The Goal: Raise Funds to Cover the Veterinary Bills for the Lil BUB Pet of the Month At the Same Time, Fund Many More Pets Experiencing Medical Crises
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/New York/October, 2019
The WaggleFoundation.org and Lil BUB announced a partnership today to help raise both awareness and crowdfunding dollars for pets in need of medical treatment, by presenting a Pet of the Month campaign to be championed by both organizations. The Waggle Foundation is the philanthropic arm of waggle.org, a pioneering fundraising source, dedicated to helping sick and injured pets regain good health through crowdfunding. Lil BUB is one of the most influential and philanthropic pets on the planet, with three million followers on Facebook; over two million devotees on Instagram; 850,000 devoted Twitter fans; and 300,000 YouTube admirers. (lilbub.com; YouTube: LilBubBub; Twitter: @iamlilbub; Instagram: @iamlilbub)
With the back-office infrastructure provided by waggle.org and its ability to harness donors to give charitably to pets in crisis, combined with the muscle and popularity that Lil BUB brings to the table, both organizations feel confident that this joint effort will hit a homer out of the park: The ultimate goal is to aid animals and their guardians experiencing a double-barreled—medical and financial—emergency, and in so doing, help to one day eliminate economic euthanasia.
The announcement was made by Lil BUB’s “dude”, Mike Bridavsky, her devoted pet parent, who truly saved BUB’s life. “Joining forces with Waggle aligns perfectly with BUB’s mission to help as many pets as possible,” noted Mike. “Waggle addresses a sorely needed service which provides a fully transparent and legitimate crowdfunding platform to assist anxious pet guardians cover the cost of their veterinary bills,” he added.
Waggle addresses a sorely needed service which provides a fully transparent and legitimate crowdfunding platform to assist anxious pet guardians cover the cost of their veterinary bills.
—Mike Bridavsky, Lil BUB's "dude"
With her weight measured in ounces, Lil BUB was found shortly after birth in a woodshed in Indiana, and was rescued by a friend of Mike’s. It became clear that this kitten had serious health issues and Mike, already a parent to a few feral feline rescues, was called to rescue of the 8-week-old kitten. A visit to the vet underscored that Lil BUB, was indeed, a “special” feline. Mike says that his vet proclaimed that she was “the weirdest cat” he’d ever seen: She is polydactyl, meaning she has extra toes—one additional toe (and claw!) on each paw, although that is the least unusual thing about her. In Mike’s words: “She has short, stubby legs and a long, ferret-like body. Her lower jaw is significantly shorter than her upper jaw, and her teeth never grew in which is why her tongue is always hanging around.”
Additionally, at about a year old, Lil BUB was diagnosed with an exceptionally rare bone condition called osteopetrosis, which causes her bones to become more dense as she ages, ultimately making it difficult for her to move. Because of her wild popularity, Mike was able to find the right specialists and treatments for her, and she has overcome this debilitating illness with the use of a device called the Assisi Loop, which uses pulsed electromagnetic field therapy. Mike says that today this little furry ball of energy can run and jump and play. Lil BUB is so unusual, scientists were eager to plot her genome and that was done some years ago in Berlin. The result? She is a once-in-a-lifetime cat! And a superstar to all who know and follow her.
Because Mike knows the searing heartache that occurs when a pet parent feels helpless caring for a sick or injured pet, he is especially pleased to combine forces with the Waggle Foundation, which seeks to alleviate that pain. “Ever since BUB gained notoriety which brought her a lot of reach, people have approached us to try to get the word out about their pets, and I see this partnership as a perfect way to do that,” he stated. (Lil BUB, who can purr like a motorboat, according to Mike, was heard in the background voicing approval.) Additionally Mike noted that he worked with the ASPCA in 2014 to establish Lil BUB’s Big FUND for the ASPCA, helping raise funds for special-needs pets, while also simultaneously spreading awareness about the critical need for spaying and neutering. Since then, Lil BUB’s Big FUND has administered over $420,000 in grants to shelters nationwide.
