Mutual Rescue™

Welcome to the online press kit for Mutual Rescue™

Inspire Nationally, Rescue Locally

Mutual Rescue™ celebrates how people and pets save each other, telling powerful stories and inspiring people to support and engage with local shelters.=

Although great strides have been made in saving homeless animals’ lives, more than 6.5 million cats and dogs still enter animal shelters each year — and almost 700,000 are euthanized. Of the roughly $500 billion Americans gave to charities in 2022, only 3.2 percent went to animal-related and environmental causes combined. Mutual Rescue™ is a national initiative of Humane Society Silicon Valley dedicated to expanding the conversation around animal welfare from “people or animals” to “people and animals.”

The group has created a series of films, bringing to life what it means to rescue an animal and be rescued right back. The films have been viewed over 153 million times, and Mutual Rescue has expanded to include a book along with a nationwide community of shelters with innovative programs that bring animals and people together.

Watch “Mutual Rescue: Our Story,” Mutual Rescue’s origin story.

Mutual Rescue Films

In a world marked by human and animal suffering, millions of “unwanted” companion animals housed in shelters offer a key to healing and enriching lives. Mutual Rescue films highlight the connection between people and pets. Share Mutual Rescue's call for stories!

"Tanner & Rei"
At the age of thirty-nine, Tanner Hopson experienced a sudden, life-threatening medical emergency. While struggling to recover, he felt compelled to rescue a Shiba Inu puppy named Rei from the chaos of her unstable living situation. Traveling through the Mountain West together, Rei becomes Tanner’s guiding light, inspiring him to persevere as they embark on a remarkable journey.

"The Love is Mutual"
A new film that highlights the power of Mutual Rescue as we continue to grow and engage our national audience.

"Keema & Her Pack"
The effects of child abuse, poverty, racism, and homophobia made it difficult for a young woman to open her heart — until a chance encounter with a dog changed the trajectory of her life.

Bhuvana & Abhishek & Lollipop
Bhuvana and Abhishek’s marriage hit unexpected turbulence that caused them to drift apart until a homeless kitten named Lollipop touched their hearts and guided them to a safe harbor.

Jade & Trubs
An unadoptable cat with a chronic illness and an autistic girl form an instant and unexpected bond.

Eric & Peety
He weighed 340 pounds and was diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and Type 2 Diabetes. His doctor told him he had five years to live. Then he met a shelter dog who changed everything.

Josh & Scout
We follow a young soldier from a battlefield in Iraq – where he sustained traumatic injuries – to Fort Riley, Kansas. There, an unlikely savior appears to save him from taking his own life and lead him into a life he never imagined possible.

Kylie & Liza
In her final days, a young girl with cancer was comforted by a rescue kitten. The kitten then intuitively comforted the grieving family after Kylie’s passing.

Tracy & Jack
When a woman and a dog separately suffered extreme injuries, they managed to heal each other. The dog’s positive attitude and spirit helped her along her own road to recovery.

Jessi & Andi
A boyfriend’s unexpected suicide casts a young woman into a downward spiral of anxiety and depression. A puppy at a local shelter helped her find a path to a brighter future.

Mike & Abbie
When everything in his world collapsed around him, a young man found a shy kelpie pup traumatized from having been abandoned on a busy highway. Together, they embarked on a remarkable journey of recovery that resulted in travel, accolades, and joy.

“Still Yours” andSilent Paws”
For everyone who has loved and lost an animal companion, Mutual Rescue created two tribute films that feature the work of more than 40 respected artists, including Carol Guzy, a four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, and Grammy-winning composer Christopher Tin.

Patrick & Grace
After taking in an abused pit bull, a young competitive athlete suffers a debilitating stroke. This is the story of a strong dog and a strong man building each other back up.

Sarah & Domino
A young woman’s chronic pain led her to become addicted to drugs. Rescuing a neglected dog became a catalyst for change in her own life.

Kim & Brian & Lana
A young couple is devastated by the death of their newborn baby. Adopting a German shepherd mix gave them an outlet for their grief and helped the couple bond again.

Mutual Rescue Moments

Mutual Rescue has created a series of films called Mutual Rescue Moments highlighting local and regional organizations that are on the frontlines of saving animals and people. Collaborations with these frontline organizations help to raise money for the animals and people in their communities and to bring greater awareness to their work.

"Learning To Trust Again"
Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Army veteran Samantha Brinegar found herself on the verge of taking her own life one night when a horse intervened to stop her. Sam now works at Wiley’s Wish Animal Rescue, a safe haven for dogs, cats, horses, and other abandoned animals.

