To me, it’s important to be kind and to work to use your own special gifts to bring joy to others — to make the world a better place. I think we can do more to help every person understand that they each have their own special gifts that can be used in a positive way.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Norbert, 3-lb. Therapy Dog, Author and Philanthropist. Norbert is a one-of-a kind mixed breed, 3-lb registered therapy dog, social media influencer with more than 1.9 million highly-engaged followers, philanthropist, and world-famous high-fiver. As the dog-in-charge of ‘Norberthood for Good,’ his mission is to inspire kindness, spread smiles to people around the globe, do volunteer and philanthropic work, and bring comfort to those in need. He believes that you don’t need to be big to make a big difference in the world. In addition to ongoing visits to hospitals, nursing homes, schools and special events, Norbert volunteers several times a month at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He has supported a variety of charitable causes such as, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society, Be the Match, One Warm Coat, Lil BUB’s BIG FUND for the ASPCA, and For Kids’ Sake Foundation. His new heartwarming, and inspirational best-selling book Norbert’s Little Lessons for a BIG Life is available nationwide.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve never been taller than 7 inches. As a puppy, I often wondered what a creature my size could do in this great big world. When my momma, Julie Steines, helped me understand that my special gift is making people smile, we decided to become a registered therapy dog team to bring comfort and joy. We volunteer at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and my visits there are humbling and rewarding.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?
I’m particularly delighted that because of me, my momma met her future husband, Mark Steines. We were invited to be guests on a TV show he co-hosted. They met, fell in love, got married, and a year later my baby sister was born. She and I are good buddies. It’s a real-life fairy tale, (or doggie tale), if I do say so myself.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I don’t think there are mistakes, only opportunities for learning. I learned that if I don’t hold still for my photo shoots, the images can appear a bit blurry. Good lighting helps one’s head shots, too, don’t you think? My dad, Mark, is a terrific photographer, and he taught me a lot about photography.
Ok super. Let’s now jump to the core focus of our interview. Can you describe to our readers how you are using your platform to make a significant social impact?
I know other people call it a platform, but I call it the Norberthood. In our highly engaged worldwide Norberthood community of more than 1.9 million folks, we promote kindness and compassion. We believe everyone can make someone else smile. I love hearing from people, and I work hard to uplift and spread smiles.
Wow! Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by this cause?
I visited a young boy who sadly had a serious illness. When he saw me, his big, wide smile melted my heart. I was able to help his family arrange a special vacation for him, and I am so grateful I had the honor of making a difference for him.
Was there a tipping point the made you decide to focus on this particular area? Can you share a story about that?
At first my mom had a blog about our adventures, then my Uncle Jeff suggested we create a Facebook page. When I realized that people counted on seeing me to smile every day, I realized it was more than a fun thing to do; it was a responsibility to show up, and I took that seriously. The Norberthood community means a lot to me.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
To me, it’s important to be kind and to work to use your own special gifts to bring joy to others — to make the world a better place.
I think we can do more to:
1. help every person understand that they each have their own special gifts that can be used in a positive way.
2. stop bullying and putting others down to feel important; kindness and a generous spirit uplifts us all.
3. care for each other and our environment
What specific strategies have you been using to promote and advance this cause? Can you recommend any good tips for people who want to follow your lead and use their social platform for a social good?
I not only post cheerful and sometimes quirky photos of myself, I also like to share my point of view. I’ve authored five books with my mom and her mom. The first one, “Norbert: What Can Little Me Do?” talked about finding one’s way in the world. My most recent book, “Norbert’s Little Lessons for a Big Life,” has my own unique point of view with photos taken by my dad of, you guessed it — me! I’ve donated thousands of my books and my Norbert plush toys to charitable causes.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Don’t be afraid to take a first step towards your dream — even if your dream is bigger than you. You just don’t know where it might lead.
2. Trust your heart. Even a small heart can hold a world of love.
3. Making someone smile might seem like a small thing to do, but it’s huge.
4. Even if you are too small to walk up stairs, you still deserve respect.
5. Love yourself even if you have shortcomings. Although I have quite a pronounced shortcoming, it’s actually what makes me unique. So be yourself.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’m not a person, just a humble little dog. I would want all the great people of the Norberthood to spread care, generosity, love, and compassion. We need more kindness in the world toward each other, and we also need to care for our home, planet Earth.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My motto is, “You don’t need to be big to make a BIG difference in the world.” I guess by now you can see why.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would like to meet Betty White. I’ve heard she loves animals and her positive spirit is an inspiration to many, including myself. I think we would have a blast together.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
So nice of you to ask!
And my website is www.Norberthood.com
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!
The honor was all mine. You are my friends forever.