Adoption is a prime reason BlogPaws bloggers do what they do. Adoption, dog rescue, cat rescue, animal service support… you name it and we serve it with our words, our attention, our desire. BlogPaws bloggers want all animals rescued and treated with the love and respect they deserve.
Earlier this week, I had the supreme pleasure of chatting with Michael Levitt, who, with the amazing Hilary Swank, produces The All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration, airing Thanksgiving NIGHT on Fox. I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed a phone chat like the one with Michael. I can call him Michael now because we’re friends. We’re friends of the highest order – friends of all animals everywhere. Michael, like ALL of BlogPaws, believes in the POWER of the human-animal bond…and his passion drove him to produce this amazing TV show: All Star Dog Rescue Celebration. Watch it, on FOX, Thanksgiving night.
But, wait, let me share the conversation I had with Michael. Let me take you behind the scenes a bit… we like to do that here at BlogPaws.
Michael and I played phone tag for about a week. That was not fun. I almost despaired of ever talking to him about the all star dog rescue celebration and my heart was in anguish over it, because all the reports were amazing and I wanted first hand knowledge of the event. So, I kept trying and he kept trying and w00t! we finally connected!!! (ok, cheers, please – a little louder, please)
Here’s the heartfelt story, and I’m condensing cause Michael’s story is so pawsome I could write a whole book about it:
In 2011, his sister was in hospice with cancer. He and his partner, Mark, were considering adoption…of a dog…but held off because of the events in Michael’s life. And then, one day, there was Mark, with a dog they’d visited at a rescue…a pit bull that was so sweet and endearing, Mark knew he was destined for THEIR house. They named him, Trooper.
Michael’s sister went to the Rainbow Bridge shortly after Troopers adoption, yes, people go there too, four days later. Michael and Mark proceeded to shower Trooper with a ton of love (even though he peed on Michael’s mother’s sofa LOL) and they found another precious dog, in an online search, in NY, part pit bull, and eventually…they brought that little guy home too. Michael was hooked. Hooked on (1) saving dogs, (2) sharing the message of spay/neuter, (3) giving attention to seniors and special needs animals, (4) educating on the reality of pit bulls…they are as precious and sweet as any other dog…and so much more. He decided to create a TV show. A TV show that would support all of his messages…the same messages WE, at BlogPaws, share every day. He knew, being “in the trenches” that he could find celebs to help, that he could share the purpose and the passion better than almost anyone else…and he did.
Oh, let me digress just a bit…because everyone KNOWS how easy it is to (a) put on a conference, right? Ask BlogPaws Ambassadors, they will tell you what it’s like in the trenches! and (b) put together a TV show about dog rescue and adoption. It’s NOT easy. You get a LOT of doors slammed, yes, slammed, in your face! But, like us, Michael did NOT GIVE UP! And, All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration was born, last year. This year, it will be bigger and better than ever.
OMG! The celebrities abound! The super fantastic Kaley Cuoco is the host! Miley Cyrus, Chelsea Handler, Paula Abdul, and so many more fantastic folks will be there sharing, laughing, encouraging, urging… everyone watching to learn and…to adopt. Yes, it’s about adoption at the local level, everyone. This is done via the amazing folks at PetFinder. You know you love Petfinder!
But, this is about Michael as much as it’s about the All Star Dog Rescue Celebration and the celebrities coming to share stories. It’s about how Michael saw a need and filled it. It’s about entertaining folks while teaching them. It’s about awards for rescues – Dogs for Deployment, Fences for Fido, and more. It’s about celebrating how rescues ROCK and ROLL all year long, and how they do what they do… sharing, caring, supporting… amid so much strife and sadness. The show is bringing a little bit of JOY and happiness to the dogs, the people and the folks watching.
Michael knew that having a show like this, on Thanksgiving night, no less, would do so much to support and share the causes dear to his heart – the importance of fostering, of getting out of the house to DO something, of showing that shelters even have breed dogs if you want one, that he pushed and he worked and he opened doors that were locked and he did not let people who said “no” deter him. Oh, dear BlogPawsers, how well we at BlogPaws understand that! And, he has Petfinder on board to allow viewers to get local. Is that not genius?
AND… one of the MOST important things he knew, deep in his heart, where his soul was guiding him, was that he knew he needed to create a community of supporters. Celebrities are all well and good. They do share. They do care. They do promote…but in the world of animal rescue, there is no more important group of people than the community of hearts like ours, at BlogPaws, to MAKE change happen.
I want all of you to not only WATCH this show, but to SHARE it. Please. I want us, at BlogPaws, to stand up and SHOUT about the power of the human animal bond! Can you tell how PASSIONATE about this I am??? I want US to be Michael’s community. Because in our efforts, at the grass roots level, we get it done, but sometimes… yes, sometimes… it seems as if no one is listening. It seems as if our SHOUTS are whispers in the wind. It seems as if the world is ignoring us on purpose. After all, they’re just dogs…or cats…or ferrets…or turtles. How many of you go bananas over the phrase: It’s just a dog..It’s just a cat… It’s just a ferret…etc? I do.
This is a great opportunity for us to maximize our voice. To work with someone who is out there doing what WE all love to do. Michael can’t keep doing this show, without our support. We must lend our voices to this purpose. Because, in the future, Michael wants to bring our feline friends aboard… and recognize TNR programs, and I am sure we can sprinkle in mention of other pets that need our help. We can be the megaphone that gets this message out via the web… the web is where EVERYTHING happens these days. If the message is loud enough, and targeted enough, it works!
This is for all pet people. It’s for the animals that Michael and Kaley and all of the STARS are going to feature. As Michael told me, “We want this to be the story of winning. The story of how this dog or that dog got a happy home. I tell people all the time that when you adopt you save two dogs – the dog you’re adopting and the dog that now gets to take his space at the shelter, which is almost always overcrowded.” I never thought of it that way but it’s true – when we adopt, it opens a space to save another pet. I love it!
So, share. Make a pawty out of it. Talk it up now through Thanksgiving and meet all your friends online so you can talk it up while it’s happening.
Click the links in this post and share what you learn.
Be the voice that helps keep this alive – to save more dogs, to bring cats to the attention of more people, and to show the world that we folks who love animals, who consider animals an intimate part of our lives, are not going to give up until everyone can have the same warm, loving experience of being a pet parent…themselves.