"Traveling This Road Together"
Meridel Gatterman and her rescue dog, Sadie, are both cancer survivors. At their remote home in the Colorado Rockies, each helped the other through cancer recovery and isolation during the pandemic. Teller County Regional Animal Shelter (TCRAS) coordinated Sadie’s life-saving medical treatment and brought Meridel and Sadie together.

"Love is Love"
Longtime HSSV volunteer Susannah Greenwood related what her three black male tripod cats, adopted from Silicon Valley Pet Project and Oakland’s Cat Town, taught her about love, the cycle of life, and recovering from shattering experiences.

"A Glimmer Of Hope"
When her young son, Ethan, died of an accidental overdose, Sarah Hall found a way to channel her profound grief into positive action to help others. Through local nonprofit Dogs Matter and their partner organization Dallas Pets Alive, Sarah fosters dogs at her ranch while their people are in rehab, and she educates others about the often-unseen signs of substance abuse.

"So It Began"
It began the moment a stray kitten emerged from the woods and stopped Calvin Tucker in his tracks. After rescuing the kitten he named Henry, Calvin embarked on a mission to save homeless and abused animals of all kinds.

The Mutual Rescue Book

Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too

Inspired by her own personal experience and years in the animal welfare industry, Mutual Rescue founder and author Carol Novello shares real-life stories of how companion animals can help relieve a range of troubles — and the scientific research that proves it. In a recent survey, 60 percent of doctors said they prescribe pet adoption and a staggering 97 percent believe pet ownership provides health benefits.

The book is divided into four sections: heart, body, mind, and connection.

Heart shares stories of people whose rescue animals have helped them face inconceivable trauma and grief and provided the strength they needed to find their way forward. One story is about how trained therapy dogs helped the survivors of the 2018 mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Supporting studies show that pets help people stay calmer in the face of stress, build people’s confidence about their ability to attain life goals, and serve as a safe haven that can provide comfort in times of need.

Body shares stories of people who’ve learned that adopting a cat or dog can not only help them become healthier but also help them cope with and recover from physical illnesses and injuries and show them how to thrive despite their disabilities. One story is about how a commitment to the well-being of a six-year-old rescued golden retriever helped a young man lose 30 pounds, give up partying, and lead a healthier life. The healthy influence of pets is supported by many studies, such as those on heart health, that show a correlation between pets and improved cardiovascular health, including lower blood pressure and reduced stress.

Mind shows how rescue animals can actually save people coping with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), offering them hope, helping them create healthier patterns of thought, and leading them toward lives filled with meaning and compassion. One story is about a strapping 38-year-old heroic fireman who was lost and depressed following a series of strokes. He rescues a dog from Afghanistan who helps him live life fully again. Supporting research shows that interacting with a pet increases the brain's level of serotonin, a hormone that helps fight depression.

Connection reveals how pets can strengthen relationships with the people we love, how we can bond deeply with many types of animals – not just cats and dogs; and how, when rescue pets make people healthier and happier, something remarkable can happen. One story is about a young couple, devastated by the death of their newborn baby, who adopts a German shepherd mix that gives them an outlet for their grief and helps them bond again. Supporting studies in this area show that our ability to relate to others, including significant others, is improved with pets.

Mutual Rescue Programs

Film Festivals: Groups such as Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden, CO, hold events to celebrate the release of Mutual Rescue films to inspire and engage their communities. “Good animal welfare is good for pets, it’s good for people, and it’s good for the community,” said Richard Eveleigh, the organization’s former executive director. “The unique and very important message that Mutual Rescue gives is all about the human-animal bond.”

Doggy Day Out: Mutual Rescue Doggy Day Out encourages people to take dogs from local shelters on outings for recreation and exercise. These outings help shelter dogs manage kennel stress, burn off energy, and get more exposure in their communities. The program has proven wildly popular with volunteers and has grown rapidly with dozens of programs in states all across America.

Download a one pager on Mutual Rescue.

MEDIA ALERT 1/24/24 Humane Society Silicon Valley Presents Mutual Rescue Film Festival Jan. 28
PRESS RELEASE 7/6/20 CUDDLY Inc. Appoints Carol Novello of Mutual Rescue to its Board of Directors
PRESS RELEASE 3/20/20 Paperback Just In Time for Those Looking for a Great Quarantine Read
PRESS RELEASE 4/9/19 Book About How Adopting Animals Transforms Human Lives

To learn more, visit and subscribe to the Mutual Rescue YouTube channel.
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