MOVIE ALERT: You Won’t Want to Miss Susie’s Hope


You are really going to enjoy this movie based on the true stories of Donna and Susie Lawrence, the inspiration behind the passing of Susie’s Law, which effectively stiffened the penalties for animal abuse in North Carolina.


This powerful story was recently adapted into the award-winning film Susie’s Hope, which received the Dove Family Seal of Approval. The film premiered at the 2013 RiverRun International Film Festival before going on to win Best Family Film at the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival and Best Film at the Greenville International Film Festival. The film had a record-setting broadcast premier on UPtv in August of 2014, and the DVD is now available for purchase online and on shelves at Best BuyWalmartFamily VideoAmazon and other national retail outlets.


Susie’s Hope follows the inspirational relationship between Donna Lawrence, the survivor of a pit bull attack, and Susie, a pit bull mix puppy found beaten, burned and left for dead in a park. Together, they learn to heal, love and forgive as they lead a historic effort to seek justice and protection for all animals.

Donna Lawrence, an expectant first-time mother and animal lover, is horribly mauled by an abandoned bit pull as she attempts to feed him. The accident causes Donna to both lose the pregnancy and her ability to have children. As Donna begins to question God’s purpose for her, she discovers an answer: Susie. Donna finds the puppy on the edge of death, having survived the horror of being doused with lighter fluid and set on fire, her skin scorched and ears burned completely off.

Seeing many parallels between herself and the abused animal, Donna adopts the puppy and names her Susie, the name of the child she lost. Donna then partners with a local animal shelter to establish Susie’s Miracle Fund to pay for operations to save Susie’s life. Donna discovers that Susie’s abuser will walk free because North Carolina laws only recognize animals as property. Determined to bring the abuser to justice, Donna and Susie rally the community for a stricter law, later called Susie’s Law, which instates a jail sentence for cruelty to animals.

Proudly partnered with the American Humane Association, Susie’s Hope features sought-out performers who are animal advocates, including Emmanuelle Vaugier, the film’s lead actress, who organizes the Fluffball fundraiser for Best Friends Animal Society; Jon Provost, who played Timmy in Lassie and won the Humane Society’s Genesis Award for his writing on The New Lassie; and Megan Blake, whose Pet Life Radio program A Super Smiley Adventure was recognized by the Genesis Awards and inspired the Super Smiley Flash Mob 4 Pet Adoption. The cast also includes Burgess Jenkins, Andrea Powell, Willette Thompson, Gregory Waller and Lance E. Nichols.

A portion of the film’s proceeds goes to the American Humane Association, and 15% of the proceeds go to non-profit charities for animal welfare. Susie’s Hope non-profit organization works to educate and promote animal welfare through programs at schools, churches and hospitals, where Susie makes appearances as a certified Therapy Dog.