Many of us are familiar with the cute and quirky “MUTTS” comic strip from our local newspapers. Earl and Mooch are lovable canines with personalities that many of us can see in our own furry best friends. What you may not have known is that award-winning creator Patrick McDonnell is a huge advocate of shelter adoption and even uses his comic strip to encourage people to adopt from shelters.
It started twenty years ago, McDonnell told iHeartDogs:
In MUTTS I try to view the world ‘through the eyes of animals’. My comic strip characters, Earl and Mooch, both have loving guardians in loving homes. It made me think about all the dogs and cats waiting in shelters for that same experience. Around the same time The Humane Society of the United States asked if I could do something for National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. So that began my twice yearly weeklong series, Shelter Stories.
McDonnell adopts all of his own pets as well. They currently have a Jack Russell Terrier name Amelie, who they adopted from Animal Care Centers of NYC through Post Pets, a rescue group. They recently lost their formerly feral cat, Ootie. McDonnell said it’s difficult not having a cat around the house and they plan on adopting soon.
His work on shelter pets doesn’t stop with this comic strip, however. He is also being featured in Shelter Me: Hearts & Paws a PBS documentary presented by the Petco Foundation that follows his journey through an animal shelter where he gets inspiration for this “Shelter Stories” comic strip. The episode is the sixth in the series and is hosted by Kristen Bell, who has also adopted all her pets.
When asked about working on the documentary, McDonnell said:
My Shelter Me experience at the ACC of NYC was magical. The wonderful animals and dedicated staff proved that love changes everything. Everyone there, from the staff, to the volunteers, to the people coming in to adopt, all had something in common – a strong commitment to saving the lives of these animals.
You can watch a trailer for the show, which airs early May on PBS, here.
The Shelter Me series was created by filmmaker Steven Latham who wants to break down the negative perceptions and stigmas of public animal shelters and help people realize that shelter pets make the best pets. Visit ShelterMe.TV for local listings.
McDonnell is working on several other upcoming projections, including a picture book, Tek, about a cave boy who is addicted to his smartphone, which will be available in the fall. In addition, he has two new MUTTS collections that will also be coming out then. Finally, he is illustrating a book of poems by Daniel Ladinsky. The book is centered on the bond we share with our dogs and cats and will be titled, Darling, I Love You.
You can go to his website for more MUTTS fun including merchandise and to sign up to get the MUTTS Daily strip in your inbox every day.
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