Last Updated on March 17, 2022
Nicole Simone is an accomplished Canadian singer-songwriter who performs under the name Late July. She consistently releases singles, including standout tracks like “Heartbeat,” and “Waves,” and she’s currently working on an upcoming single titled “Remarkable,” as well as an EP, which is being produced by John Agnello (Son Volt, Laura Stevenson, Dinosaur Jr., Clap Your Hands Say Yeah).
Simone’s music has been featured in the web series ‘Out With Dad’ and the feature film ‘How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town.’
Simone is also a professional filmmaker. Notably, she wrote, directed, wrote, and starred in the 2020 miniseries ‘On a List,’ which tells a moving (and sometimes even comedic) tale of two people newly in love who are trying to fast-track their way to true intimacy.
But today, we’d like to focus on one of the most inspiring aspects of Simone’s incredible career, and that’s her work as a philanthropist.
The Redemption Paws mission
Simone is the Founder and CEO of Redemption Paws, a federally registered charity based in Canada that focuses on finding forever homes for dogs, most of them from Texas, who have been affected by natural disasters, climate change, and canine overpopulation.
Having been directly involved in foster-based dog care since 2006, Simone saw an opportunity to help dogs in need following the heartbreaking consequences of Hurricane Harvey.
As with many natural disasters, Harvey left many dogs without homes or caretakers. It all started in 2017 when a friend asked Simone to care for a few dogs from her sanctuary, as they had been overwhelmed in the wake of the hurricane.
In the years since Redemption Paws has been able to help thousands of dogs find homes and lifelong owners.
Simone has continued to lead the charge, using her well-honed leadership skills to manage the organization and navigate through notoriously uncertain times. Through it all, she has been adamant about taking responsibility for any issues and supporting her team.
“I’m so grateful to have been given this opportunity. I think at times I’m given too much credit, but at the end of the day, I’m the captain of the ship. So when things go well, it’s everyone’s win, but when anything goes wrong, it’s solely my problem. I’ve learned so much since opening Redemption Paws.”
With Simone’s help, let’s dive deeper into what Redemption Paws is all about: its goals, how it functions, and what it looks like when dogs in need find a place where they truly belong.
Giving time to animals in need
For many, charity work, music, and filmmaking would constitute completely separate careers, but Simone has managed to find success in all these fields, and that’s due in large part to her ability to carefully manage her time and energy.
Even with all her creative work projects, Simone puts Redemption Paws first, and on any given day, that’s where the bulk of her attention goes.
With Redemption Paws, Simone manages a full staff and helps to oversee the care of all dogs currently in the organization’s care, which can mean upwards of 150 dogs at a time.
“Dog charity work involves a lot of logistics and crisis management. You’re given these amazing dogs that have a limited amount of time to exit a pound, and then you have to transport them to another country 3,000 kilometers away. It can be a real challenge, even when you’re operating at 100%.”
Then, after the daily needs of the organization have been taken care of, Simone makes the transition to her creative side, putting time into one of the projects she’s currently working on.
“Once I’ve handled the day-to-day needs of the organization, I’ll sit down and work late into the night on music or writing or editing a script.”
We were curious about whether Simone prefers one type of work over the other, but according to Simone, she’s been able to identify some of the shared elements of all her professional efforts.
“There are definitely times when I prefer either creative work or charity work, but I think it’s such a gift that I’ve been able to help so many dogs alongside so many wonderful people. At the end of the day, music, film, and charity work are all about collaboration, and I adore that.”
Funding Redemption Paws
It goes without saying that charity organizations need to find consistent funding since they don’t bring in revenue as a private, for-profit business would.
Animal care and transport can be very expensive, and as Simone noted, the general public can often feel skeptical about dog rescues and large-scale fundraisers, especially if they’re unfamiliar with a particular organization.
Thankfully, Simone has been getting the word out on all the good work that Redemption Paws has been doing since its inception.
This is also one of the most crucial times for dog rescue in recent history. Predictably, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many existing problems. Many dogs have lost their owners to the virus or to relocation, and financial difficulty resulting from the pandemic has made it challenging or outright impossible for some owners to continue caring for their dogs.
There are more reasons than ever before for dog charities to seek out and care for animals without homes.
Thankfully, Redemption Paws has been able to operate with very low overhead, meaning that most of the money they take in can directly benefit dogs in need of help.
“Redemption Paws works on a fraction of the budget of most charities, yet we adopt out more dogs than some of the largest dog charities in Canada. We have paid staff, but no one makes anywhere near six figures like they do at some other animal charities. We really want the money to go directly to the dogs and to the skilled people who help them every day.”
It’s incredibly important for organizations like Redemption Paws to operate at maximum efficiency to save as many dogs as possible, and if you’re interested in donating to Redemption Paws to help them accomplish their mission, just follow this link.
An inspiring success story
Before we finish, we’d like to share an inspiring success story, a moment when Simone and Redemption Paws were able to save the life of an injured dog who might otherwise have been euthanized at a nearby shelter due to lack of space.
In this case, the rescue was all about having the resources and the willpower to do the right thing and the ability to move quickly.
“Days before Christmas, back in 2020, I saw a social media post about an emaciated dog that had been hit by a car. I just happened to have a transport coming up from Texas around that time, so I called right away to make sure he wasn’t euthanized.”
The dog’s name was Alfie, and he was badly injured. Simone was able to have Alfie transported to an emergency vet. She called in the payment information so that Alfie could receive the care he needed.
Now on the mend, Alfie could be safely transported to Canada, where Redemption Paws arranged for him to receive further treatment, which included the mending of broken limbs, multiple lacerations, and heartworm. Alfie was also neutered, which is a key step to help curb canine overpopulation.
Many different people had to work together to save Alfie’s life after this terrible accident, and it’s because of this collaboration that he was able to recover and live a full life in a loving home.
“It was one of those situations where I just held my breath and hoped that everything would work out. Stephanie at the Lamar County Humane Society really helped make it happen. It’s not easy to act that quickly with no space, but I’m happy that Alfie is better now and living his best life!”
Stories like these remind us that it is possible to build better lives for animals in need. With the help of caring professionals, a dog who might seem at first to be a lost cause can find the home they’ve always wanted.
As we’ve stressed already, this is an especially challenging time for Redemption Paws and so many other charitable organizations that want to solve pressing animal care problems.
It’s a team effort every step of the way, from top-level leadership to skilled staff members to volunteers and contributors willing to keep these organizations up and running.
Inspirationfeed would like to thank Nicole Simone for speaking with us about Redemption Paws. If you’d like to learn even more about the organization and the work they’re doing, please visit their official website.