During his life, iconic singer Ronnie James Dio championed countless musical and humanitarian crusades, the famous all-star Heavy Metal ensemble Hear ‘n Aid being a perfect example. Another of these such causes is The Brittany Foundation which Dio and his beloved wife Wendy supported from its early stages. This non-profit organization is dedicated to the rescue and recovery of homeless and endangered dogs. Such was the Dio’s commitment that before the singer’s untimely passing, Wendy spent a day in a kennel to raise awareness about the subject and raise funds for the organization.
On October 19th, Wendy is set to come back to kennel for another 24 hours in order to continue to create awareness of the situation. We talked recently with her about this Halloween-themed event, called A Day In Their Paws. She sounded ready to both give a good fight and have a good time as part of this one of a kind experience.
How did you become involved with The Brittany Foundation?
Wendy: Ronnie and I had always been really big animal lovers and we liked The Brittany Foundation a lot because 100% of the profits go to the charity and there’s no administration cost. The other reason is because there are a lot unadoptable dogs in there. Like, some of the Michael Vick’s dogs, or dogs that are aggressive and instead of putting them down, they keep them in a very nice place. Also, a lot of people had a dog for years and then become uncontent and they can’t bother to keep it anymore, or sometimes people just cast it off. Some of them are old or have a leg missing or they’re blind or something. So, it’s a very good cause.
You and Ronnie were supporters from the beginning, right?
Wendy: We’ve been supporters, yes but not from the beginning of the foundation. When we discovered it, we became supporters.
So, on October the 19th, you’re coming back to the dog kennel for 24 straight hours. Are you ready for this?
Wendy: I am indeed, yes I am! I’m ready. I’m going to get another prison outfit because I don’t know what happened to the one I had before. So, yes, I’m definitely ready for it.
How did you react when they first invited you to do it some years ago?
Wendy: It was just before Ronnie passed away, actually we did it in October and it was one of his last [public] appearances. He passed away in May of the following year. It’s kind of funny to spend the day in a cage with the dogs, you know, being a dog lover. Some of my other friends where doing it I said, “Hey, this sounds like a good idea, let’s go see what we can do!” So, I bought a Halloween prison outfit and I put that on and I went into the cage with 2 dogs.
Check out Ronnie James Dio at the foundation
Is there a way people can buy your freedom ahead of the 24 hour time frame?
Wendy: Yes, a dollar a minute. If I want to go to the bathroom or if I want to eat something or take a break it’s a dollar a minute.
Is it possible to also make donations to the foundation?
Wendy: Yes, at the Brittany foundation. Their website is www.BrittanyFoundationOnline.org. Just go on there and donate, and you see all the different girls going into the cages and you see the dogs that they’re with and you just press down to whoever you want to donate for.
In your opinion, what’s the importance of these kinds of organizations and what’s impact they have in the lives of these rescued animals?
Wendy: I think they’re very important because they show people that we care about animals and animals should be for life. All my animals are rescue animals, but when you get an animal it is for life. Maybe they’re sick, but so are people, maybe they get old, yes, but so do people. Some people come because of financial reasons or whatever reasons and these shelters become a place where they can take animals instead of being put down.
This is a silly question: Do you have pets?
Wendy: Yes I do, I have 4 cats and 1 dog.
So, are you more a cat than a dog person?
Wendy: No. When Ronnie was alive we had 3 dogs but I travel a lot so it’s very difficult. A cat’s easy to get someone to just come in and feed the cat, a dog has to be walked and you can’t leave it in the house too long without going to the bathroom or something. So it’s very difficult for me now to have more than 1 dog. I would have 10 dogs if I could but I work travel.
Next year, if they ask you, would you into the kennel again?
Wendy: Of course! Anytime there’s an animal thing going on I would do it.