Lauren Hannani staff writer
Rescuing animals and spreading the word on animal welfare is the norm for new English teacher Samantha Miller.
Her dedication to animals began as a child, as she grew up with a family of animal lovers. From a young age, Miller has supported the welfare of animals through volunteer work, helping her mother with a cat rescue organization and providing a home for foster animals in need of care.
“Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve [kept] every single animal that I found if something was wrong with it. My dad was really involved in that type of stuff, so I was the kid who, if we had chickens in the classroom, I would be the one who would take them back,” Miller said. “I think my family has always been really big animal lovers, but I guess over the years, being in certain classes has gotten me more involved in animal welfare and trying to get younger people to understand and educate them on truths behind certain things that people don’t know about animals.”
Miller’s devotion toward the safety of animals truly emerged as she became involved in an organization with which her mother was involved.
“When I was younger, and in college too, my mom worked for a cat rescuer organization and then I would take some of her cats and would find them homes. I kept a few of them, finding homes through the Internet or writing up adoption listings for the animals,” she said.
Other than directly making an influence in some animals’ lives, Miller makes sure to promote the importance of animal welfare by inspiring others to do the same.
“It makes me feel that even if it’s just exchanging one person’s viewpoint on something, if it’s helping one person to develop knowledge or understand something in a truer way, for me it feels really good knowing that at least that person can then spread that message to someone else,” she said.
Miller has spread awareness about movies like the “Blackfish” or “The Cove,” which depict the truth of how animals are being treated and abused. She tries to educate others on the subject so they can make an impact themselves.
“I think that if you don’t know and you’re not educated on the realities of what’s going on, then it just leads to more people following along the same path and accidentally causing more harm than good. Really, you could be helping and changing the world or changing how practices are,” Miller said.
Today, Miller has two cats as well as a puppy, which she brought into her home with the intention of merely providing foster care, but ended up keeping as a pet. She believes that her commitment toward animals has always been a part of her.
“I think that it was a combination of my dad being a huge animal person and my mom doing the cat organization, so I think it’s something I grew up with; it’s natural to me,” she said.
Although Miller has not taken care of foster animals recently, she continues to teach others of the benefits of saving animals and the impact that just one person can make. She hopes to accomplish more for her beloved animals in the future.
“If it were up to me, I’d have a ranch full of a million animals that I could just rescue and do whatever with, but when you’re helping people find homes for them, knowing that this animal is going to a family where it’s going to make them better [is a special moment]. Knowing that you can make someone’s life happier is a really rewarding feeling,” Miller said.