Take Action: An Interview With Jessica Davis, On Living With Purpose
By Christina Zolotova, Director of Communications
Here at Coco Eco, we love featuring non-profits, brands, and humans who are actively looking to give back to various causes dear to us, such as animal welfare, human rights, hunger relief, children’s services, education, and environmental protection. Giving Tuesday is yet another opportunity to do so!
Jessica Davis is a Malibu local who is the Founder and President of Boomer’s Buddies Rescue, a non-profit 501(c)(3) dog and cat rescue that is committed to taking on difficult cases such as abuse, severe medical, trauma, and animals needing long or short term hospice care. Jessica is a long term vegan, an animal advocate, an avid traveler, and a supporter of many great causes and non-profits both locally and globally.
Coco Eco: So first of all, since Coco Eco is all about sustainability, you’ve been vegan for many years now, correct? How did you first decide on that?
Jessica Davis: Yes, around 10 years now. I was a vegetarian for about 4 years before that and then went fully vegan. I just couldn't fathom an animal hurting for my taste buds or pleasure. After seeing videos of the factory farming practices at a music festival booth, it really opened up my eyes, so I went cold turkey and stopped eating all meat. Slowly, I also took out dairy and the rest of the animal products as well. It is definitely much easier to eat vegan now, especially in LA, we are so lucky to have access to options at every price level, which was not exactly the case even 10 years ago.
CE: I’ve always loved your style and fashion sense and the fact that you seem to find the most gorgeous alternatives to leather and fur. Can you share some of your secrets?
JD: I'm not going to lie and say it’s easy. It’s doable, you just need to have patience and try out some eco-friendly boutiques that have an array of products. Stella McCartney is one of my favorite designers! She focuses on sustainable and ethical fashion. She has been one of the pioneers of sustainable fashion in an industry that results in being one of the most wasteful and polluting industries in the world. She is definitely a luxury, but there are many brands out there now that are more affordable for the everyday consumer also, I know you all have featured some beautiful products here.
CE: Thank you for sharing, I love your commitment to sustainable living. I know you love traveling and have traveled often (pre-pandemic), trying to combine mindful travel with giving back to the local communities whenever possible, including animal and humanitarian causes. Can you share some that stand out in your mind?
JD: Yes, I love to travel! So often, we travel to places which are supported solely by tourism. For example, Bali. If you have ever been, you notice that the large beautiful resorts are often in towns or villages that are struggling. It just seems odd to visit a country where you just take, staying in these outrageous hotels or resorts, a bit disconnected from the actual local communities that are there to support you. You’re never really giving anything back. So I try to stay in local hotels or Airbnbs and give back when I can, ethically of course. I think so many people want to help and can come across as white saviors or even do more damage to the communities long term than they realize. I like to research and then reach out to non-profits in the areas that I will be visiting and ask if they are in need of any supplies that I may be able to bring over to them. For example, some supplies may be much more accessible in the U.S. than in the non-profit’s home country, especially with medical and educational supplies. I did this in Indonesia with Bali Animal Welfare Association and also in Mexico with Create Purpose. That way I am bringing them items they could use and not take a job away from a local. There are times though where you can also be hands-on, for example, I have spent time in Thailand volunteering and learning about the elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary. They employ hundreds of local employees but when they have volunteers, their worker’s load is lightened a bit so it is welcomed. In Greece, I helped the Santorini Animal Welfare Association with taking care of the animals who needed extra TLC and also assisted them with spreading the word about animals looking for new homes, as it’s a lot easier to find new forever homes for special needs animals in countries with a much larger population, like in the U.S. It is rewarding and you really are able to get to know the locals and their cultures more while being able to give back.
CE: Love that and agree it’s so important to not just jump into volunteering without considering a larger impact on the community. I know you also try to support local businesses both internationally and at home whenever possible, which is so needed everywhere. So I know your rescue dog Boomer was the inspiration behind Boomer’s Buddies. His story is amazing, can you share it with us?
JD: I saw his video shared around on Facebook of a big black dog at the same kennel at a shelter in Florida for four years, suffering from kennel crazy, where he was spinning in his kennel and lounging and jumping on everyone. I felt this immediate connection with him and tried to get a Florida-local rescue to pull him to get him adopted out and couldn’t get anyone because he was this big intimidating dog and everyone assumed he wasn’t adoptable. So, I decided to fly there and get him out myself. Long story short, now it’s been almost four years and he is the best dog anyone could ask for - calm, gentle, loves all animals: little kittens, dogs of all sizes, giant tortoises, chickens, squirrels, pigs, opossums, everyone. He just needed to get out of the shelter to decompress, a little training, and lots of love. He has been the dotting caretaker to many of the special needs cats and dogs that we have taken in, it’s so amazing to see his gentle spirit. As a dog and cat rescue, we aren’t permitted to take in wildlife as you have to have a license for that, but we have been a temporary housing center for some wildlife until we have found proper sanctuaries to take them on. We do what we can if we have the capacity!
CE: I know you specialize in medical cases that stay with you and your fosters for a few weeks to even a few months. Many of the animals are special needs so you have to take your time finding the right home to allow them to thrive and live a long healthy life. What animals for you have ready for adoption at the moment?