Dogs have always been my favorite animals. I’m not sure what drew me to them as a child, but I always wanted to pet them, hang out with them and most of all, have one of my own. I used to beg my mom for a dog — write essays about my love for canines and put them on her pillow, bug her until she would almost give in — but we never ended up with one, much to my chagrin.
I knew that the moment I was able to have a dog on my own, I would. So, I graduated high school, then college, and finally was able to adopt a dog.
Guybrush (named after a character from the Monkey Island computer game series) was on the euthanasia list at Animal Care & Control in New York City, where I live, and with the help of a local rescue we (my fiancé and I) were able to pick him up and save his life. This opened our eyes to the realities of shelters and how much we wanted to help other dogs and cats who need love.
Hans Gruber, my second dog (of course, you can never have just one!), began as a foster pup and easily weaseled his way into our hearts to find a permanent place in our family. His story was what inspired The Sidekick Series.
Hans came to us by way of Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue, an amazing rescue and foster network that pulls dogs from high-kill shelters in the south, transports them up north and works to find them forever homes. Hans had been shot and left on the side of the road to die. We don’t know much else about him, but his scars are a constant reminder of his harrowing time before he was rescued.
Despite this, he is one of the happiest, most enthusiastic and sweet dogs I’ve ever met. While it took him some time to come out of his shell, he has blossomed into a tail-wagging cuddlebug who loves all dogs and people (and squirrels).
Hans’s story was picked up by a blog a few months ago and I showed it to my longtime friend and filmmaker, Emily LINK TO CATSTER VERSION. The story sparked an idea for her. She thought: How many other amazing rescue stories are there, like this one, that could help raise awareness for adoption? What if she found them, filmed them and shared their stories? Emily told me her idea and I was immediately on board to help.
We decided to combine her filmmaking and editing expertise with mine: I’ve been a social media and digital marketing strategist for the last five years and knew I could help bring this project to the world.
So, since the idea came to be, we’ve been working to make it a reality. We’ve worked really hard to find a diverse cast with both cat and dog stories and convey a variety of messages about the importance of adoption. We want people to watch our series and have fun while doing it, but also learn how rewarding and amazing having an adopted pet in your home can be.
In our series, you’ll meet dogs like Maggie, a Pit Bull who defies all stereotypes and truly represents the breed. You’ll get to know Ella, a senior cat who is living with cancer and thriving. You’ll learn about Daisy, a former puppy mill breeding dog who now has two doting human parents, and Nelson, a one-eyed cat who hit the jackpot with his human mom. There are many more to boot! And while we want our stories to be seen far and wide, we’ll also be asking for rescue and adoption stories from our audience.
Ultimately, we’d like The Sidekick Series to build a community around pet rescue and adoption. While dogs, cats and many other animals remain homeless and in need of love, we know there’s work to be done. So we hope our stories inspire people to get involved. If even one animal gets adopted because someone saw The Sidekick Series — or if just one animal gets fostered, or if one person decides to donate to a rescue organization — we will feel like we’ve made a difference.
Check out these adorable stories on Dogster:
About the author: Suzanna is a digital brand strategist and writer. She lives in Brooklyn with her fiance, Ben, and two rescue dogs, Guybrush and Hans Gruber. When she’s not taking long walks in Prospect Park with her fam, she’s cross-stitching dog (and sometimes human) portraits, perusing interior design blogs and volunteering for dog rescue organizations.
Do you know of a rescue hero — dog, human, or group — we should profile on Dogster? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.