Our Story

The remarkable trajectory of Mutual Rescue


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Diesel - Kristi Johnson Photography
Photo by Kristi Johnson


The global nonprofit initiative Mutual Rescue was sparked in the summer of 2015, when Carol Novello and David Whitman first met—thanks to their mutual friend Sally Hazard Bourgoin.

Marshaling resources, they officially launched Mutual Rescue on February 14, 2016—a day celebrating the power of love—with an original short documentary film called “Eric & Peety” and a call for stories of mutual rescue.

From hundreds of inspirational stories received, Mutual Rescue judges across the U.S. selected five for filming that season: “Kylie & Liza,” “Tracy & Jack,” “Josh & Scout,” “Jessi & Andi,” and “Mike & Abbie.”

Several other top contenders were later featured in Novello’s book Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too. 

 2021/08/MR-history-photo@3x.jpg Carol Novello, Eric O’Grey, David Whitman, and Sally Hazard Bourgoin in 2016
Carol Novello, Eric O’Grey, David Whitman, and Sally Hazard Bourgoin in 2016

First Film

“Eric & Peety,” Mutual Rescue’s 2016 début documentary short film about Eric O’Grey and his rescue dogs, Peety and Jake, rapidly surpassed 100 million views online. All around the world, it generated conversations, comments, reviews, broadcasts, podcasts, screenings, translations, talks, workshops, interviews, articles, and awards—motivating even more people to adopt companion animals.

In 2016, Mutual Rescue’s “Eric & Peety” was California’s top news-source film, as noted in The New York Times.

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Mutual Rescue has motivated innumerable people worldwide to embark on their own mutual rescue journeys.

It has created 13 documentary films and a series of very short thematic films called Mutual Rescue Moments; published a popular book; established replicable programs; directed $180,000 in unrestricted cash grants to animal shelters throughout the U.S.; inspired greater philanthropic giving to animal-welfare causes; and encouraged individuals and businesses to support their community animal shelters through adopting, volunteering, and donating.

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Mutual Rescue will continue to create original content that encourages people to help homeless companion animals by adopting, volunteering, and donating to animal-welfare organizations in their communities. We are building our base of corporate support nationally to benefit community animal shelters and rescue groups throughout the country. 



“Mutual Rescue has proven its capacity to touch souls on a grand scale. This initiative cuts straight to the heart by bringing to light the depth of humanity and deeply transformational connection between two- and four-legged soul mates.”

Tom Corwin, Author, Producer, and Founder, Corwin Creative


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