for what might be happening behind the scenes. This brings to mind countless past animal abuse scandals– and the resulting popularity of documentaries that made attempts to expose them.

One positive result of this decision is a widespread awareness of the harm that human antibiotics have on animals. Your average Joe may not be familiar with the Five Freedoms or the ASPCA, but he sure recognizes the phrases “Save money. Live better” and “I’m lovin’ it.” The initiative for antibiotic-free animals is becoming increasingly relatable for Americans, and I hope to see the trend continue.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is a philanthropist and a co-founder of Animal Support, a nonprofit organization that exists to further animal rights around the world.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animal Support

Gallup poll Finds Americans want more Protection for Animals

In today’s entry, Julian Omidi discusses a new Gallop poll that suggests Americans are increasingly favoring equal rights for animals.

Gallup recently released a poll that showed citizens in the US want more protection for animals. The company began asking a series of three statements to rate how people responded in 2003:

  • Animals deserve the same rights as people
  • Animals deserve some protection
  • Animals don’t need much protection

From 2003 to 2015, those that stated “animals don’t need much protection” remained consistent at only 3%. However, the response “animals deserve the same rights as people” has increased over the years. In 2008, those that felt animals should have equal rights as humans was at 25%. That response has increased to 32% making the national opinion a 7% increase. That means, more people believe that animals should have equal rights as humans.

The findings showed that this response crossed gender, age and political orientation. From 2008 to 2015, there was a rise in the number of men, women, democrats, republicans and ages 18 to 50+. Meaning, Americans as a whole want better rights for animals.

The poll also addressed environments where animals should have better treatment. This included amusement parks, research facilities, sporting events as well as others. A majority of the people were either somewhat concerned or very concerned about the treatment of animals in professional settings.

This shift is a small victory in the treatment of animals. It is good to see that Americans are becoming increasingly concerned with the rights of animals. The more the majority opinion can transform, the more likely animals will obtain more protection and better treatment by society as a whole.

If you are concerned about the well-being of animals, do your part. Advocate for better treatment of animals by joining groups, writing your representatives and voicing your stance online. The more we can share information and reach other people the further we can advance the wellness of animals throughout our country and the world.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is the co-founder of Animal Support. He advocates for the fair treatment of animals around the world.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animal Support, Julian Omidi

The Zoo Animals We Love the Most

julian

In today’s entry, Julian Omidi looks at the most beloved zoo animals.

The worldly editors at Encyclopedia Britannica have made it official: some zoo animals are more popular than others. In fact, the erudite editorial educators are now offering up their own top-10 list of amazingly adorable animals on display at public zoos. Note that, unfortunately, not every creature is available in every zoo.

When you head out to your local eco enclave this summer, you might not encounter all of them. Here’s Britannica’s roundup that should be copied and posted on your refrigerator door for future reference. Check each one off as you see them in your travels. Happy zoo-going!

Meerkats (see photo above)
So human and so curious, meerkats combine the best traits of raccoons and monkeys in a weird mixture of adorable, childlike friendliness.

Red Pandas
If you don’t instantly fall in love with these loveable tree-dwellers, then your heart is set to “chill.”

Bats
Forget what you’ve seen in vampire films. Most enclosures for bats are the coolest thing in the entire zoo.

Orangutans
Perhaps the most popular zoo creature of all time, these semi-human simians are always a big draw wherever they appear.

Poison Frogs
An oddity of the animal kingdom, these minuscule hoppers are a blast to watch, as long as there is a strong piece of protective glass between you and them.

Kangaroos
Another classic zoo favorite. Throughout history, kangaroos have captivated and intrigued those who encounter them.

Tamarins
Beware the mysterious and not-so-friendly Tamarin, which is actually a mini-monkey. They look so cuddly and cute but, as any zoologist will tell you, they are definitely NOT meant to be pets. Even so, they are amazing to observe and impossibly tiny.

Tree Kangaroos
These small, monkey-like climbers are new to the zoo scene, but make almost everyone’s top-10 “loveable animals” list.

Armadillos
An age-old zoo favorite that appears to be almost human.

Capybaras
These friendly giants are the world’s largest rodents, but you’ll see more guinea pig than rat in their countenance. Plus, kids instantly fall in love with these animals, so if your zoo has some, don’t miss them.

Be sure to visit and support your local zoos, wildlife refuges and animal shelters. They do so much for our communities!

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi, along with his brother Dr. Michael Omidi and mother Cindy Omidi, are advocates and co-founders of numerous nonprofit organizations, including Civic Duty and many others. To read an account of the Omidi brothers rescuing an abandoned baby harbor seal, visit their charity AnimalSupport.org.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animal Support, Julian Omidi

Do the Right Thing by Helping Injured Animals

julian2

In today’s entry, Julian Omidi explains what to do if you find an injured animal.

Whether you live in an urban area or in a more rural setting, you should know what to do if you find an injured or incapacitated animal. Sometimes what appears to be a disabled critter is nothing more than a baby that has been left alone while its mother forages for food. Learn to size up situations like these, and you will be performing a valuable service for your furry, feathery and hairy friends.

Wild Things Sanctuary’s website features a detailed listing of what we humans need to know about abandoned animals. Here’s a summary of what experts suggest we do until professional help arrives:
• Do not hold or feed an injured animal, and try to keep it in a quiet, dark place. Even animals with minor injuries can die of shock, so take special care not to frighten the creature.

