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Therapy dog Super Smiley spreads kindness from Malibu
Malibu resident and pet lifestyle specialist Megan Blake said some of her earliest memories are of seeing cows in a pasture from the back seat of her parents’ car as the family drove down a Georgia country road.
As she grew older, Blake began to recognize that not all large, four-legged animals in pastures were cows — some were horses, and smaller ones could be dogs and cats.
But even as a child, Blake was aware of her fascination for each new animal she encountered, and yearned to connect with it.
“I felt like we could almost communicate with each other,” Blake said of her earliest experiences with animals. “But, that came to be the core of my being. I love animals and have a deep empathy for them, as well as an innate way of communicating with them.”
Flashing forward a few decades, Blake said she was walking along the cells of an animal shelter, where wildly excited pit bulls slammed their bodies against the walls as she passed.
Amid the barking and body slamming is where Blake met Smiley.
“He was the one calm dog there, and he was looking at me,” she said. “He seemed very wise and still, and I knew then that he was my dog.”
Since then, Blake and Smiley have become a dynamic duo, advocating the positive integration of animals into people’s lives through pet adoption and training.
A certified dog trainer herself, Blake said she believes animals can be “healers and teachers, because they have a purity of spirit.”
“Pets, especially dogs, have a lot of wisdom to share if we’re open to listening and learning from them,” she said.
But Blake and Smiley didn’t get the ball rolling in their advocacy efforts until after one night when “one of those sad pet adoption videos” — as Blake put it — came on the television, and Smiley jumped up into her lap.
“He looked at me as if to tell me, ‘this is terrible, and we need a happier kind of campaign for pet adoption,’” Blake said.
That’s more or less when Super Smiley began to formulate, as Blake prescribed a superhero persona for her canine companion to help communicate to people about animal kindness.
Blake and Smiley even have a show on Pet Life Radio called “A Super Smiley Adventure” with more than 6 million listeners tuning in per month.
Smiley is also the inspiration for Blake’s flash mob campaign, which she also uses to promote pet adoption.
Although Blake and Smiley visit nursing homes, hospitals and have made numerous media appearances to help people and impress upon them the important of pets in everyday life, they also work with inner-city youth.
In one instance, Blake and Smiley visited children at the Salesian Boys and Girls Club, near downtown Los Angeles.
“Many of the children haven’t seen a large dog that wasn’t used for protection or fighting, so I think Smiley opened them up to the idea that kindness and love can come from an animal,” Blake said.
Through Blake’s advocacy efforts, Smiley’s gained a bit of attention from big-name brands. for instance, Smiley is the Ambassador of Kindness for State Farm Insurance.
To learn more about Blake and Smiley, visit www.MeganBlakeOfficial.com.