Adriana from Denmark has agreed to share her story below. She had the opportunity to meet Michael and spend some time with and work with him on several occasions. She was working in London at an animal shelter at the time. Michael was very fond of animals, in the same way he was with children, and he wanted to help in any way he could. He made sure that these donations were kept private because he was doing them from his heart, not for publicity. Below is her story.
“Way back in 1996 or if it was 1997, I worked at a animal (mostly dogs) shelter just outside London. I worked there till 2007.
When Michael and his entourage were leaving the hotel, (they were under the hotel where the garage was), a little dog was hiding under the car. Michael being his usual self didn´t just let some people take care of it. He wanted to know where the dog would be taken and what would happen to it.
A staff at the hotel knew about us and was a doggie walker at the time, she contacted us but we had no room for the dog. They came with it anyway and I took it home with me for a couple of days.
Michael got to know we had no room and wondered why. He was told as it was at the time that we had no space and we had no money to build more. That was the first time we got money from him.
Michael made sure we got money to build more and rent more space for the animals. He thought it was wrong that such things would be all dependent on donations from people. He thought the state or, how you say, would give money too. In some countries there are so many stray dogs, and he felt as bad for that as for the children.
One year after he had made that donation he wanted to come and visit. To get him there unnoticed seemed to be a mission for the White House people, but it wasn´t really.
When he came there the first person he met was me with two puppies on my knee. I was on the floor feeding them. He didn´t say hello or anything, he just went down on the floor and and started to talk with them in that silly voice you use with animals. It took him a few minutes before he looked up and said he was sorry and he offered me his hand. I still had one puppy in my hand and a bottle in the other. He giggled when I put it down and we said hello.
He got up and wanted to take a look around. He was terrified over how many dogs we had there, not so many cats, sometimes it was full with cats, but more or less always more dogs. And he got very emotional and said he wanted to take all of them with him home. Like most people wanted when they came there. And me too, it was very hard working there and after so many years I was drained since it became more and more and people do horrible things to their animals.
After a round there and being explained how things work, he invited us for dinner later that night. At that dinner he talked about how he could make a donation every year, and how it would take place without (the fact that he was making donations) getting out. It fell on me to take care of it.
Next time he was in London he wanted to meet and we did. That is when he asked if i would like to come to Neverland and spend some time there. I could bring a friend and did.
Those 2 weeks were the best thing ever in my life. Not because of Michael, but because of the place. I was never a Michael Jackson fan but I had seen him in concert, but I didn´t have any records with him. And I liked his music, but not in that fan way you know. But it was still very exciting to be at his home. It´s an amazing place really.
He´s so proud of his zoo and he showed us around. We were allowed to take out the horses for rides whenever we wanted, we were given free space on the ranch. That is how I got more close to him than just making sure his donations went through. I´m not claiming to be a friend of his, but I think I got close enough to make him feel he could trust me, if only a little. I still have a few text messages from him.
When I first met him I had no cellphone, and it was just in later years he texted. It was hilarious to see him trying to compose a text message. He kept asking someone “how do I do now? How do I do a question mark. How do I do this”. It was funny.
The last donation he did was huge and they are still doing good on that one, and will do for long hopefully if nothing unexpected happens.
The second time he visited us we were outside in our rest area for the dogs. It´s a huge fenced place behind our house, with trees and such things. A very good place for the dogs to play around. We had one dog who got crazy at times and started to run around like a mental thing. And they look funny doing it and you start laughing and so did Michael, and he couldn´t stop really, and as soon as he looked at someone he started to laugh even more.
He didn´t stand still and at one point he bent forward and knocked his forehead in the back of a bench standing there. First it came an ouch from him but then he broke down completely and so did we. I had pain in my stomach the day after because of laughing so hard. He got a little bump on his forehead and he kept talking about it the next time we met. He said “It´s dangerous to laugh at times”.
I don´t know what more I can say, it´s so many little funny things that would happen with him around, it´s not easy to point out a few.
Thank you Adriana for sharing your story and your times with Michael, with all of us. I think it really helps to further show his true personality and what he was like. What a kind, generous, caring soul he was. ~ Debbie