• Be very careful, and make sure to wear gloves if you must have any contact with the animal. Bites can be painful and dangerous for humans who are unprepared for such an encounter.

• Put a box over the animal until help arrives, and keep all pets away from injured creatures.

• Contact a local shelter or animal welfare agency at once to find out what the next step is, and to make certain that you are securing the animal properly.

• Keep in mind that baby rabbits, deer and other so-called “suburban wildlife” are often left alone during the daytime hours while their mothers hunt for food. Feeding times are typically at times when we humans are asleep, so don’t assume an animal is abandoned just because it is alone in a nest or secluded area.

With warmer weather approaching, let’s all make an effort to keep an eye out for abandoned and injured animals.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi, along with his brother Dr. Michael Omidi and mother Cindy Omidi, are advocates and co-founders of numerous nonprofit organizations, including Civic Duty and many others. To read an account of the Omidi brothers rescuing an abandoned baby harbor seal, visit their charity AnimalSupport.org.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animal Support, Julian Omidi

The Best Career Choices for Animal Lovers

julianIn today’s entry, Julian Omidi takes a look at career paths for people who want to help animals.

Have you ever thought of becoming a zoologist or veterinarian? Perhaps you’d rather be involved with animal training or marine biology. Whatever your particular animal-related field of interest, there is a career for you. Like any other avocation, the choices diverse and most require at least a college degree in a specific subject area. Here’s a quick rundown, from Study.com, of the most common career choices for those who truly love animals and want to spend their lives helping them:

Veterinarian: This is perhaps the best-known and most difficult career path for animal enthusiasts. It’s essentially a doctoral degree program where candidates spend as much money and time as they would in a traditional medical school. You’ll need a solid college transcript to get into vet school. Spots in most schools are limited and highly competitive, so it pays to plan ahead. If you want to become a vet, take as many science courses as possible in college, get part-time jobs at animal clinics or shelters and keep your grades up. The average veterinarian in the U.S. earns close to $100,000 annually as of 2014. (Yes, all that hard work is worth it!)

• Animal care worker: This field is broad and the educational requirements for jobs depend largely on what you do. Growth is expected to continue and jobs are plentiful. Anyone with at least a high school diploma can enter as a staff member at a shelter or an assistant at a veterinary clinic. Many people work as animal groomers during high-school summer breaks.

• Zoologist/biologist: You’ll need at least a college degree to enter this field, but the career choices are wide and well-paying. If you have good observation skills, hold a degree in biology (even marine biology), zoology or a related discipline, you’re good to go. There are also Ph.D. paths for zoologists and biologist which would allow you to teach at the college level. Pay is very good and those willing to travel to remote areas have the best opportunities for advancement.

• Animal massage therapist: This is a relatively new field. Entry requires a high school diploma and massage therapy license in the U.S. Specialized courses in horse, dog and cat massage are a big plus. Some states are now beginning to certify equine (horse) and canine (dog) massage therapists. Many equine therapists work with race horses and top breeders around the world. You won’t get rich, but pay is better than average and you’ll also be able to sell your services to humans as a traditional masseuse/masseur.

Be good to each other, and consider a career in an animal-related field,
Julian Omidi
Julian Omidi, along with his brother Dr. Michael Omidi and mother Cindy Omidi, are advocates and co-founders of numerous non-profit organizations, including Civic Duty and many others.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animal Support, Julian Omidi

Why Adopt a Shelter Animal?

 

julian

In today’s blog, Julian Omidi, co-founder of Animal Support, discusses the best way to acquire a shelter pet.

With warm weather approaching in numerous parts of the country, many people start thinking of getting a cat or dog as a family pet, the better to frolic in the park with kids, friends and neighbors. Wanting to add an animal to the family is a commendable idea, especially when your new pet comes from a local shelter.

One of the world’s largest, and oldest, animal welfare organizations, the ASPCA, has some sound advice about how to adopt a shelter pet. Here are some of the key things they point out. Be sure to visit the ASPCA website for more detailed information, as well as a resource for all things animal related.

What you might not know…

• About a quarter of dogs and cats you see at shelters are pure-bred animals.
A large number of shelter dogs and cats have already lived a good portion of their lives with human families, so they are anything but ragtag, undisciplined pets.

• Your adoption fee goes a long way toward supporting the good work of the local shelter. And don’t forget that by adopting, you are actually saving an animal’s life!

• Almost all shelter cats and dogs are well-behaved animals that ended up without a home through no fault of their own. Pet owners take animals to shelters for all sorts of reasons, from lack of space after the birth of a baby, to a death in the family.

• The cost of pet adoption is much, much cheaper than acquiring an animal from a private breeder or professional pet store. Plus, shelters usually spay or neuter animals before adopting them out. That’s one less cost to worry about.

• Finally, when you adopt a shelter pet, you can rest assured that your new dog or cat has undergone a thorough physical exam and had all the shots it needs.

Animals bring so much to our lives, why not consider bringing a pet into your home if you have the space and time to care for it. As adults, some of our happiest memories of childhood usually involve the family cat or dog. Visit your local shelter soon, and even if you decide not to adopt, go ahead and make a small donation anyway to support the wonderful work that local shelters do.

Be good to each other (and support your local animal shelter!),
Julian Omidi
Julian Omidi is co-founder of Animal Support, a nonprofit that works to support the rights and health of animals everywhere.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animal Support, Uncategorized