Mutual Rescue™ tells stories of human and animal transformations

By Cameron Woo, August 2018, Updated June 2021

A new, inspiring video produced by Mutual Rescue™ prompted us to check in with the innovative initiative we first profiled in 2016. We lauded the debut of their first film short “Eric & Peety” on Valentine’s Day 2016, and we were not alone in our appreciation. The film became a viral sensation with over 100 million views in two years. The newest release from Mutual Rescue tells the story of “Mike & Abbie”—two lost souls who were fortunate to find each other and discover their true passions in life. Abbie’s love of surfing has propelled her to become the most honored canine in the sport’s history. It’s a must-see.

Mutual Rescue™ is a national initiative created by Humane Society Silicon Valley to change the conversation around animal welfare. Mutual Rescue’s purpose has been to challenge a commonly held misconception about animal-welfare philanthropy—that gifts to animal shelters and rescue organizations reduce charitable giving to organizations benefiting people, and that the two causes are somehow mutually exclusive. Mutual Rescue aims to change the conversation from “people or animals” to “people and animals.” Through sharing authentic stories in film and print, Mutual Rescue presents compelling evidence that when people adopt animals, their own lives are often dramatically transformed in positive ways as well. Extrapolating that powerful dynamic, entire communities also benefit immensely through greater compassion for all beings. Initial financial support came from Timi and John M. Sobrato and Sue and John Diekman, the founding sponsors of Mutual Rescue. Since then, Maddie’s Fund and PetSmart Charities have lent their support.

Mutual Rescue released four films in 2017, the first of which was “Kylie & Liza,” the story of a young girl battling cancer and the kitten she and her family adopted. In “Tracy & Jack,” we met a woman who suffered a debilitating fall while horseback riding then learned to love life again with the help of a three-legged, one-eyed shelter dog. “Josh & Scout” told the tale of a soldier suffering from PTSD and severe depression and the kitten who saved his life and changed his destiny. “Jessi & Andi” introduced a young woman, Jessi, who struggled with anxiety, isolation and self-doubt after her boyfriend committed suicide. Adopting an 8-month-old shelter dog named Andi began a life-affirming journey that brought Jessi back into the light.

Those who have a Mutual Rescue story of their own to tell are invited to submit it for consideration for future films and publications.

Cameron Woo is co-founder of The Bark magazine, and was its Publisher for over two decades. He was also the magazine’s Art Director.