Buzz Miller, founder and president of PACT, was a successful practicing attorney for 35 years prior to his full time involvement in the animal welfare industry. As President of Melvin B. Miller, Ltd. he specialized in business transactions involving real estate, tax, corporate, securities and partnership law. Buzz has maintained an AV rating in both business law and real estate law with Martindale Hubbell for 25 years. He has represented major developers and builders, real estate organizations and investment groups and a chain of nursing homes, as well as many others. In addition to a law practice, Buzz developed with partners over $100 million in real estate transactions and holdings and founded numerous business concepts.
After phasing out his law practice, Buzz spent several years providing pro bono services to many animal welfare organizations in the Delaware Valley. Some of his accomplishments are: lecturer at Penn on animal law matters and puppy mill issues, counsel to Work to Ride, volunteer at Team Nokota Horse Conservancy and other animal welfare agencies, major fundraiser for Pals for Life, the Spayed Club, Mardi Paws, Chenoa Manor and others. Buzz has assisted numerous veterinarians and animal organizations in the Delaware Valley in rescuing and adopting animals, pet grief counseling and more.
In 2007 Buzz Miller opened Buzzy’s Bow Wow Meow, a unique pet retail supermarket in Narberth, PA which is also a companion animal education center. BBWM provides the highest quality natural, holistic, raw and organic pet food and products to its customers along with outstanding customer service and wonderful groomers. PACT and Buzzy’s offers free educational seminars in an effort to educate the public about the benefits of the human-animal bond and hosts many adoption events. PACT has programs specifically tailored to educating our youth about issues involving the human-animal bond.
What are you working on right now?
Currently, I am focused on PACT, People/Animals = Companions Together (PACT), a Pennsylvania 501 (c) (3) is a non-profit organization that develops, implements and administers programs that directly benefit companion animals. We believe that providing knowledge, concentrating resources, coordinating efforts and inspiring the community is the best way to effectively improve the lives of companion animals.
PACT focuses on six main programs benefiting animals throughout the Philadelphia region. Currently, our Military Companion Animal Program is a priority. We support military personnel who are stationed across seas by fostering their companion animals while they serve our country. PACT is committed to helping those who are fighting for our country by finding safe, loving and stable foster homes for their pets while they are deployed overseas.
PACT for Animals military foster program provides:
- Local foster homes for pets belonging to deployed military personnel
- Keep deployed military personnel updated on their pet’s well-being via foster parents’ regular letters and photographs of their pets
- Allow foster parents to continue to be a part of the lives of their foster companion pets, once the rightful owner returns from active duty.
Another passion and concentration of PACT is educating the general public about companion animal issues such as puppy mills and the true facts about pit bulls. We strive to offer free seminars on no kill shelters, breed specific legislation, spaying/neutering of pets and more. For more on our six focused programs, please visit www.pactforanimals.org.
How do you bring ideas to life?
For more than 25 years, I have seen a true lacking of education when it comes to companion animals and their positive effect on the physical and mental well being of humans. We need to educate the public on responsible pet ownership vs. irresponsible ownership. There are many misconceptions about certain dog breeds, such as pit bulls, which stems from irresponsible owners. We need to create a community to educate and share the true animal-human bond and how it can benefit both companion animals and humans.
What has been the most rewarding part of creating and building your organization?
Since opening Buzzy’s Bow WOW Meow in 2007, we have adopted more than 540 dogs and cats to loving homes from a unique retail store located in Narberth, PA. The animals we have adopted throughout the region have truly found forever homes, not one has been returned or given back. Over the past three years, we have held regular educational seminars benefiting the general public and companion pet owners on numerous serious pet issues within our society including the horror of puppy mills and educating the public about the truth involving pit bulls. After our seminars and adoptions, I often receive notes and emails about how companion animals have changed a person’s life. It’s very rewarding to know that I have tremendously affected a person and their animal-human bond. From a grandmother living alone with her companion cat to teaching children responsible pet ownership, it’s those small and caring love stories that really make our mission worth all the hard work.
What has been your greatest challenge and how have you overcome it?
