Why did we start Press Paws?

After 6 months of non-stop planning, Press Paws is finally happening! As we have mentioned before, we are absolutely overwhelmed with the amount of love and support we have received from all the artists, the fans, friends and family. Many people have told us, “Video Games, Animals, Art, Charity? This is the formula for AWESOME!” All the hardship we went through to get here has been absolutely worth it because of everyone’s enthusiasm.

My name is Sakura Minamida, one of the founders of Press Paws and I wanted to share a little story with you on why we started Press Paws in the first place. I can sit here and talk about all the details on who we are, what relevance we have in the gaming industry, how we got started, the planning process, what’s our favorite game, etc, but that is not the core of the project.  Amelia, Amber, Laurie and I all have many different reasons on why Press Paws is important to us. But ultimately, it really came down to one thing:

The animals.

I have 2 kids – Rambo is a Boston Terrier who is 5 and Halo a Boston Terrier mix that is turning 4 this July. They mean the world to me and my husband. They have been through all the curve balls life throws at you and brought me and my husband closer than ever. Call it corny if you will but they are our guardian angels.

Rambo is the first child and when I met him, it was love at first sight but I will admit – I was an absolutely ignorant pet buyer – I bought him from a pet shop. Although I will never regret this decision because Rambo means absolutely everything to me, I learned quickly first hand the downfall of purchasing from a pet store. He came home with Giardia that didn’t clear his system for months, was in and out of the hospital over the first 6 months,  and even grew a tumor by the time he was 1 years old. The pet store’s response to all this was to exchange him for a new one like something disposable. Watching my pup suffer his first year and how little care they had for these animals crushed me. This was when I declared war on Pet Stores forever.

The very fact that dogs in shelters and rescues get passed up to put money in the wallets of these corporations who uses puppy mills sickened me to the core. I aggressively started researching about rescues which I should have done earlier and committed to rescuing the next pup I get.

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Then came Halo, a Boston Terrier Mix from a rescue called Smashface Rescue. Kyle from Smashface told me that Halo was abandoned 3 times before she hit the age of 5 months. Halo’s latest parents got a divorce so they no longer wanted her. I never understood this – why would one do this to their own child? Halo had 3 names in the past: Lil’Kim (yes really), Keiko, then Ladybug. She had major trust issues. It took her about 2 years to really trust us and was completely independent because I truly believe she thought we wouldn’t keep her around so she didn’t want to get attached. Now that we have gained her trust she cuddles and kisses us every moment she gets and always follows my husband getting ready every morning before he heads to work like a little shadow. All the hardship was worth it when we gained her full trust.

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Getting a dog from a rescue is extremely rewarding and I will not down play the fact that it can sometimes be challenging working with a dog that has emotional scars, but the reward is worth it! Many dogs in rescues have experienced much much worse and more traumatic experiences that we can’t even fathom and makes me question the human race. But these dogs – regardless of how much they go through they have such optimism in their eyes. It has that sparkle that they will eventually get their happy ending. It kills me that many are not so lucky.

These rescues are the unsung heroes. They give these animals that have been treated like “trash”, “target for abuse”, or “an old fad” and spend 24/7 of their lives to find the right family who will not discard them like their last owners did. If it wasn’t for the dedicated efforts of rescues like What’s Up Dog LA and Smashface Rescue, Halo the most sweetest and quirkiest pup I have ever met  may have been taken to a pound and euthanized like millions do every year. Our vet always refers to Halo as the “lucky princess”.

Fast forward to 2012, the pet store I bought Rambo from has all been shut down. More people are educated about rescuing animals but it’s far from over. I still wanted to find my part in what I can do to help these animals. I wanted to use the tools I knew the most to help these animals.

VIDEO GAMES!

I’ve been in the video game industry for over 10 years now. As a fan – all my life. I also had a gut instinct that the video game community was the right people to reach out to because some of the most amazing and influential people I have met have been from the gaming industry. You guys all proved me right :) I am hoping we can continue to grow Press Paws so we can do this every year and make a bigger impact!

Press Paws is one day. The rescues – they do this every day. Let’s show what us gamers can do!

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THANK YOU ALL!! You guys are the best!

Sakura Minamida                                                                                                                 Co-Founder of Press Paws

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