Colorful, Cuddly Toys Modeled After Shelter Dogs Support Adoption

A new Rye toy company CharlieDog has started the world's first plush toys based on real-life animal shelter pets.

Thank you to CharlieDog for sending this information:

This fall, animal shelters like Pets Alive Westchester will be receiving donations from an unusual source: a Rye, New York start-up toy company.  CharlieDog and Friends, LLC has created the world's first plush toy dogs and cats (and rabbits and ponies) based on real-life animal shelter adoption success stories.  For every toy sold, five dollars is donated directly back to the shelter from which the real-life pet came.

Hoping to put a plush CharlieDog toy on every child's pillow, CharlieDogs -- "The little toy company with giving at its heart" -- raises both money and awareness for America's homeless pets. 

The rotating line-up of unique pups and cats share the "CharlieDog look": old-fashioned, 17" and weighty, they use a variety of fabrics and textures seldom seen in plush toy manufacture.  CharlieDogs' large hangtags tell the story of the real-life rescue pet on which the toy is based, promoting the idea that shelter animals make wonderful, grateful, productive family pets.   Each pet has a unique serial number and a collar embroidered with the word, "Adopt".
The brainchild of New York Times sports photographer Suzy Allman, CharlieDogs came about as a way to fund Allman's habitual and financially draining contributions to the Elmsford, New York animal refuge.

Allman also volunteers with several New York City-based animal rescue organizations, driving dogs saved from the nightly euthanasia list to their new, adoptive homes.  It was during one of these middle-of-the-night runs, with a sleeping pit bull on her lap, that she came up with the idea to model toys after real-life pets, and sell those toys to help cash-strapped shelters.

"These dogs don't have homes, they don't have people who love them, but what they do have -- in spades -- is cuteness, the "cuddle factor", and the ability to love you unconditionally," said Allman.  "They're a natural model for a child's toy, and if they can inspire kids to ask their parents for a rescued pet instead of a pet store pet, CharlieDogs can actually save lives."

Allman partnered with New Jersey toy designer Kathy Voerg, a fellow animal-lover, to create the first release of inspiring pets, including "Murphy", a pit bull terrier whose real-life counterpart works as a therapy dog in a Virginia hospital, and "Charlie", a shepherd-collie mix from Pets Alive Westchester, who extolls the benefits of frequent hiking as a way to stay fit.

CharlieDogs has tapped into a niche market within a vast network of passionate animal rescuers who know that plush toy versions of pit bulls and mutts are difficult to find, despite the ubiquity of the American mutt.

The CharlieDog Facebook page is averaging 100 new "likes" a day, mostly from the rescue community which uses Facebook extensively to network adoptable dogs and cats.

The toys, which retail for $35.00, are sold online at www.charliedogandfriends.com, and in select retail outlets.  They are also available at animal shelters -- including Pets Alive Westchester -- and adoption events throughout Westchester County and New York.

Contact: Suzy Allman, presidentinfo@charliedogandfriends.com (914) 980 9683

About CharlieDog and FriendsCharlieDog and Friends is a start-up toy company based in Rye, NY.  The CharlieDogs mission is simple: Reduce the number of homeless pets in America by increasing adoptions.  The company provides soft toys to rescue organizations and animal shelters so they may sell them to raise money; it donates five dollars for every toy sold through its retail outlets and online store; it raises awareness for the adoptability of shelter animals. To find out more about CharlieDog and Friends, visit www.charliedogandfriends.com, or email info@charliedogandfriends.com


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