Ginger May be a Dunce, But….

Ginger, a SharPei mix and adoptable rescue pet dog, from Granite Hills Animal Care in Granite Hills, Georgia.

Ginger is a SharPei mix, an adoptable dog in Granite Hills, Georgia, and a dunce.

I don’t know Ginger.  I’ll probably never know Ginger, because she’s in Georgia, and I’m in New York.  But, out of all the dog pictures I saw on Facebook and Pinterest this week, Ginger (at Granite Hills Animal Care) is the one that I’ll remember best.

I think it’s because her foster dad put a dunce cap on her with a computer pencil.

I don’t know how you could go past this photo without wondering about the story behind it.  I had to know.  So I read: Last year Ginger got spooked by a retractable leash and ran into the woods for the night.  All night.

Ginger is also a-scared of baths:

"Ginger is being extra clingy this morning. 
 You see. . . Lena got a bath and dip, Rosie got a medicated bath . . .

 Imma thinking that Ginger is thinking that she might possibly be next. . . ."

There are so many photos of gorgeous, sweet, adoptable dogs and cats out there, that the trick is to stop the eye long enough to linger over YOUR dog, and provoke a question. If a straight-ahead photo of your dog doesn’t do it, apply your own touch.


She hasn’t had much interest, ol’ Ginger, but I feel like I know her.  If I lived in Georgia and were looking for a dog, I would be inclined to ask about Ginger.  I like her.  And you can tell Ginger is well-loved by her foster, because he didn’t hesitate to put a dunce cap on her.

Read more about Ginger on her Adopt-a-pet page.

Andy Mathis is the vet who keeps a Facebook page for Granite Hills Animal Care, here. It’s quite entertaining and worth the befriending.  Shelter Pet Magazine, Andy’s publication, also has a Facebook presence.

CharlieDog and Friends' "Adopt" Collar Bracelets encourage adopting the family dog or cat

CharlieDog and Friends’ “Adopt” Collar Bracelet (“Bella”), is one of twelve Michael Miller print designs.

Don’t you love telling your rescue or adoption story? CharlieDog and Friends has twelve different “Adopt” collar bracelets that, when you wear them, make people ask!  Great as Mother’s Day gifts for ladies with children of the furry persuasion, they’re only $10.00, and we give $3.00 from every bracelet sold to our “Rescue of the Month”. 

Suzy Allman is the Chief Everything Officer of CharlieDog and Friends, a plush toy company dedicated to helping America’s shelter pets go home.  She’s also a sports photographer for The New York Times, where she tries to get the dwindling newspaper readership to pause for more than a second in the Sports section.

Do You Vine? Irresistible New Way to Help Shelter Pets With This Nimble, Mobile App!

It’s truly incredible what shelters and rescues have achieved for homeless animals in the brief lifetime of the social media marketing revolution.  And now, the future of social media marketing for our homeless pets is visual.  The book Think Like Zuck, recently predicted that “2013 will be the year of visual marketing”.

Enter Vine.

You can cut through the noise with Vine, a quick-and-dirty app that allows you to use your Iphone as a video camera that makes looping, six-seconds-or-less videos.

I want to show you how one rescued pitbull, Mac, is using Vine to adorable effect:

I didn’t know a thing about Mac until I started using Vine.  His videos stand out because they’re sweet vignettes centered around Mac’s daily life.  They quickly reveal Mac’s personality, the way he harmonizes perfectly with his family and his surroundings, his complete ease in his environment — exactly what you’re looking for when you start to consider bringing home a new pet.

Imagine this same dog as a shelter pet (sorry, Mrs. Mac!).  Away from the concrete and chain link fences that characterize shelters, you can move Mac out onto the grass.  Find a dandelion.  Blow.  A moving picture — simple, beautiful, clean.  You’ve placed Mac in a backyard of someone’s mind.

