My name is Anne Morimoto Firestone, and I am Japanese American. With my mom and dad’s encouragement, I have been bringing home animals since I was six years old, I grew up in the farming area of Grand Junction, Colorado. During WW II, my family was placed in Japanese relocation camps in Colorado after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When the war ended, the federal government gave each family a $1,000.00 to start over.

Those were hard times, so all my relatives lived together. I didn’t have any friends because people were gun shy of Japanese people, so my relatives gave me pigeons, ducks, cats, whatever they could catch or find, and my dad gave me a dog. When I started school, all the dogs would follow me home, and my mom took care of them. I think these gifts, along with both my parents love for animals, are where my love of animals originated.

My father, Pop, went back home to Oxnard, California after the war and tried to get back his old horses. We got one, Tommy, who pulled a plow and wagon. I grew up riding on workhorses.

I have rescued animals all my life, with the help sometimes of friends or my part-time helper. I was fortunate to build and fund Spirit to be Free as a rescue shelter for animals; however, in order to make a necessary expansion, we have recently established a non-profit organization so others can help in this worthy cause.