As animal lovers, we all know the importance of supporting responsible pet adoption. But less than 30 percent of pets are actually acquired through adoptive means. That’s why it’s up to us as adults to teach the next generation of children about the value of rescue dogs. And what better way to do that than with a kid-friendly book-and-toy set, with all of the author’s profit going to shelters in need?
Founded by adoption activist Laurie Brown-Nagin, Operation ResCUTE has created a limited-edition book-and-stuffed-animal set that will warm the heart of any dog lover, young or old. The Story of Jingles is an illustrated book about Brown-Nagin’s rescue dog, whom she discovered on the streets of Manhattan just as an animal control officer was taking the puppy to receive some pro-bono veterinarian care. Jingles had been found with a broken jaw in a garbage can in the Bronx at just four months old.
As someone who grew up with purebred dogs and owned Wheaten Terriers for years, Brown-Nagin hadn’t been directly exposed to the world of pet adoption before. She’s always supported organizations such as the Humane Society and the ASPCA. But with two dogs already at home, the Brown-Nagins weren’t exactly looking for another pet. Still, Laurie didn’t hesitate to make Jingles part of the family.
Like so many adopted pets, the beautiful, mixed-breed dog was incredibly lucky to have found her forever home. “She’s loyal beyond what I’ve ever known from a dog,” Brown-Nagin says of Jingles. “She’s just heartfelt. She’s never been afraid of anyone. She loves everybody.”
She’s also what inspired Brown-Nagin to leave her career in marketing and product development to launch a nonprofit centered around putting a happier, friendlier face on shelter dogs. “If a kid walks by a pet store, they think that’s where dogs come from,” she says. “My goal is to change the conversations about pets. One way to do that is to educate the new generation of kids, because they typically prompt the purchase or adoption (hopefully) of a dog.”
Three years in the making, The Story of Jingles came out in September, and it aims to get kids and parents talking about pet adoption. It’s the first in a collectible series of children’s books “authored” by the dogs themselves, with each plush being in that particular dog’s image. “With each purchase, a child is empowered to know that they helped a dog be adopted somewhere,” Brown-Nagin says.
Readers, especially children, will gain an appreciation for animal adoption and also learn empathy. In fact, kindergarten teachers have been using the book as a tool to teach that all-important emotion in the classroom. Alongside the book is a stuffed-animal version of Jingles and a special Operation ResCUTE Club Membership sticker. For just $29, the purchase of this unique set can make a difference in the life of shelter animals across the country. And an impressive 100 percent of profits from sales goes toward adoption services in shelters.
The next book in the series, The Story of Tanner, is set to launch in a few months and will similarly share the true-life tale of a three-week-old shelter puppy who tries to escape and ends up finding her forever home with a loving couple. The third book in the series is about a dog who’s overcome a disability; it will publish at a later date, dependent upon book sales. After that, Operation ResCUTE will look to its ongoing contest, through which people can enter their own adoption stories. Periodically, the organization will select a group of contestants whose respective shelters will receive donations, plus one ResCUTE pup to be featured in an upcoming book and toy set.
“Entrants frequently say they didn’t just rescue their dog, their dog rescued them,” Brown-Nagin says. Of course, for every wonderful adoption story, Operation ResCUTE hopes that many more great lifelong connections will take place. But the realization of this noble goal relies upon spreading adoption awareness through educational channels such as Operation ResCUTE. You can help by buying The Story of Jingles through its website and by following Operation ResCUTE on Facebook and Twitter.
Read about more Dogster Heroes:
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About the author: Whitney C. Harris is a New York-based freelance writer for websites including StrollerTraffic, Birchbox, and WhattoExpect.com. A former book and magazine editor, she enjoys running (with Finley), watching movies (also with Finley), and cooking meatless meals (usually with Finley watching close by).