The Real Bubbins
On May 4th 2019, Jason Kraus launched “Belly Rubbins For Bubbins- The Story Of A Rescue Dog.” Little did Kraus know that shortly after launching, thanks to immense support from the rescue community, the book, which is giving away 51% of profits, would hit #2 overall on the Barnes and Noble Top 100 Bestsellers List. Further, it would go on to ignite a humane education movement which is helping to stop animal abuse and neglect before it happens.
“Belly Rubbins For Bubbins- The Story Of A Rescue Dog” follows the harrowing journey of Bubbins the rescue dog and was created with the following slogan in mind; “We can spay, neuter, shelter, foster and adopt, but until we educate it won’t stop.” So how did all of this come to fruition? Kraus, a former contracted Government Background Investigator had his perspective on life changed forever after he and his wife adopted Gibbson, a 10 year-old pit bull with thyroid cancer. The rescue they adopted Gibbson from was just looking for someone to give him a good ending to his life, and instead Gibbson gave them a new perspective on theirs.
In the Fall of 2016, Gibbson was found wandering the streets of Newark, NJ. He was brought into the Associated Humane Societies Newark Branch on a stretcher due to having sustained “several injuries.” Due to his age and declining health, Gibbson was pulled by Green Mile Rescue of Morris Plains, NJ and provided shelter at a veterinary clinic. For several months the rescue sought a hospice foster for the sick senior pit bull, but the odds of finding him a home were slim. That’s when Jason’s wife Michelina saw Gibbson on Facebook and knew that she needed to do something. Although Jason was reluctant at first to adopt Gibbson given what he had heard about pit bulls, Michelina assured him the mainstream narrative certainly was just that, a narrative, and not reality.
It didn’t take long for Jason to fall in love with Gibbson and Michelina’s assertion proved to be true beyond Jason’s wildest dreams. Gibbson, whom Jason and many others had judged a certain way based solely on his breed, ended up sparking something inside of Jason. Gibbson showed him the meaning of unconditional love, forgiveness and the ability to live in the moment. It was obvious to Jason and Michelina that Gibbson had a rough life before he was found wandering the streets that day in 2016. His ears had been cut off, his teeth had been shaven down flat and his head, neck and body were riddled with scars from bite wounds and scratches. It was one night in particular when Gibbson was pancaked ontop of him, that Jason asked Michelina the question, “how could anyone have done this to him”… and that’s when it dawned on Jason, “It’s all about education.”
While receiving his Master’s Degree in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security in Israel, Jason was taught by a top Professor that the only long term solution to terrorism was education. Although animal abuse and terrorism are vastly different subjects, he knew the same principles applied. So, despite several friends and family not taking him seriously, Jason knew what he had to do. The 6’4, 240lb former rugby player decided to write a children’s book. The book would educate children and adults on the all too common tale of a rescue dog’s journey toward find a loving family. Kraus wanted to highlight the never-ending positivity that exists in rescue dogs and clearly paints the picture that Bubbins, like so many other dogs always believed that there was a loving family out there waiting for him.
Despite the successful launch of the book, the Kraus’ knew that more needed to be done. They knew that the kids who needed the story the most, would likely never hear it from their parents. So, Jason left his employment and they began running Bubbins Humane Education Workshops in NY and NJ schools and continues to do so virtually throughout the country. Truly believing that the more you give, the more you get; To date, Jason and Michelina have visited over 20 schools and educated over 6,000 children in person. They’ve also donated over $6,000 to rescue organizations and 1,000 books; 400 of those books went to students in the city of Newark, NJ, the very city that Gibbson (The Real Bubbins) was originally found in as stray.
Gibbson passed away on March, 3rd 2020, but not before leaving his mark on the hearts of the Kraus’ and in-turn, the world at large. The Kraus' believe the rescue world needs a central mascot to rally around and educate the public- and they believe that can be Bubbins! "We can spay, neuter, shelter, foster and adopt, but until we educate it won't stop!"