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Barbie Puppy Party - Inspiring Kids to Learn About Animal Welfare

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Guest Writer: Danica Davidson

When I was little, I was that kid who always scribbled in notebooks and wanted to adopt every pet who needed a home. I guess that hasn’t entirely changed. These days I’ve put the two loves together by writing about animals — everything from journalism on animal welfare to a new Barbie graphic novel about adoption. (And usually one or two of my pets — all of whom are rescues — sleep by my feet while I write.)

When I was doing more work as a journalist, I liked to push for articles on animal welfare. Issues I covered included dog fighting, the importance of spaying and neutering, and ways to find pets a forever home. I also did a story for MTV News about a situation where there was a cat hoarder living next door to me. No one knew what to do with the cats once they’d been discovered, and they were in danger of all being put to sleep. I offered to let them stay in my garage until we found them homes. With the help of local animal welfare workers, a police officer and a vet, we got the cats treated, and then my boyfriend and I found them homes.

When I got an opportunity to write a comic about Barbie and puppies for a graphic novel publisher, I knew what I wanted to do. Barbie is an iconic figure and I wanted to write an empowering story about how kids can also help with animal welfare. In the comic, Barbie and her sisters find a lost dog, and when they try to find its owner, they learn about all the dogs and cats at their local shelter. The girls and their friends decide to throw a puppy party to get the local pets adopted and to find the lost dog’s owner. (Hence the comic’s title, Puppy Party).

Essentially, Barbie is doing what I’ve been trying to do and what everyone can do: find creative ways to help others. For this particular comic and often for me, this issue is helping animals. Adoption is very important and saves lives, so it’s something I’ll always talk about. However, I understand not everyone can adopt (maybe they already have pets, maybe they’re allergic, maybe they live in a place that doesn’t allow pets, etc.). But everyone can do something to help an animal.


Girl with little dogImage credit: DepositPhotos


Maybe they can volunteer at their shelter to walk dogs, or take part in an adopt-a-thon, or help people find low-cost spaying and neutering. Or maybe they can write about it (that includes letters to the editor!), blog about it, or encourage their local library to get books on animal welfare or bring in a guest speaker on the topic. I’m hoping my Barbie comic can be useful for animal welfare organizations to teach kids about adoption without it sounding preachy or like a guilt-trip; I wrote it to sound compassionate and inspiring. I find that most people love animals and would love to give back, but they might be intimidated about how to do it. Maybe what you already love is a key to your own creative, unique way of helping out our canine and feline companions.

ABOUT THE WRITER:  Along with Barbie: Puppy Party, Danica Davidson has also written children's fantasy novels involving Minecraft, the manga how-to-draw guide Manga Art for Beginners and a story in the most recent Tales from the Crypt. You can visit her website or follow her on Twitter P.S. She likes to share pet pictures!  Works for me!

Congratulations Danica on your success and for creating something that inspires kids to make a difference to the animals.

On a personal side note...  I hate to diss Santa but I am STILL waiting for my Malibu Barbie Country Camper that I asked for back  in 1971.  I've mentioned it a few times over the years when I see him at Christmas in the local mall. He always mumbles something about it falling out of the sleigh over The Netherlands.  Or Nebraska. Ya Santa.  Whatever. 


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