Iams Home 4 the Holidays is arguably the most successful pet adoption campaign on the history of the planet. Within the past decade, over three million pets have been adopted. The goal this year, 1.5 million pets adopted into forever homes; the campaign began around Halloween and continues through New Year’s.
The campaign’s “voice” throughout is Mike Arms of the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. Kris Parlett, who is in the Iams external relations department, calls Arms an innovative thinker. After all, a decade ago – and even today – some shelters actually close around the holidays. “They’re giving into that old myth that people are more irresponsible about pet adoption at the holidays,” Arms says.
“It’s really a made up rumor, an urban legend that I believe began as someone just said it’s true,” explains Arms. “And the pet stores who sell puppy mill animals jumped right on it. They didn’t want the competition from shelters. And the truth is that some who ran shelters just wanted the time off (work) at the holiday season for themselves. It was nonsense.”
Despite Arms’ obvious success some remain cynical, though the promotion obviously impresses with big numbers, millions of animal lives saved. But even more impactful are the individual stories. They’re simple stories really, about finding a new friend, or in the case of Catherine Klimek of LaGrange, IL two new friends. Shortly after losing her elderly cat Bertha, last year she decided to give herself a Christmas gift. On December 26 she visited Catnap from the Heart, a local shelter.“I specifically wanted to adopt two adult cats,” she says. “I was overwhelmed a bit when I walked in. The first cat I was Chatchi who was just sitting there cleaning himself. And it seemed wherever I went (in the shelter) Chatchi was there, but pretending to ignore me. Finally, I figured out what he was telling me. His mate at the shelter was Joanie, then more shy. They had actually been at the shelter a couple of years, and were then around four-years old. I just had to give them a home. The shelter (personnel) asked if I wanted to take the cats on a trial basis, but I said, ‘I can’t. If I take them out of the building, they’re mine.”
She adopted both cats, and hasn’t looked back. “One best friend, that’s great,” she says. “Two best friends, even better.”
Daniel Nolan was searching around New York City shelters for smaller-sized canine friend this November. “Sometimes the right dog just hits you,” she says. “And you fall in love.” Interestingly, the love affair began before he even met his dog, it began online on a website. Dan and his fiancé, Maggie were just as impressed in person after rushing to the Bideawee animal Shelter in New York City to see Brownie.
And even more impressed when they were given the back-story. Brownie was a stray in Tennessee who had discovered a source of food and companionship from a vacationing family. As the vacation ended, the family delivered Brownie to a local shelter. At this Tennessee shelter, they’re overrun with dogs, so the 20 lb. mix-breed dog was relocated to the Big Apple, where smaller dogs for people living in small spaces, is a big plus.
“He’s been our best Buddy,” says Nolan, who proceeded to change the dog’s name to – Buddy.
Parlett offers his explanation for the success of the Home 4 the Holidays adoption campaign, “People are more receptive to adopting at this time of year. For many families it’s the season of giving – and there’s no greater than the gift of life for an orphaned pet. Families are all together and connected, maybe more so than at any other time of year.”
Learn more about the adoption campaign at www.home4theholidays.com.
©Steve Dale, Tribune Media Services