Musician, teacher melds parody with song in hopes of finding forever families for shelter animals

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Post updated at 1:45 p.m. Friday, April 19:

If Lawrence Humane Society pets could sing and play instruments, what would their songs sound like? Emily Boedeker has some ideas, and she’s creating tunes to bring attention to the shelter’s longest residents. 

First up: Peanut the dog and what Boedeker says every good musical parody needs — a familiar jam. Take Daryl Hall and John Oates’ hit “You Make My Dreams” complete with electric instruments and big ‘80s hair and replace it with Boedeker’s soothing parody of ukulele accompaniment and a short pixie cut. Don’t worry, Boedeker’s version features “Ooh, ooh, ooh, oohs” just like the original.

“What I want is a home to call mine forever. I’ve been stuck here in this shelter for 600 days. Oh, no,” Boedeker sings as she gives voice to 2-year-old Peanut, a white Australian cattle dog. “What I want is someone to go on a walk and have treats with, maybe take a nap if you’re feeling it. I wanna be your one and only. Oh, you, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, you can make my dreams come true.”

Yep, you got that right. Peanut, shown in this adoption profile, has been in the care of Lawrence’s animal shelter for more than 600 days. He arrived as an unclaimed stray in October 2022 and bounced around several foster homes before landing in his current foster home in June, according to Elina Alterman, director of development and communications for the humane society.

Alterman says although Peanut’s foster parent, Jordan, is a perfect match, Peanut has been searching for his forever family for a year and a half.

“Peanut is a super fun fellow!” Alterman says. “He’s been very friendly with all the people he’s met and he is very treat motivated – a huge bonus to anyone wanting to teach him tricks.”

Although Peanut enjoys the company of dogs outside the home, he would thrive best in a permanent home where he’s the only dog. Peanut’s potential adopters can plan on a companion.

“Peanut is as happy to chill on the couch as he is to go for a walk,” Alterman says. “He’s an excellent passenger in a car, a great apartment dog, and has been known to enjoy the LBC (Lawrence Beer Company) patio on a sunny day.”

Boedeker, a lifelong musician and music teacher for 15 years, says the roots of lending her voice to shelter pets stretch back to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when she launched her Elementary Music Lesson of the Day videos on social media.

Contributed Emily Boedeker

“It was really just a way for me to make music and to do something when we were all at home initially,” Boedeker says. 

Boedeker, 38, has fostered a long love for ‘80s pop and classic rock. And she’s a huge fan of Jimmy Fallon’s Classroom Instruments series, which features Fallon performing songs with The Roots and a guest celebrity to the accompaniment of xylophones, maracas, kazoos, cowbells and ukuleles.

Boedeker has produced similar music videos with a Lawrence flare. A music educator for Lawrence Public Schools for five years, Boedeker has performed parodies that celebrate snow days, criticize district school closures and reveal the realities of teaching. She’s also the director of Cantemos Youth Chorale, a community choir that’s open to all Lawrence third through sixth graders at no cost to participants’ families.

When Boedeker saw a distant animal shelter using music as a tool to announce pets available for adoption, she excitedly offered her gifts to Lawrence Humane Society.

“I have a soft spot for animals,” says Boedeker, a dog mom to three pooches.  “My last two dogs I have adopted from the humane society, including my dog that goes to school with me. Pedro’s a shelter pet.”

Most of the lyrics to Peanut’s parody came to Boedeker during a road trip with her daughter’s volleyball team. When she returned, Boedeker recorded videos of herself playing the ukulele and piano while singing. A slideshow of photos provides the visual backdrop.

“I thought it was important to make these parodies to songs that people will know,” Boedeker says. “Because it makes it funny, right? Like when you recognize the melody and know what it’s supposed to say, it kind of helps with the humor, I think a little.”

Boedeker says she hopes the videos bring awareness to the shelter and all the good it does for the community.

“And I’m a big believer in using the gifts you have to support the causes you care about, and I guess currently, making silly videos for pets on the internet,” she says. “If we can get some of these dogs that have been in the shelter for months adopted, then that was my goal.”


Alterman encourages those who are interested in meeting Peanut to send an email to the shelter’s adoptions team at or phone their staff at 785-843-6835. The shelter will work with you to schedule a meeting with Peanut and his foster at Lawrence Humane Society, 1805 E. 19th St.

Here’s a glimpse of two more shelter dogs inspiring Boedeker’s next melodic parodies. This post will be updated as accompanying videos are completed.

Stella Bunny

Contributed Stella Bunny

Stella Bunny arrived at the shelter in November 2022 by way of shelter transfer. She came with 10 adorable 1-week-old puppies — all who were raised by their mom while in foster care. After her puppies were adopted, Stella Bunny was spayed and made available for adoption herself. She spent five months at the shelter and has been living in a wonderful foster home since May 2023, Alterman says.

Stella Bunny prefers to be the only animal in a home and gets nervous when meeting new people, so she needs time to warm up, according to Alterman. “But once she warms up, she really shows off her absolutely wonderful personality!”

Foster parent, Jen, says 5-year-old Stella Bunny has been an excellent houseguest. She is house trained, can be trusted to be left alone inside the house without fear of her getting into anything, and is a very calm companion. Jen has an Instagram account that features Stella Bunny, which can be found at this link. An American bulldog, Stella Bunny is white with black spots and loves playing with toys, sunbathing and lounging. She’s a super chill dog. Learn more about Stella Bunny on her shelter adoption profile at this link.

If you’re interested in getting to know Stella Bunny, send an email to the shelter’s adoptions team at or phone their staff at 785-843-6835. The shelter will help schedule a meeting with Stella Bunny and her foster at the shelter.

Stella Bunny’s song was posted April 19. Here it is:


Contributed Gibson

Gibson arrived at Lawrence Humane Society in April 2023 at 7 months old after spending months in a rural shelter. He went to foster care for short periods of time and did well, Alterman says, but he hasn’t been able to find a long-term foster home like Peanut and Stella Bunny have.

“Gibson is 1 year and 7 months old, and has never known a loving home – all he’s ever known is the animal shelter, which is absolutely heartbreaking,” Alterman says. “Gibson is a staff favorite and has bonded with many of the staff members! He is obsessed with tennis balls, enjoys being outside, and is very well-behaved at home.”

Gibson’s ideal home is one with no other dogs or cats, but he does get along great with other dogs in a day care setting, Alterman says, so a potential adopter could take him to doggy day care. “He walks great on a leash and he gets very excited and bouncy when anyone mentions ‘walk’ or ‘let’s go for a ride!’” Alterman writes in an email.

Want to meet Gibson? Visit the Lawrence Humane Society during open adoption hours from noon to 6 p.m. every day except Wednesdays, when adoption hours are noon to 5 p.m. Learn more about Gibson, a black pitbull terrier, at this link.

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Tricia Masenthin (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at tmasenthin (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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