And if you never thought you’d consider adopting a pitbull — the dogs that make up the overwhelming majority of shelter pets in America — Mac might make you reconsider.  You can really see how goofy, funny, personality-rich he is.  The Vine below also tells you how calm he is, that he loves nature, that he’s good off the leash, and that it’s springtime — a time every dog deserves to enjoy in freedom. Ahh, Mac.

Tweet ’em, post ’em, put them on your Petfinder page, try to outdo each other in the cinematographer department.  Tell their story — not the story they are living at the shelter, but the one you WANT them to have.  With dandelions.

If you volunteer for a shelter, if you advocate for homeless animals, if you foster: why would you use Vine? Here are a couple great reasons:

1.  Vine is in its infancy, and if you get in early enough, you’ll build your following quickly.  Better for the dogs you advocate for!

2.  Okay: right now, it’s pretty basic, with minimal features.  And, I’ll say it: Most of what you’ll see on Vine is inane.  But, with the bar set so low, you can raise it a little without much effort.

3.  You can now embed these mini-movies on your Facebook page, or in your Petfinder page.  If you’re a shelter volunteer, nothing could be easier than taking and sharing a six-second Vine.  HOT TIP: If you are trying to embed a tweet into a blog, simply paste the tweet URL on its own line into the HTML or “Text” tab. If you post it into the “Visual” tab it will only show a link for the Vine video.

Tweet this!

Here are 7 ways to make your Vines irresistible:

1.  You can pick up — pretty cheaply — lenses for your Iphone that will make your Vine videos stand out from the crowd.  I’ve just ordered an Olloclip from B&H Photo; it has three lens options in one unit.

2.  Shoot outside.  The colors will be much more rich and saturated.  Look at Mac the Pitbull’s Vines and the world looks like a sunshine-y place!  Try not to shoot inside: light from your tungsten kitchen fixtures does nobody any good. :0)

3.  Tell a story.  We are drawn to stories that have beginnings, middles, end — however brief.  In six seconds, Mac endeared himself to me with that dandelion narrative.

4.  Don’t tell a story.  Just show the dog or cat’s details.

5. A great title (“Nerd Alert”) goes a long way!  Mac’s a geek.  He admits it.  And he’s a little more loveable, a little more endearing and relate-able, for it.

6.  Hash tag relentlessly.  Right now, there are hardly any “rescue pet” Viners out there.  Start with these: #rescue, #adoptapet, #pitbull #shelter

7.  Be inspired and follow darling Mac the Pitbull on his Facebook Page; and keep up with his Vinings.  You can also follow him by following @macthepitbull on Vine (from within the app).

Download the Vine app from your Iphone (*right now, it isn’t available on the Android phones, but that is expected to change), and give it a try.  It took me about a minutes to learn how it functions.


If you start Vining, please feel free to post your Vines on CharlieDog’s Facebook Page.  Or send them to us at  Or Tweet us!  We’d love to see how far Vine can go for shelter pets.

Plush Pocket Pitties Stuffed Animals, From CharlieDog and Friends

“Pocket Pitties”, (The Bruised Not Broken edition) from CharlieDog and Friends: Ruko, Mark, Adala, Jeffrey, Willow, Luca, Niko).

CharlieDog and Friends has created the world’s first plush dogs and cats based on real-life animal shelter and rescue pets, to raise awareness and money for America’s homeless animals.  See our line of plush toys, and “Adopt” collar bracelets, at CharlieDog and Friends’ website.

Get Them Adopted Faster: Our Weekly Inspiration for How It’s Being Done Brilliantly

“SECOND CHANCES”: Calgary Humane Society

Animal shelter and rescue advertising publicity campaign for Calgary Humane Society, a shelter for homeless animals in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

“Second Chances” is a publicity campaign for Calgary Humane Society that uses the dog’s (vulnerable) point of view to evoke some badass empathy.

Okay, while I know it’s currently out of style to project your own human emotions on your pet (see monologue, above, from the point of view of the dog), one of the beautiful things about pet ownership is the way it encourages, even increases our ability to empathize.

Go get her, Vulnerable Guy!

