Tiny Dog…Big Message…Thriving Business
Meet a Mother-Daughter Powerhouse…and a Little Dog Named Norbert.
Julie Steines and her mother Dr. Virgina Freyermuth, founders of the education and publishing company Polly Parker Press — created an entire “community” around Norbert — a 3-pound mixed breed therapy dog who was adopted from PetFinder.com and quickly became a sensation as one of the most famous therapy animals on the Internet with more than 1.5 million social media followers worldwide.
This Venture Started With A Mission to Spread Smiles, Kindness and Comfort.
As the dog-in-charge of “Norberthood for Good,” Steines’ mission is to share Norbert with people to inspire kindness, happiness and comfort worldwide through volunteer and philanthropic work. His mission statement? You don’t need to be big to make a big difference in the world.
Norbert’s main claim to fame is that he is the star of the international award winning picture book (the first of a series), Norbert: What Can Little Me Do? by his “human mother,” Julie Steines, a children’s book author. In fact, Steines’ work centered on her pup’s personality, has won 9 prestigious awards. Her latest book is set to release on October 10th. Norbert has relationships with several national brands (like Walt Disney, iTunes and PetSmart) as well as many appearances and features on television and in print. And of course, he supports a range of charitable causes.
Giving Back Became A Full Time Job.
As a registered therapy animal team for the past six years, Julie and Norbert have spent many hours volunteering at hospitals, nursing homes, schools, fundraisers, and homeless shelters. Soon it became a full-time gig.
Julie says, “In January 2014, I took a leap of faith and quit my job of over 5 years to pursue writing, publishing & speaking full-time…Today I give author talks in schools, libraries and other organizations with my mother and Norbert. We donate books, our time and money whenever possible because giving is one of our company’s core values.” She also sells Norbert merchandise to fund her organization in addition to the many causes she (and Norbert) support. For every plush Norbert toy sold, Steines donates a plush to Toys for Tots — and she’s currently sold out.
You can follow Norbert (and Julie) on Instagram, Twitter, his website, Facebook, and YouTube.
Bottom Line: Do what you love and follow your inspiration!