A series of documentaries that share the stories of owners and their rescue pets, many of them adopted from the shelter, Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue, can be seen on YouTube. The videos, now six of them in total, were filmed and posted by two animal lovers in New York, Emily Sheskin, a filmmaker and “cat lady,” and Suzanna Schumacher, a “dog lady” who cross-stitches portraits of pets and is a pit bull advocate.
In an interview with The Huffington Post Schumacher says their mission is to raise awareness of “the merits of adoption” and to encourage viewers to consider rescuing a pet. She says they not only bring joy to an individual’s life, but it is also a rewarding experience to give a pet a home.
One of the more touching of the rescue pets stories posted so far is of Maggie, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and her owners, Nadia and Seosamh. Pit bulls, especially the Staffordshire, are often the victim of negative stereotypes and banned in some cities. They are tagged as being dangerous, primarily due to how they are historically bred to fight because of their size. Pit bull attacks are often magnified in the media, making headlines while other canine attacks go largely unnoticed. However, like any dog, if a pit bull breed is raised right they can be quite affectionate and people friendly.
The story of rescue pet Maggie is an example of a pit bull raised right. Seosamh shares with viewers in the Sidekick video on YouTube how he noticed she had scars all over her, indicating she was involved in fighting rings before arriving at the shelter; however, those days are over.
“A lot of times when we were walking Maggie, people would give us their cards and they sort of would be like, ‘are you going to fight her? Do you fight her?’,” said Nadia. “In the wrong hands she would be a weapon, absolutely, and that’s why it is important to have a pit bull story out there…I admit I completely fed her to this pit bull stereotype…but she loves to snuggle, she spoons, she’s amazing, she’s a love bug.”
One other touching rescue pets story concerns Ella, a supposed three to four-year-old cat who lived her entire life in shelters. Stephen, the owner, found tumors on her stomach and found out she had untreatable terminal cancer and had only a few months to live back in May 2013. Stephen then created a bucket list for Ella. Since the cat loved staring out the window he taught her how to walk with a leash and feel “the grass beneath her paws.” The owner said adopting her was the smartest thing he had ever done in his adult life and he would never have changed a thing, illness or not.
For some good news, an update was recently given, and Stephen said Ella’s life was extended by a few years. He also found out through another veterinarian that his cat was actually around 12-years-old.
As of earlier this week, on top of YouTube the rescue pets videos are also being shared on BuzzFeed. In addition to the stories, Sidekicks will be sharing information on pets in New York that are seeking a home, currently they have been pushing a shelter called Social Tees. Overall, the Humane Society estimates there are 3,500 shelters across the U.S., with 6 to 8 million cats and dogs entering these shelters every year. It is also estimated that 2.7 million of these pets are euthanized annually. As the Sidekick stories encourage, why not give a home to a furry animal? The experience can be life changing.
Commentary By Kollin Lore