I just love this campaign from the Calgary Humane Society***.  We all know — or are, ourselves — people with faults.  And we know that dogs and cats, like people, aren’t perfect, no matter where they live or come from.  This campaign gets you thinking about the last time you felt so strongly about someone that you knew you were about to embark on a new course.  Pets do that to you.


PS:  In addition to having an engaging website and progressive schedule of activities (see their Kids For Animals Club!), Calgary Humane Society has an active Facebook page, Pinterest page, and you can of course follow them on Twitter.

Tweet this!

CharlieDog and Friends' "Adopt" Collar Bracelets encourage adopting the family dog or cat

CharlieDog and Friends’ “Adopt” Collar Bracelets, to encourage adopting the family dog or cat, or start the conversation!

***CharlieDog and Friends is sending Calgary Humane Society a whole bunch of our unique “Adopt” collar bracelets to sell or give away or use in their next fund-raiser.  Adjustable to your wrist and made of colorful, gorgeous, machine-washable Michael Miller fabrics, our bracelets are embroidered with the word, “Adopt” (like our design “Bella”, right).  And they look just like the collar your other family member wears!  There are 12 styles in all.

Know of a great campaign or publicity event to get dogs adopted faster?  Let us know and if we use it on this blog, we’ll send that organization a whole bunch of our bracelets!


Charlie’s Checkbook: Our Plush Pet Gypsy Helps Potsdam Humane Society

Gypsy, a plush Australian Cattle Dog from CharlieDog and Friends, is based on a real-life animal shelter rescue from the Potsdam Humane Society

Our plush Australian Cattle Dog (rescued, of course!) is named Gypsy, after a real-life inspiration living in Upstate New York. This pinteresty photo first appeared on the pet photography blog, Daily Dog Tag; it’s styled and photographed by Alice G Patterson.

CharlieDog and Friends is some pretty purposeful plush toy.  We started our stuffed animal business just to raise money for homeless pets, and now that we have our legs under us*, we’ll be showing you Charlie’s Checkbook every Monday.

We started CharlieDog and Friends with four plush toys: Charlie, Murphy, Gypsy and Clyde, each based on a real-life rescued pet.  The point was to create these toys, try to sell them to raise money for their shelters or rescues, and maybe let people know: it’s OK to rescue your next pet.  It’s even preferable.  If you ask me, it’s the ONLY way to go.

This week we’re signing a nice donation check to Potsdam Humane Society, because the real-life Gypsy, a rescued Australian Cattle Dog, came from this Upstate New York shelter (which, by the way, just boasted that they are, for once, Guinea pig-free, having adopted their last guinea pig out this weekend!)

And we wanted to say: Thank YOU.  This is our dream, and slowly — very slowly — it’s moving ahead,  in the right direction — but not without the help of some very special and generous customers and friends.

A rescued Australian Cattle Dog is the inspiration for our plush australian cattle dog (ASD) named Gypsy, and benefits the Potsdam Humane Society, an animal shelter in Upstate New York.

Gypsy, a rescued Australian Cattle Dog from Potsdam Humane Society in Upstate New York, with her plush toy Gypsy. She’s an agility enthusiast and a wonderful, 100% rescued family pet. Now why on earth would anyone go to a breeder for their next cattle dog?

Do you know someone who’s thinking of bringing home a new family pet, and isn’t sure where that pet is going to come from — but you want a gentle, cuddly way to encourage adoption?  You can send them message by sending it in stuffed animal form.  Just drop by Gypsy’s little corner of the Internet.  Like all CharlieDog pets, she ships in a tissue-wrapped, colorful, crinkly nest of shredded paper, with a hang tag to tell her story and a collar that says all you need to say: “ADOPT”.

Tweet this for Potsdam Humane Society!

*Why did this take so long?  Well, we’ve made some donations along the way, but mostly we’ve been paying off our start-up costs, which have been lots!  But not unexpected.  We’re just happy we’ve gotten to the point where we can finally begin fulfilling our mission of giving.