Charlie Grace enjoys traveling with the South’s most famous rescue dog named Rosie Belle. Based in Tennessee, Charlie and Rosie like meeting new friends, trying new cuisine, checking out dog parks and sharing their stories on social media. In fact, Charlie and Rosie enjoy an audience reach of over 280,000 including close to 230,000 followers on Instagram. Charlie and Rosie truly enjoy paying it forward and helping other rescue animals make the connection to their forever homes. Wherever Charlie and Rosie travel to, the two love sharing their stories and product experiences along the way. You can learn more at RosieBelleDog.com.
Can you tell us how you met Rosie Belle and how she became America’s Sweetheart Rescue Dog?
Well it’s a really great story. I’ve always had an affinity towards animals my whole entire life and I was surprised one day, it was one of those things where my family were going to surprise me with something. And we had rescue dogs in the past and we had one pass away in the fall it was very traumatic and I just couldn’t bring myself to even think about getting another pet at that time. We wait a little while and by the time my family said we were going to do something as a surprise all of the sudden we end up on a Sunday at an animal shelter and to my surprise we came home with this cute, little, red dog.
And from that cute little red dog my sixteen year old son at the time said “mom, you know, not only is this a great thing for everybody but it’s a great thing for you but we really should pay it forward we should do something for other people and for other pets that, you know, we can celebrate and help other people” because we were blessed with a very sweet eleven year old girl who for Christmas had asked to help other families and they gave us a gift card when we adopted her.
And I thought well it was something that was very nice and sweet but wasn’t necessary but you don’t want to not allow someone to give the gift of giving as well. So, that was the other thought of how can we pay it forward and from that it became this huge story and people just started chiming in and understanding and feeling the connection of this dog story and where it led the family and how we can pay it forward.
At what point did you realize that you and Rosie were, in fact, influencers?
That was a weird day. We started getting direct messages on our Instagram, you know, we’d pick a picture or do something everyday and my son would say “hey what about this and oh Rosie’s got this kind of personality” and we started getting interesting message from people of influence in and around Nashville, Tennessee And saying my daughter really likes your dog, I saw you around town, or different humane shelters would call us up and say “hey would you be interested in coming out and just sort of speaking to the people who are thinking about adopting”.
It just sort of snowballed all of the sudden out of nowhere and then boom.
Can you tell us about the mission of Furever Best Friend as well as your involvement with the resource?
Absolutely! So we knew that Rosie was going to have a great impact on a lot of people but my background is in photojournalism and so I thought what a great way as we meet people if we can document all these amazing people that we meet and take picture of them with their pets along the road. So as we travel and right now we go to a lot of events currently we are on the road and we’re committing next year to March to November of 2020 and we’ll go to all of these major festivals and events and we will sit there and for free take people’s picture with their animal, their pet and give it to them. We’ll send it to them of course via email and just allow them to tell their story.
Your mission seems clear – to help people and families consider animal adoption before shopping. Have you been able to integrate this mission into brand collaborations and if so, can you describe some memorable brand collaborations as a pet influencer?
Sure. So, we were fortunate to get together with one of our sponsors last year and they were for active. It’s called Canine Activ and they’re a wonderful company that has – they started doing sports and supplements and then they moved into active things for dogs, joint supplements for dogs but because they were in the sports field they also had a product of a laundry detergent.
And so one of those crazy things you don’t think about is how much laundry soap a shelter really does go through and as we’re going through people would ask is there anything, you know, how can we help them and we’d say we can get you a hundred gallons of laundry soap, let’s help you out.
What’s an average day in the life of Charlie and Rosie? How do you structure your time as an influencer and pet adoption advocate?
So our average day I hate to say we sort of hit the ground running. We wake up and like every other dog we go outside, hit a nice walk. We try to sometimes videotape our walks to share with people because we think that being healthy and active is really a good thing to show that, you know, when you get a dog you are not going to be sitting on the couch all day.
We need to make sure we understand that activeness of that pet that’s going to bring to your life so that’s a good healthy component, And then we answer a bunch of emails, we of course do some postings, we like to make sure everyone who’s waking up in the morning gets a smiley Rosie face to look at before they go to work which is always fun and then we’ll go back through and start answering any [comments on our posts}. Right now we’re in the process for the next couple of months we are finishing up a project called Sweet Southern Dog Rules to Live By. I’m going to be writing a book and hopefully having the E-Book out by the end of March.
Which is your favorite social media network?
You know what, we like them all for different reasons because they bring us different audiences. You know, Instagram is of course very important. That’s sort of what brought us up there and then Facebook of course has little different demographic. We even branched out into Tik Tok and of course we’re seeing different people on that as well. So different people in different demographics really share that experience with us.
You’re an example of an influencer using your stage to promote a worthy cause. Do you have any advice for aspiring influencers who are looking to make a difference in terms of some first steps they can take?
Right, absolutely! I think as with any situation look for the problem and look for solutions. I always say looking for more solutions as opposed to complaining about it is really the way to go. So, there’s so many great stories if you can tell a positive story and help people or help things out in the process that’s really the way to go. So, look at story branding. I think the story branding is very important and if that’s within your mission of what you want to do then you are able to reach out to other companies, individuals, and get the word out.