What happens when you combine two dog-loving New Yorkers, a 15-pound Baguette, an 8,300-mile sightseeing journey and a crowd-funding campaign to support animal rescue shelters? What happens is Pet Rescue Road Trip.
Pet Rescue Road Trip is the brainchild of Lamar Johnson, a NYC-based marketing consultant and documentary filmmaker who, along with his partner Susanne Rehse, wanted to raise awareness of the benefits of pet adoption and to raise funds to support No-Kill animal shelters. Johnson and Rehse own a shelter-rescued 8-year-old Rat Terrier/Chihuahua mix named “Baguette” and had been tossing around the idea of a 2-week sightseeing road trip vacation for over 2 years when they decided to extend the duration and incorporate a charitable “passion project” into the trip.
Rehse, a German-born ex-pat says, “We kept seeing those heart-wrenching TV commercials with the sad Sarah McLachlan song and I said to Lamar one day, ‘I wonder if we could come up with something to help promote animal adoptions that would feel more fun and upbeat and not like such a ‘downer.'”
The couple went to work planning and mapping out their bucket-list-style tour of National Parks, historic sites, pet-friendly activities and points-of-interest (using trip-planning websites — Roadtrippers.com and BringFido.com). Next, they launched a crowd-funding campaign on GoFundMe.com with the starting goal of raising $15,000 (to support 6 shelters with donations of $2,000 each and $3,000 to cover GoFundMe processing fees and to offset a portion of gas and lodging expenses). They spread the word via social media, word-of-mouth, flyers and magnetic and vinyl decals affixed to Johnson’s SUV. Within the first 4 weeks, the campaign had raised just over $3,000 and donations continue to trickle in. On April 2, Johnson and Rehse presented the first donation check to Animal Haven NYC — the shelter they fostered then adopted Baguette from in the months following SuperStorm Sandy.
Johnson says, “It’s like our own little telethon. To keep folks entertained, we’ve outfitted Baguette with a GoPro ‘Fetch’ harness-cam and installed dash cams in the SUV so fans and followers can get a streaming ‘dog’s-eye’ view of the journey on social media – @K9Baguette. We can’t wait to hit the road!”
The Pet Rescue Road Trip departs from NYC on April 11 “National Pet Day” and lasts four weeks, stopping and taking pics at National Parks, monuments and points-of-interest like Mt. Rushmore, the Hollywood sign, and the Gateway Arch — just to name a few. The trip will also visit and make donations to additional No-Kill animal shelters along the way and will wrap up in our nation’s capital at the end of National Pet Week (May 10).
For more information, please visit gofund.me/PetRescueRoadTrip and PetRescueRoadTrip.com.