Christie Kasko is the creator of Trimble and Twitch, a website named after her two rescue dogs. Trimble and Twitch were born in early 2019 and diagnosed with cerebellar hypoplasia, a condition which requires a lot of special care. The goal of the web resource is to raise awareness for special needs pets as well as those that are abused or neglected. You can learn more at trimbleandtwitch.com or follow on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
What inspired you to start working with puppies and even adopt them?
I’m heavily involved in rescue. My dad would say I’ve done it since I could walk, I dragged home every little puppy that I found that was “homeless” or left somewhere. So we’ve been rescuing, fostering, adopting out dogs for 35 years. So in our area, I take care of all of the babies.
I don’t know if you can hear him snoring, but he’s like down here and he’s snoring really loud. I take care of all of the special things. So the babies that are bottle fed, the kittens with their eyes closed, the cleft palates, the ones that need a little extra attention. And then they usually go to new homes.
I had, before I had Trimble and Twitch, four dogs already. That’s so loud. So when Trimble and Twitch came along, it was kind of a sad story to begin with. There was a family that lived in the house and they basically moved out of the house, left a momma dog in the house locked in there. So an abandoned house and no way to get out, no way to find food, and she was pregnant.
So the neighbors actually called and notified the authorities that there were dogs locked in this house. So we rescued them, it was a mom and eight puppies. Quickly we noticed that there was something wrong with Trimble and Twitch, I don’t know if you’ve seen their puppy videos, but they are super shaky and have tremors. And I was familiar with cerebellar hypoplasia, which is what they have, so we took them to the vet, did some testing, it was confirmed. These dogs are very difficult to adopt.
You’re starting to see a lot more special needs dogs nowadays, because people are realizing that they make excellent pets. They just require a little bit more care than the typical dog. Before they would just be euthanized, no one gave them a chance, no one had the patience to work with them.
So with cerebellar hypoplasia the only deficit that they have is motor control. So they have difficulty walking, some proprioception problems with eating and things like that, not knowing where they are in space or on earth so they can get from one place to the other. So they just require patience for pet owners that are willing to do that. They make great pets, you just have to spend a little more time with them.
But getting them adopted, we knew it was going to be difficult. So took them home, started working with them, we did lots of physical therapy with them. They started showing some improvement, which was awesome because we didn’t ever expect for them to get to where they are now. So what they’ve accomplished is really miraculous.
It’s not the typical CH dog. So we shopped around for some doctors, there’s a lot of special needs homes out there, but the commitment to them was going to be great. So we just decided to keep them. So they just turned a year old. We made their birthday February 1st, that’s as close as we can get to their actual birthday. Their other siblings were adopted to Minnesota and their mother went to Minnesota as well, we’re in Texas.
So shortly after that, we started putting videos on the internet and they went viral. Went kind of crazy. And it was really just about spreading the message that despite the fact that they have some difficulty doing regular dog things, they’re still adoptable, they still make great pets.
They send a great message just to, and we use the kind of tagline “Be intentional.” Because their tremors are called intentional tremors, so they occur when they make intentional movements, like picking up their head, eating, walking, those kinds of things, playing. So the messages to be intentional in your life, to live your life with purpose that’s true to you, true to your nature. So over the last year, it’s just kind of snowballed into this big thing.
In January, we actually submitted all of our paperwork for a nonprofit to continue spreading their message through a bigger dog rescue, where we can adopt all across the United States and we send dogs to Canada a lot as well. But it gets us the ability to carry a broader message and get homes for these dogs that just need a little extra care, actually.
At what point did you kind of branch out into the influencer [marketing] side of things?
People started reaching out to us. And really at first I was really reticent because I didn’t want to spread the message that we were using our dogs for profit or for the wrong purpose. We really made sure that anybody that we work with as an influencer carries our message as well. And that’s one of our top things. When someone approaches us, a brand approaches us to work with them, we really make sure that they’re willing to carry our message as well as get their product across.
That’s the first thing, that’s the entire mission. All of our product sales that come from our website for the Trimble and Twitch and just dog mom, dog portraits, merchandise, all goes to support Trimble and Twitch and their medical care therapy and things like that, as well as the rescue.
You also touched on your motto for the first question of “Be intentional.” Can you tell us a little bit how you live by that and how others can live by it as well?
Absolutely. Before I started working for myself, because I work for myself at home, that’s how I’m able to take care of Trimble and Twitch, I’m at home in my pajamas with them. I was a paramedic for 25 years and I trained paramedics and I saw that the biggest part of EMS and first responders, my husband’s a firefighter paramedic as well, so the biggest part of it was we carried in us what other people expected us to be through that people put first responders, police officers, EMS, firefighters, all kind of on a pedestal. And so you have to live up to what everybody thinks that you’re supposed to be. And you get it skewed in life on how you’re supposed to be and you stray away from your true nature.
With Trimble and Twitch, when I first came here I had to give up, because I’m a mom too, four daughters, which I don’t recommend to anyone ever, four, it’s bad. It’s crazy. Yeah, write that down. And they’re are a wide range of age, they’re from 24 to 11. So I’m a mom and they’re in everything. So with Trimble and Twitch I really had to prioritize my life to the things that were absolutely important to me and our family and taking care of all of those things. And once I started doing that, people around me noticed it, that I was making my kids important, my dogs important, my husband important, my career important.
And I live not to say yes to everything that everybody wanted. I said yes to the things that were healthy for our family, for our friends, for the dogs, for my kids, and your whole life changes once you start living that way. And people started noticing it and the “Be intentional” kind of came from their tremors, but it translated to not just taking care of them and how they live their life, but in how we live our life too. You prioritize for you and the message you as a person want to send out to the world.
Note: Influencer Spotlight interviews are edited for time and clarity.
Andrew is the Head of Client Services for Intellifluence and has a background in communications. He is committed to helping brands get the most out of their campaigns and is the voice behind many of the Intellifluence tutorial videos (for better or worse).