This International Company Helps Homeless Dogs on a Local Level

By Phil Newman on July 29, 2014 at 11:00 pm EST
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PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Adkins

The people at PEDIGREE, the world’s largest dog-food brand, are passionate about pets and committed to helping homeless animals on a local level.

PEDIGREE’s passion extends beyond the food it produces to the front-line support it provides to local shelters that care for abandoned or neglected dogs. Its multifaceted approach includes a foundation that donates funds to rescue organizations, along with initiatives such as the PEDIGREE Feeding Project, which the brand launched in 2012 in two cities – Chicago and Nashville – to supply participating shelters with 100 percent of their core dog-food needs.

The project’s primary motivation was to free up shelters to focus on other priorities.

“When shelters don’t need to worry about how they are going to be able to feed their dogs or pay for the food, resources become available to expand and promote adoption programs,” says Melissa Martellotti, director of marketing communications, PEDIGREE® Brand.

A year later, PEDIGREE teamed with GRAMMY-winning music artist Miranda Lambert to ask for America’s help in finding more communities for the feeding project. Thousands submitted nominations on Facebook, and in March 2013, PEDIGREE added Detroit/Flint, Mich., and Erie, Pa.

So far, the brand says it has donated more than 2.4 million pounds of dog food – that’s 520,000 meals for 30,000 dogs – saving participating shelters almost $400,000. Meanwhile, the shelters have placed 15,000 dogs in “forever homes.” 

Naturally, shelter leaders are happy.

“The resources we will save will allow us to accommodate the other increasing needs of neglected animals in our community,” says Elaine Greene of Friends for the Dearborn (Mich.) Animal Shelter. “This helps us expand our outreach programs to keep more animals from becoming homeless.”

For Walt Rodabaugh of Genesee County Animal Control in Flint Township, Mich., lingering economic challenges make the feeding program especially beneficial.

“We are on a tight budget,” Rodabaugh says. “Although the area is starting to recover, we still have financial hardship and a high unemployment rate. As the world moves on, many animals in this community have been left behind. Having the PEDIGREE Feeding Project will help us provide better food to the dogs in our shelter and focus on adoption programs.”

It’s a similar story at Michigan Animal Rescue League (MARL) in Pontiac, just outside Detroit.

“Having PEDIGREE provide food gives us extra dollars to continue to impact the lives of dogs in our community,” MARL’s Kayla Allen says.

Like many other brands today, PEDIGREE leans heavily on social media to spread the word, including the Facebook page with its whopping 1.3 million likes.

“We love sharing stories from our shelter partners, and Facebook is an excellent way to engage with our community about the work these shelters are doing,” Martellotti says.

Even as it continues to expand the feeding program, PEDIGREE recently launched another heart-tugging effort that blends nutrition with pet adoption. The documentary-style See What Good Food Can Do campaign features real stories of dogs in shelters, their shelter caregivers and the dogs’ adoptive families.

The program encourages interaction: Each time a dog lover shares their story with the hashtag #DogTales on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, PEDIGREE donates a bowl of food to a shelter. 

Showing care of animals beyond the food it produces is a priority for PEDIGREE: The brand’s parent company, Mars Petcare, even encourages employees to bring their dogs and cats to the office and provides dedicated playrooms for each.

For resources on pet adoption, visit here.

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