BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — On Tuesday morning, animal advocate, Holly Reynolds, passed away after spending two weeks in hospice.
Reynolds started fighting for animal rights in a horse trailer, becoming one of the most recognizable faces at 103 years old, saving animals’ lives.
In 1953, Reynolds opened her first animal shelter in St. Tammany Parish. She called it Yankee Doodle Danny after her first dog inspired her to do more after his passing. The shelter is now known as the Northshore Humane Society.
“She was one of my early mentors, and somebody I really counted on to help guide me,” said one of Reynold’s colleagues of over 35 years, Jeff Dorson, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana.
Reynolds served with the American Red Cross during World War II after graduating from LSU in 1941. In the 1970s, she opened Capital Area Animal Welfare Society, known as CAAWS. It is the only no-kill animal shelter in Baton Rouge. In the early 1980s, she developed The Coalition of Louisiana Animal Advocates, known as COLA.
According to the President of CAAWS, Glenda Parks, she’s been with the organization for 20 years and knew Reynolds personally. Parks says that Reynolds was “A little bitty skinny lady, who was just, walked into the room and owned it,”
After her first rescued dog passed away, she knew that he suffered a long life, and wanted to change the animal rights laws.
“Holly was very interested in changing laws and policies that would help animals,” said Dorson.
Last year, The Humane Society of Louisiana asked lawmakers to recognize Reynolds, by passing a Bill in her honor. It passed unanimously and was signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Dorson was with Reynolds the day her new laws came to life in Louisiana.
“Just poured all her heart and soul, that is something that is often a low priority, but she made it a much high priority cause of her vision,” said Dorson.
Parks said that when she found out Reynolds had passed away, she says a vision flashed through her mind.
“Holly standing at the big field and the end of the rainbow bridge, and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dogs and cats, rushing towards her to thank her,” said Parks.
Next year, the Humane Society of Louisiana will ask legislators to give money to build more public animal shelters in honor of Holly Reynolds.
To view available dogs at CAAWS, click here.