Last week, we shared thoughts from Larry Kay, a bestselling author, lauded producer and 30-year veteran of media. These days, he’s best known as the creative force behind Positively Woof, a social media endeavor that has racked up more than 2 million fans, and continues to grow daily.
Kay’s initiative creates and shares pet-related content that advocates for shelter animals, while celebrating the bonds that form between them and the humans who love them. As he puts it, “When we discover pets, we discover ourselves.”
To hear more words of wisdom from Kay, we invite you to enjoy Part 2 of our interview.
I was on the Positively Woof Facebook page earlier today, and it was looking like every hour, there was a new video going up. On a practical level, what does your team look like?
You’re right — every hour, a new post goes out, and that’s 24 hours around the clock. And then once or twice a day, there’s another blast of content, where many things happen all at the same time on my Facebook page.
So my key team is four other people; I’ve grown to four other people in addition to myself. We have a coordinator, two story editors and a filmmaker. And I work with each of them to help them do their jobs better, and to learn from them in many cases, how I can learn. And it’s important for me to keep sharp because Facebook is such a new platform and new things are happening all the time, as is true for the rest of social media. So I take the attitude of wanting to learn from my teammates, from my strategic partners, and from my colleagues. And also make the invitation to teach when I can.
What accomplishments, at this stage, are you most proud of having brought about through your work with Positively Woof?
Well, today is my dog Spider’s first birthday with me. I’m saying that he’s 3 years old. I adopted him exactly one year ago today. He’s resting right now on his comfy chair that he now owns. I adopted him from Pet Orphans, where my team and I do a lot of filming. He was one of the dogs brought to us when we were having a film shoot. And I took a shine to him, and shortly thereafter adopted him. So that’s one of the biggest accomplishments.
I’m saying that he’s 3 years old today. He’s a 3-year-old Australian cattle dog, also called a blue healer or Queensland healer.
The second accomplishment I’m most proud of is having raised and contributed more than $25,000 in the last year to pet rescue.
How did that money get generated?
The Facebook page is mildly profitable, and the business model is to have publishing partners with whom I do revenue shares based on how many of my fans click through to their respective content on their websites. I use those funds to invest in my team first, and second, to donate for causes like this. And third, to grow my business by investing in equipment and services.
So for example, right now I’m building a green-screen video studio as well as having an outdoor filming location. And also investing in a setup to do Facebook Live on a regular basis at Pet Orphans.
What do you feel has to happen in order for us to get to a point where we have a puppy mill-free world?
Cutting off the supply of puppies from puppy mills will make it unprofitable for puppy mills to exist. Enforcing, or having vigorous investigation and law enforcement, that will also put pressure on puppy mills. So that needs to be backed up by laws in each of the states, to make it a crime to operate a puppy mill.
I believe that retail pet stores are now getting the message to be very careful about what kinds of animals, live animals, are available for adoption in their retail facility. And I’m most excited by this new trend in having animals from shelters be adoptable in retail pet stores. In some cases, shelters are opening up their own retail pet stores, and in other cases retail pet stores are inviting in shelter organizations to show off live animals, especially dogs and cats.
To what extent do you feel there is a growing awareness among the general public about how puppy mills have existed and filled that pet pipeline, so to speak? Do you feel like people are really starting to understand that?
I do believe there is much more awareness than there used to be. And we are, I believe, very close to reaching a tipping point where the mainstream notion in society is, would be, to first ask, “What is the background of this animal? Where did it come from?” And if it’s a puppy mill, walk away.
Before I let you go: Is there anything in particular about the Lil Olive project that kind of stood out to you?
I get pitched all kinds of projects all the time, and I get pitched many well-intentioned projects. What struck me about Lil Olive is the quality of the team. We met at the BlogPaws Conference, and I was immediately impressed with them. So I’m here to help.
Copyright 2016 Shelter Island Films
A Voice for Lil Olive is a new documentary from award-winning filmmaker Pete Schuermann. The film explores the special bond between pets and their families, and how rescued dogs change lives. The film's mission is to make people aware of and to change attitudes about rescued pets through the telling of Lil Olive’s tale. In this way, she becomes the voice for so many dogs and animals in need.