Rescued pets often come into our lives and our families without a full background or an in depth story of where they came from. We often don’t really know what happened to them before our lives crossed paths. It’s what inspired us to partner with CUDDLY and create the #MyUnspokenPet campaign.
Based on what we learn about our pets, we often create stories about what we THINK happened. Though we can’t be sure these stories are correct, they help connect us as humans with our pets.
Sometimes these stories are happy or funny. Other times they might be sad and hard to stomach. But we know that every story is a story of resilience, survival, strength, and love in the end.
We share stories of our pets – Reznor, Luna, and Benji. You too can join in to raise awareness for the rescued pets we love and the rescues that saved them.
This post is sponsored by CUDDLY.
This video is part of the Pet Voices PRESENTS series. CLICK HERE to see all the series videos.
Share your pet’s story with #MyUnspokenPet!
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 0:01
If you have ever loved a rescue pet, then you know they don’t come with no background. There’s always pieces of a story that they had before they met you that you don’t know. We all fall into that. We don’t necessarily know everything there is to know about the rescue pets that we bring into our homes. That doesn’t stop us from loving them.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 0:21
And that’s also why we decided to launch a campaign called #MyUnspokenPet. The campaign is designed to tell those stories and to fill in those gaps of the pets that we love but yet they can’t speak. So, we have to speak for them and we have to help write their story.
REZNOR’S UNSPOKEN STORY
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 0:37
My #MyUnspokenPet story is about my very first family dog, me as an adult. Reznor was his name and we got him from a local shelter here in Colorado. And I just fell in love with his eyes. I think everyone can kind of relate to that moment when you fall in love with that pet that you bring home. He just had these soft eyes and when I brought him home, he spent his first few nights hiding under our table. That is where he wanted to be and I was just trying to give him space to see that nothing was going to happen to him. It took him several months to come out of his shell. It wasn’t until about six months where he was really the dog that we knew he could be. The happy dog. The one that loved us and wanted to play.
The shelter told us that he was six months old. He was a little bit big for six months old. Our vet believed that he was more like a year. He was still young. But he was pretty much full grown. And so, who knows what happened to him in that year. But as his personality began to unfold, we started to fill in the gaps. We started to speak for him about what might have happened beforehand. Because he had a few behavioral things and a few quirks. He was scared of men. He had a scar on the side of him that almost looked like a BB gun. We didn’t know. We were making that up. We were saying in our heads, we wonder if you lived with a man who hurt you or maybe even shot you with a BB gun. And maybe that’s why you were so scared.
But really the story that lasts is the one that he brought our family together, myself, my husband, and my four year old daughter at the time. We all loved him even though he had these tendencies to be afraid of men. Even though he had some injuries we couldn’t explain. It was the love that we all felt for him and that he felt for us that brought our family together. And the thing is, those injuries were so severe that it was just a jump off our deck that led him to hurt his back in such a way that he couldn’t recover. And so, again, it made us fill in these stories.
And I think a lot of rescue pets have those abuse or injury stories or things that make us sad. But right now, #MyUnspokenPet story is all of that didn’t matter. All of that still allowed him to open his heart to us. Still made it so that one dog became the glue in our family that holds to this day. And I think that’s the resilience in our unspoken pet stories that we seek to get to. There might be sadness that brings us to them, but regardless of what happened to him in that first year or so of his life, he became a family dog that brought everybody together.
LUNA’S UNSPOKEN STORY
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 3:11
It’s so important to shed a light on those stories of recovering and resilience. Because even though some of these stories have hardship in the past and in the background, they aren’t the entire story of your pet and your pet’s life with you. And if you don’t have a story that has a ton of hardship that’s okay too.
One of #MyUnspokenPet stories is a totally different twist on filling in the gaps. My dog, Luna, who I’ve had for almost eight years now, has a very different kind of story. When I first met her, it was at an adoption event. She caught my eye. She was beautiful, she was energetic, and she loved treats. I went to go and interact with her to give her treats, to give her cuddles, and she loved it. But as soon as I was out of treats, as soon as I was out of cuddles, she went on to the next person, the next best thing. And there was just something about that independence, how self-sufficient she was, that actually really drew me towards her.
Still to this day, she is very independent. She is very self-sufficient. If she needs food, she will find it. It may not be the best food for her. It may be a bag of powdered sugar that she really shouldn’t eat. But she will find it.
If she’s ready for bed, she’ll go to bed. If she’s done with what I’m saying, she’ll walk away. She’s got that attitude. She’s got that independence.
But when I adopted her, she was a year and a half old. There was a year and a half of time that I didn’t know what happened. Other than obviously her being a beagle mix of some kind, the only other real piece of information that the rescue could give us was that she was found walking on the side of the road in rural Virginia. Just doing her own thing. No identification, whatsoever.
And after spending just a few minutes with her, even on that first day, I think I know how that day played out. As a beagle mix, she may have been in the hunting world. And she decided, “Hey, the hunting life isn’t for me. I’m hungry. I have to go find something to eat.” And she went off on her own. So, that’s what I think happened. She just took it upon herself to find a better life and she walked into my life.
And she has dramatically changed the way that I live, the way that my husband lives. She changed my husband’s perspective on pets and dogs in general. Before he was just okay with them. They were fine. But now, they are his babies. He will take care of them no matter what. Nobody better mess with his dogs.
So, she did her own thing. She walked into a better life, I like to think. The life with me and my husband.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 5:35
And I love that. Because it’s so true. It’s not always scary or sad. Sometimes there is humor in it. And the personalities that come out, like with Luna, I can totally see that. I’ve gotten a chance to meet Luna. And she’s definitely a little independent. She’s got her own plan.
CUDDLY + ALL PET VOICES
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 5:51
She does. Her own priorities in life. That’s for sure. But that’s what I love about her and that’s what makes her special.