The Waggle Foundation’s crowdfunding arm, the website waggle.org, officially launched in the fall of 2018, and has thus far helped hundreds of pet guardians by either fully funding their pets’ treatments, or at the least, offsetting their veterinary bills significantly. Bringing a pet back to good health is part of the Waggle mission, which is targeted to reduce and end economic euthanasia, a heartwrenching situation for many pet guardians who find themselves facing this stark reality because of a lack of funds. Arguably, the first of its kind on the internet, Waggle sadly acknowledges that economic euthanasia is a far-too-common, tragic consequence for too many companion animals. Waggle provides a hopeful solution for an optimistic outcome for all.
Bringing a pet back to good health is part of the Waggle mission, which is targeted to reduce and end economic euthanasia, a heartwrenching situation for many pet guardians who find themselves facing this stark reality because of a lack of funds.
By combining its crowdfunding mission with the power that Lil BUB brings to the mix, Waggle will also be able to fund many more animals, as a greater number of dedicated pet lovers log on to donate. With additional funds in the Waggle Foundation’s coffers, the organization will be able to provide matching dollars for countless additional animals. At any given time, there are close to two hundred in-need animals featured on waggle.org, with that number growing rapidly every month. And, of course, behind those soulful canine and feline eyes are anxious and loving humans, desperate for help.
“Waggle is delighted to welcome Lil BUB into our family,” noted Steve Morelli, the CEO and founder of Waggle. “Being able to provide funds for the treatment of a pet in crisis is what Waggle is all about, as we fight consistently to end the anguish of economic euthanasia. With this partnership, given the passion and dedication of the millions of social media Lil BUB followers, waggle.org will benefit from a dramatic increase in site traffic, donations, and new campaigns. After funding the Pet of the Month, additional monies donated will be funneled into the Lil BUB Fund to offer matching donations for other animals’ campaigns,” he added. Clearly, this is a win-win for all—for the four-legged and the two-legged. As a corollary, Waggle’s original benefactors and sponsors will also benefit from the high-volume traffic on the website.
Those other animals’ campaigns will bear the Lil BUB logo and, as Mornelli explained, “We know from experience, that when donors see that their dollar will be matched, they are incentivized to contribute a little more. (For the record, Mornelli’s furry supervisor, Gracie, a Yorkshire terrier/cocker spaniel mix, voiced approval, with a resounding “Woof.”) In fact, this joint effort underscores the benefits that Waggle’s analytics have borne out: When a campaign features a matching-fund opportunity, a donor’s wallet “expands” a little, as contributors see their one dollar become two.
Waggle currently partners with GreaterGood.org, Eli’s Fund, I Love My Dog So Much, and Nala Cat; additionally, Waggle has also received research support from Maddie’s Fund to explore innovative and sustainable models to solve economic euthanasia through early intervention. Added Mornelli, “We are thrilled that now we can also call the superstar Lil BUB another partner in our objective to ease the financial and emotional burdens of pet guardians facing daunting challenges—as we strive to ultimately obliterate economic euthanasia.”
We are thrilled that now we can also call the superstar Lil BUB another partner in our objective to ease the financial and emotional burdens of pet guardians facing daunting challenges— as we strive to ultimately obliterate economic euthanasia.
– Steve Mornelli, Founder and CEO of waggle.org and the Waggle Foundation
The partnership between the Waggle Foundation and Lil BUB will enable both organizations to further help pets and their guardians. The Pet of the Month campaign will be selected from grant applications submitted to waggle.org; Waggle will create and post that campaign on a dedicated fundraising page, with Lil BUB branding; with its overwhelming following, Lil BUB will drive traffic to that pet’s page, raising awareness of Waggle’s mission to end economic euthanasia, as well. Waggle will manage the transactional aspects of the campaign, including the fundraising process, closure of the campaign, and the back-end distribution of the funds. Waggle’s fundraising arm was structured to be totally transparent and trustworthy, and all funds raised on the waggle.org site for a particular pet go directly to the veterinary practice, not to the pet guardian.