Background: Research shows that animals come into shelters so much faster than they get adopted, especially those with challenges that make them more difficult to adopt, such as medical or behavioural issues. In many cases, these “less- than-perfect” but perfectly adoptable, animals languish in shelters for years, and sadly more often than not, they are euthanized. In 2017, the Canadian Humane Society estimated that 20,753 cats and 3,799 dogs were euthanized in Canada. And when you consider that this measure does not include the significant number of dogs and cats put down in private shelters, the need to raise awareness becomes even more urgent.
Petcurean is a values-driven premium pet food company that strongly promotes rescue adoptions as part of our corporate social responsibility platform. We recognized the opportunity, and urgent need, to raise awareness of this important issue by shining a light on the “underdogs” that are often overlooked for adoption.
Campaign: As part of our commitment to help these deserving animals, in 2019, Petcurean continued our “Uplift the Underdog” Campaign to raise awareness of the need to adopt the millions of cats and dogs in shelters across North America, many of whom have languished there for years, only to be put down without knowing the love and comfort of a forever home. Our campaign’s goal is to inspire people to focus on the amazing heart and spirit of these underdogs, rather than their "so-called imperfections."
We have run three Uplift campaigns since 2018 – two focused on dogs, and one on cats. Rescue groups across Canada and the United States were invited to nominate “underdogs,” and to draw attention to the cause. Finalists were chosen and supporters were asked to cast their votes for their favourite, and to share their stories to help increase their chances of adoption. Each finalist received food to last one year, three years or a lifetime, and their shelter also received a 500 lbs donation to support their important work. 140,000 supporters voted across the three contests we have held so far, and more than 318 million media impressions have helped spread awareness of this urgent need.
Outcome: Of course, the most important outcome is that deserving pets got adopted, and awareness was raised. From the finalists chosen, eight dogs have been adopted, including a blind dog, a paraplegic dog, and a deaf senior. Of the eight cat finalists, two have been adopted so far – a cat with FIV and Feline Leukemia, plus a super shy senior cat.
It is also our belief that the awareness raised by this campaign made a difference in the lives of many other deserving cats and dogs, by encouraging people to take a second look at overlooked “underdogs” longing to find forever homes. Indeed this sentiment has been echoed by many of the rescue groups who participated.
In January 2020, we will launch another round of this campaign – Uplift the Underdog: Cat Edition 2020. Starting that month, rescues and shelters from across Canada and the United States will be asked to nominate their most deserving cat. New for 2020 will be a Quebec-specific iteration of the campaign. Please stay tuned for full details and updates on Uplift the Underdog: Cat Edition 2020.
Giving back truly is at the heart of Petcurean. In 2019, we have donated over 118,000lbs of food to pets in need, through a variety of initiatives beyond “Uplift the Underdog”. These include a 17,000 pound donation to support the hurricane recovery operation in the Bahamas, and in November 2019, a donation of 10,000 pounds of food to help animals through the winter in New Mexico.