When NPR correspondent Ketzel Levine was laid off in 2008 after 30 years with the network, “the shock left me numb,” she writes. “The numbness was a blessing. Until it wore off.” Now the network’s former Doyenne of Dirt has shifted her attention from nurturing plants to saving animals, she reveals in the latest All Animals magazine from the Humane Society of the United States. Several months ago, Levine says, she decided to travel to Ecuador — because she knew nothing about it. She enrolled in a language school in Cuenca, and volunteered at the animal shelter a few blocks from there. Walking between her apartment and school she got to know the local street dogs, “the Rasta-haired terrier mixes, the skinny, long-legged hounds, the happy packs of Mutts and Jeffs racing between cars.” Through that experience, and her animal rescue work post-hurricane Katrina, ” I began to sense a certain inevitability about where I was headed: the great wide world of animal activism, including rescue, welfare, and animal rights.” So far she’s raised a third of the budget for the ARCA (Activism, Rescue and Conscience for Animals) dog refuge in Ecuador. Check out more adventures in her blog, Kick ‘N’ Screamin’ to Vegan.