On the evening of Saturday, August 21, 2004, over 300 people attended The Queenie Foundation's ninth annual Candlelight Vigil for National Homeless Animals' Day at Flag Pole Hill in east Dallas near White Rock Lake. The purpose of the candlelight vigil is to alert the public that millions of dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and other animals are dying in our nation's shelters every year and that spay/neuter is the answer. The International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR, www.isaronline.org) in Clarks Summit, PA began this event in 1992. It was estimated that over 17 million dogs and cats were killed in shelters at that time. Although the number has diminished in recent years, approximately eight to ten million companion animals are still destroyed every year. Even one healthy loving animal losing his life in a shelter is too many, which is why The Queenie Foundation will continue to work for zero growth for as long as it takes. It was an evening filled with music, information and acknowledgment. Thirty pro-animal organizations (24 dog/cat rescues, 2 vegetarian societies, The HSUS Humane Activist Network, DFW Wildlife Coalition, Animal Connection of Texas, an animal rights organization and the Greyhound Protection League [not a rescue]) attended in addition to Dr. David Kahn, a house call vet, the ACLU, the Green Party, North Texas for Justice and Peace and Christie's Kids, a family advocate organization. The Spiral Diner came over from Ft. Worth to sell awesome organic vegan food. Local rockers Naked Violet and Bastet provided great music during the Meet & Greet. I Survived Death Row was the evening's theme. Anyone who had rescued an animal from a shelter's death row was invited to bring that animal or a photograph and tell us about the animal. Many of the death row survivors were living in foster homes awaiting their forever loving homes and several individuals who were willing to open their homes to a loving companion to give him or her a second chance brought their rescues. Throughout the evening's ceremony, we met these precious animals and their champions. The organizations set up their tables with information ranging from spay/neuter, puppy mills, ending cruelty and vegetarianism/veganism (it's healthy for people, the planet and animals, of course!). At the ACLU, Green Party and North Texas for Justice and Peace tables, people could pick up information about their rights, candidates running for office and register to vote. Christie's Kids helps families during the year and especially at holiday time. People can donate canned goods, clothes and toys so that less fortunate families can still observe their year-end holiday. Many people met friends they knew only via email on rescue or animal rights lists. It was fun to connect the email address with the face and meet in person. Randy Bigham and Jennifer Mills, two journalists from Corsicana, received our Outstanding Media Coverage Award. Audrey Merritt, founder and executive director of the North Ellis County Animal Awareness Program (NECAAP), was our Rescuer Par Excellence Award recipient for her 20 years of service to animals in need. Audrey retired from rescue on April 1, 2004. Her retirement marked the end of an era in rescue-adoption in Dallas/Ft. Worth. Though our vigil is upbeat, we always remember the animals for whom this event was created. Ten volunteers from rescues read the names of animals and the reason they were destroyed in a shelter this past year as candles burned. We always read A Prayer for the Animals by Dr. Albert Schweitzer. Hear our prayer, O God, For our friends, the animals, especially the animals who are suffering; for any that are hunted or lost or deserted Or frightened or hungry; for all that must be put to death, We entreat for them all thy Mercy and pity. And for those who deal with them, We ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words. Make us ourselves to be true friends to animals and so to share The blessings of the merciful. The Queenie Foundation thanks everyone who participated with us this year and acknowledges those who have opened their homes to a rescued animal. We also acknowledge those volunteers who tirelessly work to save animals day after day. It's a tough job and sometimes a heartbreaking one, but the contented purr, the wagging tail or the nuzzling furry or feathered friend makes it all worthwhile. The Queenie Foundation's event was included in the International Society for Animal Rights' newsletter.