But for this campaign, #MyUnspokenPet, we wanted to bring in a partner. And that partner is CUDDLY. And if you don’t know about CUDDLY already, I’m really excited to share this with you. Because CUDDLY is a platform that is specifically dedicated to helping animal rescue, animal shelters, and other animal welfare organizations that are non-profits. They are 501(c)(3)s. For helping them raise funds, get items, and get things that they need for the shelter in general, but also for specific pets who are going through challenges that maybe they are a little bit different. They are a little bit special.
CUDDLY is seeking to help all pets to find them a really healthy life, but also a loving forever home.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 6:42
And we have had the opportunity to get to know, John Hussey, the CEO. And like the rest of us, he rescues pets. He has rescue pets in his home, so they have unspoken stories. And we wanted him to share his unspoken story so that you can see the people behind CUDDLY are just like us. And here’s what John had to say about his #MyUnspokenPet story.
BENJI’S UNSPOKEN STORY
John Hussey, CEO of CUDDLY – 7:02
My dog, Benji, the story that I have for him – and I have no idea if it is true or not – is he is highly intelligent, yet he’s so detached. And so, I kind of think he might be on the scale a little bit because he is so in tune with things around him. But when you try to engage with him, he will not engage unless he wants to. So, it has to be on his terms. It has to be something that he comes up with. When you want him to lay in your lap, or come to you, like a lot of animals, if you say, “Hey, Benji, come here.” He has nothing to do with it, unless he wants to.
I don’t have any idea of what I’m talking about with Benji. I just know that he has a very awesome personality. And what I worry about is, and I know this is wrong of me but, whatever happens to Benji, I want another animal just like Benji. And I know every animal has their own personality. I’ll deal with that when I get there. I’m going to enjoy Benji for now.
ABOUT THE CUDDLY PLATFORM
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 7:56
Benji is such a lucky dog to spend the rest of his life with John and his family. And vice versa.
If you’re thinking of potentially donating or just even checking out the CUDDLY platform, I think one of my favorite components is that there are so many different types of fundraisers. And on top of fundraisers, there are also wishlists. So, if you’d rather give a gift of food, a bed, or something like that, you can. And many of these fundraisers and wishlists are set up and designed for a specific dog, cat, or even we found a hamster, a pig, and a horse. And I know CUDDLY is trying to expand into all animals. But when you are looking for a specific fundraiser, you can search by location. You can search by breed. You can search by a specific rescue or shelter.
For me,I look for beagles. Because I have my beagle mix, Luna, and she made such a lasting impression in my life, I look for other beagles who I can help. But you can go beyond that. You can support your local shelter or even the rescue that you got your dog or your cat from. So, I think that’s one of the great things about the CUDDLY platform. You can really customize it to the experience that you want, when you want to help and give back.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 9:07
One of the great things for rescues who might be watching right now, or maybe the rescue you want to support isn’t currently on CUDDLY, it’s pretty simple to get on. You do need to be a 501(c)(3). But once you can verify that, it’s just setting up the profile, and starting to raise money.
Like Jessica said, whether that’s for a pet, an event, like the fires or a hurricane or something like that which might happen, or even you will find fundraisers for a group of dogs or cats found that need to be spayed or neutered or need vaccinations. But in the end, it’s all about helping the pets get healthy. So, that they can find that forever loving home.
And it is that, that I believe drives everybody that works at CUDDLY, the people who support it, and definitely John. But we wanted to get his words. And hear from him what it really means for him to be able to do what he does by creating something, supporting something, that is helping pets in many different situations all over the United States. So, here is what he said.
John Hussey, CEO of CUDDLY – 10:08
Why CUDDLY is important, for me, is what I’ve learned about our sheltering partners and what they do to go out and save animals. These people are going out into the streets of Mexico. They go out into the backwoods to bring an animal that might be trapped or afraid because it has been traumatized. They bring it in and they rescue and save them. And that warrior mentality just strikes me as I want to help these people win. I want to help them succeed. Our partners, I always say, they don’t wake up every morning and say, “Can I be better fundraisers?” They wake up every morning and say, “How can I save more animals?”
CUDDLY and me, what I see my role, is the champion of that. How can I help them get the resources they need in order to continue to win? I tell my team all the time, whatever you need to get the job done, just tell me. That is my job. I’m the resource allocator. And that’s the same thing for our partners. What do you need in order to achieve success by saving more animals? That is a role that we play.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 11:19
I feel like John has one of the best jobs. And he is pretty lucky to be able to support shelters, rescues, pets in the way that he does.
We really want to put it out to you. What are your #MyUnspokenPet stories? We know there might be sadness in some. Or maybe like Jessica’s, there’s some humor. Whatever it is, we want to hear it. And we want to focus on and remember the resilience and the strength. The fact these pets get through so much and still open their hearts to us, and love us, and allow us to love them is really the bottom line. Every pet that we help, every fundraiser that goes up, every donation made allows pets to move through shelters, and move through the process, and move on to a home making room for another pet to get the help that it needs.
So, on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook, where you want, write a blog post. We want to see it all. Make a video. And share it with the hashtag #MyUnspokenPet so that we can engage and read all your stories.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 12:20
And we hope that this video has inspired you to share those stories of your pet, whether they are with you now or if they were with you in the past. All of those stories are important.
In addition to posting those stories on social media, writing blog posts, and just getting the word out about #MyUnspokenPet, leave us a comment and let us know a tidbit of that story you are going to share.
And don’t forget to subscribe to us, so we can show up in your feed every week.
Share your pet’s story with #MyUnspokenPet!
For more information on #MyUnspokenPet and CUDDLY:
#MyUnspokenPet Website – myunspokenpet.com
CUDDLY Website – cuddly.com