One of my greatest challenges is educating the public about the pit bull problem we face in this country. It’s a daunting task to break the myths, educate, rescue and advocate for pit bull breeds. The strong negative public perception of the breed is a really hard image to break. It’s all about educating families about responsible ownership vs. irresponsible ownership of any companion animal whether it be a pit bull breed or not. It may be an uphill battle but I continually strive to be that human voice for so many shelter animals across the country. It’s my job to emphasize the benefits of the human/animal bond for both humans and companion animals.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the love stories that I hear from animal lovers from all over the country. It’s truly inspirational to hear a story about how an animal has enhanced a person’s life whether it is socially or medically with a service dog. I am also inspired by the stories of saving homeless shelter animals from being euthanized. For each animal I adopt out, I am inspired to save more. It’s about changing the world in a positive way, from finding a loving home for an animal while enhancing a human’s life.
What are 3 trends that excite you?
Over the past twenty years, the definition of a companion animal has tremendously changed. Pets are now members of our family from receiving Christmas cards to just living in our homes as opposed to being kept outside. You see it everywhere; animals are more than just a pet. I am also very excited about service dogs and how they are becoming more beneficial for humans with many different ailments. They are assisting more people than just the blind; they are benefiting the elderly, those who suffer from epilepsy and heart disease, to cancer treatment to those with emotional problems, autism and many other ailments. It’s truly inspiring how services dogs are bringing fulfilled lives to those in need.
I’m excited to see the changes in office culture. The Google mentality of humanizing the workplace, creating a community eager to bring people together for more than just work. You bring your dog to work, treat your employees equally as your family and businesses are more socially oriented. I’m currently working on an Internet site, online store that will be based on the mentality that it’s important to both get the work accomplished and being less superficial. At Buzzy’s Department store for pets, employees bring their dogs to work, which creates a family at work benefiting the employees in a very special way.
Thirdly, I am very excited about how social media is changing the world. We can now connect with people from all over the world who share our passion. We are utilizing Facebook to connect with animal lovers from across the country. We are helping everyone spread the word about pet companionship, the human-animal bond and sharing our mission to help educate the public on serious animal issues. With Internet accessibility, our world has the opportunity to connect with so many people.
What is one mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?
When I first opened Buzzy’s, I wasn’t educated or experienced in retail. I should have spent more time learning about retail and how to run a store than focusing so much on my mission of furthering the companion animal human bond. I learned, at a great financial cost, that both profits and non-profits should be operated under sound financial principles
What is one book and/or tool that helps you?
-Tony Hsieh’s, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Hiring someone is based on how people react to them and customer service. Keeping grounded and humble with good people skills will enable you to succeed. Tool: Acting with humility and learning how to get along with others is essential to one’s goal.
What made you decide to start your PACT?
Many years ago, I recognized a lack of support and education in many areas of animal welfare. Each specific program of PACT focuses on an unfulfilled need from other established organizations. I’m seeking to fill those voids. There is a lack of quality educational programs, little solutions for care of dogs owned by the military going over seas, other than shelters with their high rate of euthanasia, etc.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Michael Arms, president and CEO, Helen Woodward Animal Center and board member of PACT. Michael Arms is an internationally acclaimed animal welfare advocate. While Director of Operations at the North Shore Animal League from 1977 to 1997, he created the pet Adopt-a-Thon, transforming their local adoption program into an international collaboration. After leaving North Shore, Arms spent two years as a consultant to animal welfare agencies throughout the United States.
It has been said that Mike Arms is credited with saving the lives of more unwanted animals than any one in our country.
Jane Goodall, Considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 45-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and has worked extensively on conservation and animal welfare issues. She has initiated worldwide programs to educate our youth about the environment and animal welfare issues.
How can members of our community help?
Members of our community can help by spreading the word about adopting shelter animals, spaying and neutering pets and involving themselves with the passion and programs of PACT. We are, of course, in need of funding and are continually seeking monetary donations along with donations of supplies, volunteers for foster homes and more. For more information on supporting PACT, please visit us online at www.pactforanimals.org.
What would you want to change in the Veterinary industry?
We would love to see more compassion and consideration for pet owners taught in vet schools across the country. It’s extremely important for a pet owner to feel empathy from their pet care provider. Vets should have a strong understanding of the deep bond humans have with their companion animals. More pro bono vet care should be available.
How to get the public in general to help?
We need more foster families so that shelters are not forced to euthanize as many animals as they currently do. We want shelters to be able to keep an animal until a forever loving home is found. Our biggest struggle in city shelters across the country is that there are not enough facilities to house all the healthy animals that enter these shelters. We should stop permitting pet stores to sell “puppy mill” animals. We need to educate the public about the wonderful benefits of adopting companion animals.