What an honor to bring you this interview with dog lover extraordinaire, Carol Bryant. Carol is the author of the Fidose of Reality blog and the PR and Marketing Manager/Social Media Strategist at Blogpaws.
For her work awareness and fundraising efforts to help dogs and other animals in need, Carol was named Women in the Pet Industry 2015 Advocate of the Year.
She shares about her love of dogs and her advocacy efforts here. Thank you, Carol, and congratulations on your well earned award.
I love your trademark, “My heart beats dog”. How did your realize that and how has it shaped your life?
My goal is to empower people to make a difference in the life of a dog: Whether that means someone donated $10 to feed a dog for a week in a shelter or they purchased a ticket to one of my fundraiser galas. If someone reads a blog post I penned and then takes action on the words in that post: Mission accomplished.
I am not an ordinary dog lover, and this I know to be true. A dog has been by my side for over 20 years now, with a very rare occasion one is literally not there. I mean it in every sense of the word when I say my heart beats dog.®
There is something very unique about the spirit of canines: No matter what breed, what circumstance, or from whence they came: Dogs are real. It’s true that dogs don’t judge. Even more so, dogs teach me every single day to be a better person.
It breaks my heart to see the many dogs who need forever homes, those who are stuck with owners who could care less, and the ones who will leave this world because there simply was not enough room on the planet.
I want to be one of those people who shows others how to make a difference in the life of a dog.
I am truly living my dream and putting the effort into making my goals happen. It isn’t easy, but it can be done with the pitter patter of paws beside me as I type this, and the knowledge that each day there is something I can do to teach others about the magical qualities encased in a dog.
Who are the Wigglebutt Warriors and what is your mission?
Wigglebutt Warriors® is the fundraising arm of Fidose of Reality. Combined, we’ve raised over $50,000 for homeless dogs, mostly Cocker Spaniels, to assist with medical, food, and basic needs until they find their forever homes. We are not a 501(c)3 but we raise money for 501(c)3 dog rescue groups in the United States. Founders, Carol and Darlene Bryant, along with their Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, are crusading to save dogs’ lives… with your help. We are two women on a mission, doing this from the heart because, as our trademark saying goes, “My Heart Beats Dog®!!!”
If you’ve ever seen a Cocker Spaniel wiggle his or her tush, hence the name. Warriors because we are crusading to save dogs’ lives.
In 2013, Wigglebutt Warriors® hosted a “Wigglebutt Wedding.”
In 2014, we took a whole new direction under new leadership and hosted “Wigglebutts Go Hollywoof.”
What are the details of your upcoming fundraiser?
Tickets are on sale NOW, AND we will cap the number of tickets as “sold out” when we hit 200. We anticipate a sell out, so first come, first served!
Where: Grand Monarque Hall on the grounds of Brotherhood Winery: America’s oldest winery located in Washingtonville, New York. (just one hour from New York City and a mere 17 miles from Soon’s Orchards in New Hampton, NY).
When: Saturday, April 16, 2016: Rain or Shine – the event is indoors!!!!
Time: 6 pm to 10:30 pm
Cost per Ticket: $125
Attire: Dressy: From slacks to dresses to evening gowns.
Are Pets Welcome? Yes, well-behaved dogs are welcome. Must remain on leash with pet parent(s) at all times. No Flexi-leashes. No additional fee. Pre-determined number of pet tickets available, so first come first served.
Ticket Includes: Admission to the gala, posing on red carpet, hors-d’oeuvres, full dinner buffet, wine bar, beer, soda, water, coffee, tea, dessert, and more. Access to outdoor patio. Dancing, prizes, goodie bags, silent auction, PLUS: The Second Annual Wiggy Awards And Admittance to Renewal of Vows ceremony. Access to the on-site winery to shop and take wines home!
DJ services courtesy Mikie G, Touch of Class DJ – check him out for all your DJ needs!
If you are planning to attend Wigglebutts Uncorked PLEASE make your reservations NOW! There are not many hotels in the area that accept pets and most of the hotels have no vacancies due to events going on in the area. We have a group rate and rooms go fast. We are only one hour from New York City for convenience. Many folks come from all over the country.
How was NYC Second Chance Rescue chosen to benefit from Wigglebutts Uncorked?
An open call went out in mid March seeking one U.S. based 501(c)3 dog-related rescue group as the benefactor of our 2016 red carpet event, Wigglebutts Uncorked. The applications came wagging into our email inbox.
We closely read through the applications and stories of dogs in need of forever homes. In a perfect world, Wigglebutt Warriors would fundraise for all dogs in need. All dogs deserve a loving forever home.
It was no easy task, but ultimately one group was selected and we are happy to report that the group who will benefit from Wigglebutts Uncorked is: NYC Second Chance Rescue. They stood out to us on so many levels, and Wigglebutt Warriors is excited to work with them.
We wanted a group we could work with who would help us sell tickets and assist with being there the day of the event. NYC Second Chance Rescue also has some of the hardest cases and they take in more dogs than any other rescue I have worked with. Second Chance Rescue facilitates the adoption/re-homing of abandoned, surrendered and “death row” animals around New York City. Many of their animals have bee abused or neglected and have serious medical issues requiring emergency care. They are rehabilitated and cared for until they go to permanent, loving homes. Jennifer Brooks is the founder of this 100% not-for-profit organization and we are so excited to work with this dynamo who loves dogs!
Something extra special is happening at your event next year. Care to share?
Bridal party includes:
Ellen Morrissey (and Zola), Darlene’s Maid of Honor
Christine Aiello (and Coco), Carol’s Maid of Honor
Devri King, Darlene’s bridesmaid
Samantha Ratcliffe, Carol’s bridesmaid
Why do you host gala events instead of more traditional fundraisers?
As a pet writer of many years, and being involved heavily in the pet industry in PR and Marketing, I’ve learned that many pet parents like to attend events with their pets, myself included. Even further, they love to dress up and have their pet get glammed up for a fun evening together, especially to benefit a wonderful cause and help less fortunate animals. Media and press also likes these sort of events for coverage. So we are anything but ordinary, but it is a labor of love and a passion for dogs in need.
Hosting these events is obviously a lot of work. What has to happen to make them a success?
I liken hosting an event to planning for a full scale wedding. This includes finding a venue that will allow pets, entering into negotiations, securing sponsors, licenses, invitations, marketing, working with a rescue, getting sponsors, timing, meals, entertainment, swag, and so much more. Also we work with hotels that allow pets and are classy plus offer a group rate. Oh, and next day get together planning. And this is simply me and my wife, Darlene, doing this together. I work full time, so I do this on weekends and at night with Darlene’s amazing assistance as co-founder of Wigglebutt Warriors® , which we own the trademark on.
What other rescue efforts are you involved in?
I volunteer my services pro bono to Oldies But Goodies Cocker Rescue to do PR for them, fundraise year round, host online giveaways, I am writing a book and some proceeds will go to pet rescue. The book is dog related but stay tuned for the big reveal as time goes on. We also do an expo or two a year to educate folks about how they can help dogs in need.
You’ve no doubt witnessed a lot of positives and negatives in the rescue world over the course of your career. What one piece of advice would you give rescuers and why?
Stop the infighting. I have seen really good rescues go bad because of drama within the group. I have actually walked away from a rescue group for the nonsense drama. Rescue should be about saving lives and not drama baloney.
What one bit of advice would you offer to animal lovers who want to help animals in need?
You don’t have to leave home to help a pet in need. Consider cyber fostering a dog – ask your favorite rescue group how to help with even $5 or $10 a month. You can feed a dog with the savings on a cup or two of coffee.