In partnership with The BMW Store, where "Passion Loves Company," we asked readers to tell us about their passion projects. We're selecting one person a month to receive an exclusive experience to give their passion some company. Click here to nominate yourself or a friend.
Carey Rennekamp has always been a dog lover. She vividly remembers crying when she got her first dog as a child. But a decade ago, an affinity for rescue pups began to grow. She started working with rescues to take pups from "down and out" and to the life they deserve through fostering. That's what inspired her to launch Ruff To Royalty earlier this year. It's a story-telling platform that aims to educate, inspire, and entertain dog lovers in the community. "My dog, Bella, and I have been volunteering for local rescues the last 8 years," she says. "We have fostered 33 dogs so far and transported dozens more to freedom. From puppies to hospice cases, there isn't much we haven't experienced in the world of rescue."
Rennekamp’s parter-in-crime, Bella, is a 14-year-old Shih Tzu-Poodle mix, and has been with her every step of the way. Together they’ve found magic in taking a dog who hasn’t had the best life and giving them one they deserve. Through Ruff To Royalty, Rennekamp is sharing the process of fostering with others, something that is rarely seen.
“Rescues have limited resources and their focus has to be fundraising and finding homes for their dogs,” she explains. “But my passion is the process of fostering and helping a dog literally go from Ruff. to Royalty.”
There are three main focuses at Ruff To Royalty: education, inspiration, and entertainment.
“It all starts with education,” Rennekamp says. “I 100% believe that when you know better, you do better. Prior to my work with rescues, I had no idea how many perfectly healthy dogs were being euthanized every day in shelters across the country. I had no idea the countless puppy mills that were being hidden in plain sight selling dogs online or under the guise of a ‘breeder’ as mom and dad pups were living in horrendous conditions. I had no idea the amount of gorgeous and/or pure-bred dogs in shelters or rescues just waiting to be given a second chance because a human let them down.”
Because of this, Rennekamp says that she does everything she can to raise awareness on these topics because few actually know the gut-wrenching statistics.
“Whether it’s from my own experience or the experience of other content creators, I love sharing my favorite tips and tricks to dog ownership, helping others take their own dog from ruff (undisciplined or in need of training) to royalty,” she adds.
The second area of focus for Ruff To Royalty is inspiration.
“I’m just one person, but I share everything involved in my day-to-day life as a foster” she says. “Whether it’s cleaning puppy pens or getting puppy kisses, giving a scared dog a medicated bath, nurturing a dog after surgery, showing a puppy mill dog how to walk on grass for the first time or capturing secret footage of a puppy mill rescue, I believe by sharing my experiences, it opens up a world people have never seen before and inspires them to get involved.”
Rennekamp says that by sharing the behind-the-scenes of fostering, she’s inspired others to choose to “adopt and not shop” and also donate to local rescues because of what they’ve learned from Ruff To Royalty.
“This is the best possible result to the work I do,” she says.
And finally, Ruff To Royalty is also about entertainment.
“We have lots of fun. I love creating videos showing off the personalities of each of my fosters or going live on Facebook to engage with my awesome followers and share updates on the progress of each foster," Rennekamp says. "My followers mean everything to me because they are the ones who can really help spread the word about our mission. And because I enjoy forming relationships with my adopters, they often follow the page and allow me to share ‘pupdates’ on dogs that are now happily living their best live in their furever homes.”
Although Ruff To Royalty is just getting started, Rennekamp is looking forward to the future. She says she hopes the platform inspires others to rescue, adopt, foster, volunteer, donate, and share.
“I always say, if you can’t adopt, foster; if you can’t foster, volunteer; if you can’t volunteer; donate; if you can’t donate; share. There’s always something you can do to support your local animal rescues,” she says.
Thanks to The BMW Store, where “Passion Loves Company,” we gave Rennekamp’s passion some company by treating her, a friend, and their furry friends to a VIPet weekend staycation at 21c Cincinnati. They enjoyed the opportunity to be a tourist in their own town, staying in a pet-friendly boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, plus locally-made pet treats, yellow penguin-inspired dog bed, and more.
“21C is definitely ahead of the game. They remind us that pets are family too and deserve to be included in our life experiences. I wish more companies would get on board with this idea. Thank you 21C for helping me share the Ruff to Royalty mission and my stories of being the “bridge” for so many foster pups in hopes more people will join our efforts. I can’t thank you enough for a beautiful stay and the ‘royal’ treatment you provided my furry friends.”
If you would like to support Ruff To Royalty and the content she creates, you can donate on Venmo at @rufftoroyalty. If you’re considering working with a rescue, Rennekamp is currently fostering two pups through Lucky Tales Rescue. Follow Ruff to Royalty on Facebook. Want to be our next Passion Loves Company experience recipient? Click here.