Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary is in ‘Rescue Story’ documentary

The pandemic forced the Green Bay premiere of “Rescue Story: Saving Companion Animals” last year to drive to a church parking lot by makeshift car, but that didn’t stop Milo from stepping on the carpet. red.

With a stretched limo as a backdrop, the dog with a face the cameras love – a brown eye and a blue one – posed for photos at the invitational show in October. He had come a long way, literally and figuratively, from being abandoned as a puppy in Texas to finding a home in Green Bay. Somewhere in between, he became a movie star.

This is one of the many stories told in the feature documentary about the challenges and triumphs of pet welfare seen in municipal shelters, pet stores, nonprofits, sanctuaries for animals and prisons. Among the featured rescue groups are Happy Ever After Animal Sanctuary, a no kill refuge with the main sanctuary in Marion and its Green Bay adoption center in Ashwaubenon.

“Rescue Story” will have its first local public screening on July 22 at the Ashwaubenon Performing Arts Center.

The project of Conscious Content Collective and based on Appleton Shaman Animated Images was filmed at both HEA sites as well as other organizations across the country. HEA founder and president Amanda Reitz and her brother Marcus Reitz, the association’s director of branding and marketing, also traveled to Corpus Christi, Texas in 2019 for a shoot that included Peewee’s Pet Adoption World & Sanctuary, Nueces County Animal Control and Corpus Christi Animal Care Services.

HEA has a partnership with Peewee’s, often bringing animals to Green Bay for adoption to reduce overcrowding in Texas shelters. This is where HEA and the film crews first met Milo, or Holler as he was named when he arrived at Peewee as the surrender owner. Little was known about his story, but he was most likely returned because of an unspayed “possessed” pet that went on to have puppies, Marcus Reitz said.

Holler was transported to Wisconsin and adopted by HEA, where he now lives as Milo with a family in the Green Bay area. He will make a special appearance at the screening of Ashwaubenon.

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Milo feels at home on the red carpet at the Green Bay premiere "Rescue story: saving pets" in October.

One of the themes of “Rescue Story” is to show the interdependence of animal welfare when it comes to reducing the number of shelter animals that are euthanized each year, to around 1.5 million, according to the. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Dogs Receiving a Second Chance enrich the lives of veterans and first responders with PTSD as assistance dogs trained with 4 Paws 2 Freedom, or help children improve their reading confidence in libraries through a program called HALO Angel Ears.

The 65-minute film highlights the tireless efforts that are made daily to achieve these happy endings, but also reminds audiences that overpopulation of pets is not without its sadness.

“As pet parents and pet adopters and animal loving people in our community, what we usually experience are the results and all the happy and easy parts and the things that seem to come together. produce so transparently, but behind the scenes there is so much work that is going to make it happen, ”said Marcus Reitz. “The filmmakers have done an incredible job of making the issue understood, but in a way that really demonstrates the progress of this movement and the hope that really lies in the future.

Since its release last year, “Rescue Story” has received a host of accolades at virtual film festivals in the United States and overseas in India, Spain, the Netherlands and elsewhere. He has won seven wins and nine official caps, said Kimberly Resch, co-founder of Conscious Content with Brian Ross.

The hope is that the film brings people to see the big picture of animal overpopulation and inspires them to help out in their own communities.

“It’s a much bigger picture than the animals we’re talking about,” Amanda Reitz says in the film. “The way we treat animals in our community is how we end up treating each other. If we don’t care about these animals, we also don’t care about each other and the people around us on a daily basis. It’s time for all of us to take a look at how we invest in these animals in our community, because it will show us how we are going to invest in each other. ”

A film crew films Amanda Reitz, founder of Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary, in 2019 in Corpus Christi, Texas, for the documentary "Rescue story: Saving pets." The film will be screened on July 22 at the Ashwaubenon Performing Arts Center.

HEA will use the 7 p.m. screening on July 22 to kick off its third annual Hour of Love fundraiser, in which individuals, families, businesses or other groups sign up to spend an hour cuddling cats and dogs at HEA and share their experiences via photos, social media posts, texts and phone calls to animal lovers they know to encourage donation.

Donations made during Hour of Love, starting with the screening of “Rescue Story” and ending at midnight on July 24, will be matched between $ 2 and $ 1. HEA hopes to raise $ 100,000 in matching funds (it is currently $ 70,000) by the time the event begins to reach its goal of raising $ 150,000 in honor of its 15th year, said Marcus Reitz.

The screening of “Rescue Story” is free, but registration is required at houroflove.org. People can register on site if places are still available on the evening of the screening.

Contact Kendra Meinert at 920-431-8347 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @KendraMeinert.

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