Fadra and her adorable dog

All Things Fadra celebrates Christmas in July by raising money for charity. Get to know Fadra, her beneficiary, and her answers to our questions about the virtues of generosity and compassion in this interview with Balsam Hill.

After years in the research, teaching, travel, software, and marketing professions, Fadra Nally found herself in 2009 as a blogger. As it turns out, she had a passion for storytelling—be it “mom stories” or tales about her travels and other experiences. What matters to Fadra is that the accounts found on her blog All Things Fadra inspire readers and make them come back for more. She does not consider herself a mommy blogger, but will take no offense if she is referred to as one. Personally, Fadra is a wife, mother, writer, blogger, marketer, explorer, do-gooder, and lover of life.

Fadra’s love of life encompasses all living things, especially animals. Just recently, during one Friday night in March, Fadra lost one of her dearest companions—Emma, her pet poodle. Emma was a breeder from a puppy mill that had cast her aside due to her old age. Like Fadra, Emma found herself out of a “job,” out of the world she used to know. This is the common ground which allowed them to bond.

Many are not aware of the challenges faced by a puppy mill dog. When Fadra took Emma home, the poor creature did not know how to play, go for a walk or behave around other dogs. Fadra also had to help Emma deal with a cataract in one eye, anxiety and having no teeth. Emma was also a runner and had a habit of peeing everywhere. Despite these, Fadra was adamant to prove that no dog should ever be cast aside and treated like a commodity.

The Humane Society of the United States

Humane Society of the United States logo

To curb her grief from Emma’s passing, Fadra has lobbied in North Carolina against puppy mills. She also pushed for a legislation that would require licensing and regulation for the industry. She continues with this mission until today. For Balsam Hill’s Christmas in July Charity Campaign, Fadra has decided to give her support to The Humane Society of the United States. In honor of Emma, Fadra also urges everyone to adopt a second-chance pet instead of buying one from puppy mills or pet stores.

For more information on how to find the right dog for you and how to get involved in the fight against the vicious cycle perpetuated by puppy mills, please visit the puppy mill section of the Humane Society of the United States.

BH: Could you tell us a bit about the cause you’re supporting and what it means to you?

Fadra: With charities, it’s sometimes difficult to discern between those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk. While I try to open my checkbook when I can, I have a strong affinity for charities that want more than just your donation. With my chosen charity, The Humane Society of the United States, I’ve been able to have firsthand experience with my state legislators lobbying for bills I believe in that will help improve the lives of animals. They’ve helped me walk the walk.

BH: Deciding on a charity to support can be difficult. What led you to choose the charity your helping for this campaign?

Fadra: I’m a longtime supporter of charities that benefit animal welfare at both the local and national level. In fact, all my pets are “secondhand” pets. While I thought about contributing directly at the local level, I wanted a cause that every animal lover could relate to. The Humane Society of the United States not only works on immediate action, especially for local charities that don’t have the resources, but they also work on long-term change through legislative action.

BH: Charity and giving are two things that are often associated with the holiday season, but can be easy to forget in our day-to-day lives. Do you have any tips for how people can incorporate the spirit of giving more into their everyday lives?

Fadra: Watch your children’s behavior (or your own). Look for everyday teaching experiences and ways to give back to other people through simple interactions. Teach your children and more importantly, model the behavior you want to see in them.

BH: Could you share a story about a time someone did something kind for you that really touched you?

Fadra: To make a long story short, I was working in the travel industry and had the opportunity to travel overseas to visit my brother, who was living in Germany at the time. The trip wasn’t well-planned and a simple trip to visit his friend in Sweden turned into an expensive overnight ferry across the Baltic Sea. I was tired, jetlagged and suffering from a miserable cold as I curled up on a tiny little chair on deck. Out of nowhere, I was awakened by a young European women asking me if I spoke English. She then offered me a cabin saying it was an “extra.” I’m not sure how you end up with an extra cabin but her kindness will never be forgotten.

BH: Could you tell us about a time you observed a random act of kindness that resonated with you?

Fadra: In our neighborhood, we are friends with a family who has a little boy in need of a lot of medical procedures and surgeries. After a long awaited confirmation of a surgery appointment at a faraway children’s hospital, someone dropped an entire care package off on my neighbor’s doorstep. Our community is like family and I love how we all look out for each other.

BH: Could you share a story about a time you did something for a friend or family member and how they reacted?

Fadra: A few years ago, I was approached to contribute to a book proposal about random acts of kindness that celebrate motherhood. I ended up writing an anonymous but heartfelt letter to three people in my immediate friend and family circle that celebrated all they did as a mother. I loved watching their gratitude shared online, even when a few of them figured out I was the culprit.

BH: How do you encourage your kids to be giving?

Fadra: Because I’m involved in a lot of social good campaigns, I take the opportunity to share what I learn with my son. While I keep the information age appropriate, I make sure he understands how fortunate he is. He also helps as we go through our house several times a years to choose items for donation, including his toys!

BH: Is there a time when your children acted generously in a way that surprised and delighted you?

Fadra: When my son was little, we were walking through a discount store and we ended up have a conversation about what it meant to be poor. His response to the situation was to simply offer if we could just share our money so that no one would have to be poor.

BH: What do you think is a simple way people can give back to their communities?

Fadra: Volunteer at the local schools! As my son heads into his third year of elementary school, I’m learning how much things have changed since I was a kid. There’s simply not enough money or resources to go around so I encourage people to help with fundraisers and volunteer their time!

BH: Anything else you would like us to know about you and/or the charity you selected?

Fadra: There are so many charities that, sometimes, saying yes to one feels like saying no to the others. But my passion for animals in particular comes from the fact that they ask nothing from us and give so much in return. We are their voice!

If you would like to donate to The Humane Society of the United States, please visit Balsam Hill’s Christmas Charity page.

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