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Actress Renée Felice Smith Reaches Out To A Young Generation To Help Save The Lives Of Homeless Pets By Filming A Public Service Announcement Introducing The Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum


 Photo credit: Lori Cannava


PORT WASHINGTON (May 30, 2013) - There was a lot of excitement on the campus of North Shore Animal League America’s national adoption headquarters in New York when Renée Felice Smith of NCIS: Los Angeles loaned her time and talent to co-direct and film a Public Service Announcement for the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum. The actress was joined by a cast made up of thirty five pre-k, elementary, middle, and high school student volunteers. In addition to the human cast, the PSA features some of our best and brightest Mutt-i-grees!

The PSA, which will be launching in early June, highlights this unique educational program now in over 2,000 schools nationwide. Responding to the needs of the whole child, the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum is unique, bridging social and emotional learning with humane education with the ultimate goal of helping to end euthanasia. The PSA will bring the benefits and highlights of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum to the attention of school administrators, teachers, parents and entire school communities.

While the Curriculum does not require the presence of a pet in the classroom, animals in the form of puppets and toys are effectively utilized in commanding attention, improving cognitive abilities and contribute to teaching students how to be more compassionate and empathetic. Some schools do choose to use therapy dogs or shelter dogs to enhance the lessons.

The curriculum was developed by North Shore Animal League America’s Pet Savers Foundation, in collaboration with Yale University’s School of the 21st Century, and funded by The Cesar Millan Foundation. The lessons are easily implemented with scripted lessons that align with the Common Core standards and feature lessons on dog behavior developed by renowned dog behavior expert, Cesar Millan.

Renée, along with top advertising and media professionals, donated their time and talent to develop a meaningful and impactful message: “a piece,” said Renée, “that will raise awareness about this revolutionary program and effectively introduce the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum to the world.” She added, “We take tests, we study for the SATs and that’s all fine and good, but what the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum does is show another side of the spectrum, and show another side of learning and becoming a whole person. Education programs like the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum are key to building a more compassionate society, a more accepting society. A society that has more tolerance for each other.”

Renée’s passion for children and animals was evident on the set but doesn’t end there. She is developing a children’s book series based on her dog, Hugo.

To view the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum PSA or to learn more about the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, visit

Renée Felice Smith, Talent and Co-Director; Katy Fuoco, Producer; Samuel Aaron Bennett, Co-Director and Director of Photography; Haley Fulop, Creative Director and Chris Gabriel, composer.

Jennifer Larrea, of P.S. 20 in Flushing, who volunteered her time to depict the teacher and all of the participating students from St. Martin de Porres in Uniondale, Carrie Palmer Middle School in Port Washington, K.A. Deasy Elementary School and Landing Elementary Schools in Glen Cove, Kids by the Bunch in Glen Cove, St. Kevin School in Flushing, Our Lady of Victory in Floral Park, East Northport Middle School in East Northport, Forest Brook Elementary School in Hauppauge, McKenna Elementary School in Massapequa, Daly Elementary School in Port Washington, Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville, Ardsley Middle School and Concord Road Elementary School in Ardsley, and Edward R. Murrow High School in Midwood.

The Mutt-i-grees Curriculum is an innovative program that builds on the affinity between children and animals, providing a unique context to teach compassion, empathy and social responsibility. Developed by the Yale School of the 21st Century in collaboration with North Shore Animal League America, and funded by the Cesar Millan Foundation, the Curriculum highlights the unique characteristics and desirability of shelter dogs, known as Mutt-i-grees. To learn more, visit

Animal League America has saved more than 1,000,000 lives. As the world’s largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization, we understand that a rescue isn’t complete until each animal is placed into a loving home. Our innovative programs provide education to reduce animal cruelty and advance standards in animal welfare. Our staff and volunteers work tirelessly in the pursuit of our vision of a world where all companion animals find permanent homes to end euthanasia. For more information, visit

Renée Felice Smith is currently a series regular on CBS's NCIS: Los Angeles where she plays the quirky, quick-witted intelligence analyst Nell Jones, along side Chris O'Donnell, LL Cool J and Linda Hunt. Renée graduated as an Honors Scholar at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she double majored in Drama and Journalism, minored in History. While at NYU, she studied commedia dell'arte in Florence, Italy, and also co-founded Tisch's first student dance troupe. She has joined forces with North Shore Animal League America because of her passion for all animals, including her beloved French bulldog, Hugo. Renée is currently developing a children's book series, which will feature Hugo. Renée was raised near the Great South Bay in Patchogue, NY.

Media Contact:
Devera Lynn
North Shore Animal League America
[email protected]