Emily and Suzanna, “The Sidekick Series”
If heartwarming animal rescue stories with a happy ending are your thing, you’re sure to love The Sidekick Series, a mini-documentary project about adopted pets and their owners. Emily, who’s a freelance editor in advertising and television, came up with the fun idea of making a series of 2 minute documentaries about the relationships between people and their adopted pets. The first two episodes of the series feature Emily herself (and her beautiful cat B.K.), and her friend and creative partner-in-crime Suzanna (with her dogs Guybrush and Hans Gruber).
How & why did you get started with The Sidekick Series?
Emily: After two years of working on a short documentary with Veena Rao (There She Is) while simultaneously freelancing as an editor in advertising and television, I was looking for a short, fun project before I tackled something big again. Having not touched a camera since college, I was also looking to reacquaint myself with shooting. As a person who learns by doing, I decided to dive in and purchased a c100.
Naturally, the first thing I filmed was my cat B.K. Then, when Suzanna’s dog Hans Gruber was featured in an a blog, I thought it might be fun to do a small documentary on their story. I approached her to see if she and Hans would be interested and mentioned I was thinking of maybe doing a few of these – 2 minute documentaries on the relationships between people and their pets (specifically those who had been adopted or rescued).
As a huge rescue advocate herself, Suzanna was instantly on board and before I knew it, we were planning a short series, and I was getting lots of practice with my new camera!
Do you have any adopted animals yourself?
Emily: I have an adopted cat named B.K. that came into my life after someone I know purchased a cat from a breeder and then decided having a cat wasn’t for him. B.K. happens to be a fancy British Shorthair and is really great on camera. I hope you’ll watch his episode if only to enjoy how ridiculously he likes to sit.
With that said, because I have a purebred cat, I think a lot of people assume I bought him from a breeder. While I’m an equal-opportunity cat lover who doesn’t discriminate by breed (I love them all), I know some folks are partial to a particular type of cat or dog. It was important for me to show in the series the range of animals up for adoption, so if someone is looking to have a particular breed they’ll realize adoption is still the way to go.
Suzanna: I have two, both of which you can see as part of our series. Guybrush (named after the protagonist in the Monkey Island video game series) is a pit bull who my fiance and I got from the New York AC&C. He’s awesome and he’s the reason I became so passionate about animal rescue and specifically pit bull rescue. I also have Hans Gruber (yes, named after the villain in Die Hard) who is the start of Episode 2! He is a wonderful mix of breeds – we think possibly dachshund and pit bull, probably like 8 more too – and he is the sweetest little boy. He hails from Georgia, where he was shot and left for dead before being rescued and brought north, where we found him. He was a “foster fail.” We had him for three days and knew he was our forever pup.
How would you convince people to adopt rather than buy?
Suzanna: We have a pretty simple message, but one that we both feel is incredibly important. Our mission, and what we hope people will get out of each episode, is that they should adopt their next pet. There is so much value in pets that come from rescues or shelters and they should not be discounted because of their unknown or sad past. That’s our overarching message, but that’s certainly not the only important one around rescuing pets. We worked to embed individual messages within each video. For example, in Maggie’s episode, we hope people will see how amazing pit bulls are and not adhere to the harmful stereotypes that permeate the media. And in Ella’s episode, we hope people see how important it is to adopt senior and/or medically needy pets. They deserve good homes just as much as young, healthy animals.
What makes adopted pets so “special”?
Emily: It’s hard to just call out adopted pets as special, but I think working through something with an animal, or giving one the experience of having a loving home that’s never known that leads to a very strong bond.
Where can people follow the Sidekick Series?
All photos in this post are courtesy of The Sidekick Series.