One thing I have heard a lot recently is that Holly is "so pretty for a rescue." I think there is a misconception that all rescue animals are somehow damaged goods, which is of course the farthest thing from the truth!
That's why when I was visiting the Friends of Finn pup-up shop a few weeks back, I was immediately drawn to the ladies of Operation ResCUTE, a series of children's books and corresponding plush toys that seeks to educate the next generation on animal rescue and encourage them to adopt a shelter pet. I was able to chat with Laurie, the founder of Operation ResCUTE, to hear more about her incredible mission.
Little Holly's Big World: What inspired you to educate children about animal rescue?
Operation ResCUTE: After working over 30 years in marketing and product development, I decided to change gears and pursue my greatest passion [aside from my kids, of course!]...that of helping dogs in need of finding loving homes. It is very evident to me that the only way to create change in the way people approach getting a pet for the home is to EDUCATE the younger generation of kids and make them AWARE of the plight of the shelter dog. Young children generally drive the decision to get a pet for the home and for the most part, the majority of kids remain unaware that so many dogs currently live in shelters, in less than ideal situations, longing to be loved and belong to a family. Most young children think dogs come from pet stores on the street where they see adorable fluffy puppies jumping in the window! Kids remain unaware of shelters and the sad reality and plight of the shelter dog. So our series aims to EDUCATE and CHANGE THE CONVERSATION in homes to ADOPT vs. purchase pets!
|Operation ResCUTE founder, Laurie, poses with her first books and plush toy, based on her own pup!|
LHBW: What made you decide to write books and create toys to get your story out to the world?
ORC: Books and stuffed animals are both great learning tools and have an important place in any child's life. So, in order to promote change among the next generation in regard to adoption of pets, I felt books and stuffed animals were a universal vehicle to best speak to kids.In developing a series of children's books and stuffed animals based on individual rescue dog's true-to-life stories, I also knew it was crucial to change the current perception of the shelter dog as well. To date, shelter dogs are often portrayed as dogs having issues, or aggressive breeds, sad and pathetic in their pleas. In order to appeal to young kids, it is necessary to create a friendlier "face" to the shelter dog [hence the name Res"CUTE"] and make them more approachable and adorable and most importantly, identifiable. Our books address basic needs felt by children as well as animals: the need for love, security, and a sense of belonging! In addition, our book series teaches important life lessons and helps to create EMPATHY among the younger generation so that they feel responsible to help those less fortunate around them.
|The books and plush are great for the pup-ruvin' kids in your life.|
LHBW: Tell us a bit about Jingles, your first official Operation ResCUTE!
ORC: As the Story of Jingles depicts, it was by chance that I found Jingles. (As a child, I was raised with full bred dogs and I was never fully aware of the option to adopt from animal shelters.) Out of all the dogs I have had to date, I can unequivocally say that Jingles remains the most heartfelt dog I have ever met. She loves everyone with her entire being and is so incredibly loyal and intuitive.
Knowing that she ever had to suffer for a single moment in her life is unbearable to me and , as my muse, she will propel me to continue to always work on"her" behalf to do the same for other homeless dogs.
LHBW: Readers are able to submit their own pets to become a story. Tell us more about how that process works!
ORC: In terms of Operation ResCUTE's on-going CONTEST, we encourage people to go on our website (www.operationrescute.com) ,send in pictures and the background story of their rescue dogs and how they came to be rescued. We then select "winners" and give donations to the shelters that helped cared for them prior to their adoption. Selection of "winners" is based on many factors: the courageousness of the dogs, the efforts and fortitude of their shelters as well as their new owners in caring for them, etc. If sales allow us to continue to move forward with the series, we plan to choose our next ResCUTE characters for the book and plush series from the Contest dogs!!
LHBW: 100% of your proceeds go to rescue organizations. Why was it important for you to give back in that way?
ORC: 100% of the profits from the Operation ResCUTE book series go towards helping shelters in their adoption efforts. I feel it is important to give as much assistance to all the wonderful individuals and organizations who, on a daily basis, care for and work effortlessly to find these wonderful pets a loving home. In order to institute great and meaningful changes in life, I feel it is important to PAY IT FORWARD!
LHBW: Finally, what do you hope for Operation ResCUTE?
ORC: In looking forward, I can only hope that Operation ResCUTE Inc. has been a successful tool in changing the conversation in homes in regard to pet ADOPTION . In addition, if our series can help teach empathy to kids and help them to become more aware of those less fortunate around them, then the world will be a better place.
If you have an animal ruvin' child in your life, consider Operation ResCUTE as a paw some gift (buy it here). Not only will they get to snuggle up with a great story and a fluffy new pal, but you can feel good knowing you helped save a shelter animal in need. Talk about win-win!
I've said it before and I'll say it again: by far the best thing about this blog is meeting all the inspirational people who are truly changing the world of animal welfare every day. If every one of us takes a small step towards improving the life of animals, I know we will make a big impact. Thank you for joining us on our journey so far--I can't wait to see where we all go next!
Until Next Time, Darlings!