Do you want to inspire your children or students to dream big and take pride in who they are?

Do you want to encourage them to see past disabilities and appreciate each other’s differences?

Do you want to educate them on animal welfare?

Do you want to promote friendship, equality, and kindness?

Need a visitor or speaker for your next school, library or kid-friendly event?

Do you want to have some fun?

As a people-person, animal advocate, and children’s writer, I am passionate about inspiring people of all ages to take pride in who they are, encourage equality, communicate compassion, overcome adversity, and advocate for what they believe in. I enjoy meeting new people, making new friends, and having fun.  

There is always something new to discover and a new friend to meet! Contact me for inquiries to schedule a visit.

What Teachers, Parents and Kids Are Saying! :

“My Kindergarten class was lucky enough to meet Melissa and her dog, Memphis. Melissa’s words and Memphis’ presence brought a smile to each students’s face. She was an excellent presenter and advocate who spoke about diversity and acceptance. Her message of inclusivity  was an extremely important lesson for all of my young students. My students genuinely enjoyed interacting with Memphis and speaking with Melissa. Melissa’s entire presentation was meaningful, important and enjoyable for my class. I look forward to having her back again soon!”

Lynda Magill, Kindergarten Teacher, Teaneck Community Charter School

“Melissa Rutigliano was a inspirational presenter at our “Schools Out for Summer Kids Fest”.  Her connection with her dog Memphis and sharing those stories with the kids was a beautiful addition to our event that kept the kids engaged and interested.”

-Nicole D.C. Kienlen
Tourism Director of Bradley Beach NJ
Creator and Owner of Paws & Anchor

“My 5th grade class had the pleasure of meeting with Melissa and her best friend, Memphis.  While my students have been home learning virtually, having Melissa and Memphis join our Zoom meeting was a great way to incorporate a lesson on developing empathy. Together they taught us what it means to overcome adversity, special abilities, friendship, animal welfare, and above all else… KINDNESS!  

Anita Alfonso, 5th Grade Teacher, Carlstadt Public School

“Melissa did such an amazing job with my students. When the students first saw Memphis they were in amazement. They had never seen a dog with special needs and the students just loved him. She was very professional and understanding of the age group she was presenting too. We can’t wait to have her back again.”

-Nicole Cappiello,  teacher, Oliver St School, Newark, NJ  

What Kids Are Saying:

“Today I learned that everybody is different in the world, no matter what you have at least one difference from somebody. And also, disabilities can even be good because Memphis the dog he actually made a friend with his disability ’cause they both had wheelchairs. He still lives a happy life even though he only has two legs that are working and has to use two wheels to walk.”

Zack, grade 5

“It’s all about kindness, because Melissa was so kind to help her dog out and give him that other chance. So basically everything is about… just be kind to everyone! The moral of the story is, always be kind to each other.”

Emma, grade 5

“Melissa told us that even though Memphis is not like other dogs it is ok to be different. I would like to say thank you to Memphis and Melissa for telling us all about Memphis’s challenges that he got through and is now a very happy dog.”

 Alexia, grade 5

“I also learned that dogs are very accepting and that we should be more like dogs, in the sense of kindness, not literally run around and stuff. This may not be fact but it’s fact in my opinion. But Memphis is very cute. and although that he might not look like a normal dog but he acts like a normal dog and helps us humans through everyday life like a normal dog would and is a great role model to us even though he is a dog. “

Lucas, grade 5