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Lucas Spiegel wrote his memoir 'The Weight of Empathy' after traveling around the world for 22 months

COURTESY PHOTO: KELLY GUERIN - Lucas Spiegel is the author of The Weight of Empathy.

After spending 22 months visiting animal sanctuaries around the world, Lucas Spiegel wrote a book about the experience. A portion of the proceeds from sales will benefit a sanctuary in Estacada.

"The Weight of Empathy" documents Spiegel's travels to Southeast Asia, India and Europe. For copies of the books purchased at, 50% of proceeds for the paperback and 75% of ebook sales will be donated to Out to Pasture Sanctuary in Estacada.

Spiegel started the journey in 2016, after making a list of goals for the future.

"My friends had started making 30 before 30 lists, and it got me thinking about my long term goals. I wrote a list of places I'd like to see and people I'd like to meet," said Spiegel, who previously worked in architecture.

Spiegel initially planned to write a cookbook of vegan recipes from the places he visited, but the focus of his work shifted to focus on the animal sanctuaries where he volunteered.

"It ended up being a call to action for a kinder, more merciful world," he said.

One of the most meaningful parts of his travels was while he was volunteering at a sanctuary in Thailand. The couple who ran it took Spiegel and several other volunteers to a place called the Elephant Highlands.

"There was a moment on the hillside where I watched them walk with elephants to see if they wanted to go for a swim, and I was just overcome by gratitude. Their work revolved around a core of compassion," he said.

Spiegel's travels continued to impact his life after he'd returned to the United States.

"I wanted to do something worthwhile after seeing what I'd seen," he said. "I want my life to be an appropriate response to the world. My new life mission is to maximize the amount of good I can do."

With this new goal in mind, Spiegel started a vegan dog treat company called Haven Hearts. All of the proceeds were donated to animal sanctuaries.

Through the program, Spiegel sponsored multiple sanctuary animals, including some at Out to Pasture.

"I connected with animal lovers and provided an opportunity to support good that was already happening," he said.

Though Haven Hearts shuttered during the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of $13,000 was raised.

Spiegel is happy to continue supporting Out to Pasture through "The Weight of Empathy."

"I'm very fond of all the work they do. I'm happy to support them whenever I can," he said.

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