I try to be the best dog mom I can be, and through my words and actions I try to inspire others to help dogs.
But the people you are about to meet have inspired me in some way, from rescue warriors who are changing the way to raise funds to people forming careers built on a passion for dogs. These eight dynamos may not yet be mainstream names, but I’m convinced they will be. Take note, get inspired, and remember you read about them here first!
1. Eldad and Audrey Hagar, rescue warriors
Audrey and Eldad Hagar have been fostering hundreds of animals in their home for the past eight years. They created Hope for Paws to help animals who suffer and die because of negligence and abuse. Eldad took it one step further, with a huge network of rescuers from all over the world on his Facebook page. Pamela Mitchell shared Eldad’s heroic actions with Dogster readers as well.
Eldad gets down in the trenches to rescue animals. From rescuing a blind dog abandoned and discarded in a pile of trash to helping a dog left to fend for himself in the desert, Eldad takes his work seriously.
Eldad has a developed a finely orchestrated rescue operation involving the police, the fire department, and volunteers. Just another day in the life of a superhero. Nearly two million people have viewed this video by Eldad:
2. Bernie Berlin, foster hero
Silence isn’t the answer. Dogs in shelters need a voice, someone to speak for them. Enter Bernie Berlin, founder of A Place to Bark, a no-kill foster and adoption rescue dedicated to saving the lives of animals in Tennessee. Established in 2001, the foster works with a variety of animal control agencies, rescuing animals from high-kill shelters and fostering them until they are healthy. They are then placed for adoption through humane societies in various parts of the country.
“When I walk into animal control and see the faces of dogs that literally have an hour to live before euthanasia, I know if I give up many more will die,” Berlin says.
3. Patrick Mahaney, veterinary visionary
When Patrick Mahaney’s dog, Cardiff, was diagnosed with immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA), he knew the illness was typically fatal, as the immune system would destroy the body’s red blood cells. Mahaney fought back by taking a more holistic approach to treating his pooch.
Combining a Western approach with Chinese herbs and other supplements, and with acupuncture and acupressure treatment, Mahaney has been able to manage Cardiff’s disease, along with those of other IMHA clients.
He’s also a hands-on veterinarian who makes house calls, is very involved in rescue organizations in the Los Angeles area, and writes for Perez Hilton’s pet-centric website TeddyHilton.com. His approach to animal care should launch this visionary into stardom; his caring and concern for animals makes him a breed all of his own.
3. Shawna Schuh, canine networking wizard
Starting a career in the pet business isn’t easy. As the president of Women in the Pet Industry Network, Schuh focuses her efforts on helping women realize their fullest potential in the pet industry. Members include groomers, pet sitters, vets, artists, trainers, breeders, pet store operators, and product developers.
“WIPIN members are part of the go-to network of experts in all parts of the pet industry,” Schuh says. “More women are entering the pet niche, traditionally filled by men. It’s an excellent fit, since 85 percent of pet parents are female.”
4. Anthony Rubio, dog designer
Anthony Rubio is a man with a mission, which is inspired by his love of fashion, art, and, of course, a dog. His dog Bandit served as muse for many of his canine fashions, and his unique creations have been featured on TMZ, Perez Hilton, Today, and more.
Rubio also was commissioned by Pepsi in honor of the 2012 National Hispanic Heritage Month. He is an advocate for pet adoption as well as assisting in fundraising for various animal related charities. His dogs Bogie and Kimba grace the cover of photographer Paul Nathan’s recently released book, Couture Dogs of New York. As the first featured pet designer to present his works at Saks Fifth Avenue for the 2012 Christmas holiday season, Rubio continues to skyrocket.
The award-winning pet couturier is the official designer of the gown and tuxedo for my dog’s Wigglebutt Wedding, taking place in June as a fun fundraiser for Life’s Little Paws.
5. Joe and Robbin Everett, podcast pros
TPPC.tv started as a Web-based television show, website, and blog for pet and animal lovers, and it’s grown to include a weekly radio show, Pets Teach Us So Much (which is then available as a podcast). This labor of love was started by Joe and Robbin Everett and continues to gain popularity with their fans.
Making the transition to a pet-based career is something others undoubtedly wonder about. Though they admit the rough economy has been trying, Joe and Robbin say to do your research and never give up. “Reach out to your tribe and keep on swimming, like Nemo the fish would say,” Robbin says.
So what’s next for the couple and their dogs? They plan to travel the country to bring much-needed publicity to rescues and pet events, and their dream is to outfit an RV for mobile broadcasts.
6. Laura Nativo, fairy dogmother
As one of the stars of the CBS reality show Greatest American Dog, actress/producer Laura Nativo admits that dogs are her passion. And the Fairy Dog Mother is a regular on the Hallmark Channel.
Her goal is to educate, entertain, and empower pet parents on a national level. Nativo founded the Pawtastics, a volunteer nonprofit organization made up of celebrity dogs, studio dogs, and exceptionally trained canines and people, who strive to take therapy dog work to a whole other level. One of the coolest things to happen to me so far this year was meeting Nativo at the Global Pet Expo.
7. Chloe DiVita, blogging maven
When a pet writer helps teach bloggers how to monetize their words, that person deserves a spotlight. The self-titled “Chief of Everything” of BlogPaws, a company founded in 2009 by three pet bloggers, Chloe DiVita focuses on helping bloggers and animals.
DiVita originally wanted to be a veterinarian, but now she sits at the helm of BlogPaws, which launches its fifth social media conference for pet bloggers this month. She is dedicated to helping animals through the Be the Change for Pets movement. To date, BlogPaws has donated more than $45,000 in product and cash donations to animal rescues in need.
8. Bob Shaughnessy, online trailblazer
When Bob Shaughnessy searched online for pet fashion designers, he was unable to find anything. So he started a private Facebook group that evolved into PawVogue. PawVogue is the first pet fashion portal for pet fashion designers and people who love to dress their pets.
Shaughnessy’s five-year-old Havanese, Cuba, serves as the muse and model for many of the fashions. Shaughnessey and his pooch also volunteer and attend many of the New York City dog events and volunteer to walk the runway or help in whatever way they can. He has his own radio show on Pet Life Radio — and yours truly will be welcoming Cuba and his dad to the Wigglebutt Wedding in June!
Ever wish you could have a career dealing with dogs? Do you already have one? Let me know in the comments!
Do you know of a rescue hero — dog, human, or group — we should profile on Dogster? Write us at email@example.com.
Read more about amazing people and their dogs on Dogster:
- Meet Mabel, Who Walked Across America with her Human
- Victoria Stilwell Talks with Dogster
- Boy Writes Book About Seizure Dogs So He Can Afford One