"Home 4 the Holidays" Campaign Underway
Initiative sets 1.5 million adoptions as target goal.
Home 4 the Holidays is hoping that its annual adoption campaign will find 1.5 million homeless animals new, forever homes this winter -- but the goal is really just one solid adoption, says John Van Zante, spokesman for the Helen Woodward Animal Center, in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
"When a family walks in the door, and a family can mean any range of things, we just like to see us compete one quality, life-long adoption," Van Zante told Zootoo Pet News. "We'd like to see us do that 1.5 million times over and just never get lost in the numbers we are supposed to reach. It is really about one quality adoption at a time."
Nevertheless, Home 4 the Holidays, a campaign sponsored by Iams, appears able to combine quantity with quality as it has expanded over the last 11 years.
Van Zante helped launch the now international campaign in 1998 with three other colleagues at the animal shelter, including Helen Woodward Animal Center president Mike Arms. That year in the San Diego area, there were 40,000 shelter pets euthanized.
"We wanted to help cut down on the number of pets euthanized and we wanted to take business away from the puppy mills and backyard breeders," Van Zante said. "They do more business during the holiday season than they do at any other time of the year."
Fourteen local San Diego shelters agreed to launch a joint adoption campaign leading up to Thanksgiving, but the program's success -- back then it didn't have a target figure for adoptions, yet -- led it to continue through December.
In 1999, Home 4 the Holiday's active advertising initiatives led to 2,563 adoptions in the San Diego region. In 2000, the effort expanded to five states and 130 animal shelters, resulting in nearly 20,000 adoptions.
In 2001, Home 4 the Holidays expanded to all 50 states, and from there, the effort has snowballed, resulting in a hugely successful international effort in countries like Canada, India, New Zealand, Iran and Colombia.
Last year Home 4 the Holidays set its target at this year's target of 1.5 million -- it eventually fell slightly short, with 1,363,000 adoptions. So far in 2010, 761,707 adoptions have taken place in participating shelters, Van Zante says.
Animal shelters and rescue groups are still able to join this initiative, which runs through Jan. 3, 2011. Aside from joining the campaign, there are some tangible benefits, as well, which helps boost adoptions.
"We provide participating shelters with a 'How To' guide, which really helps walk people through the basics of advertising and marketing," Van Zante says.
"The guide comes with news releases they can use, pre-recorded public service announcements they can use by [actresses] Diane Keaton and Tippi Hedren," Van Zante continued. "They get access to all of that, so they can just go to the local radio station with these messages already done and that really helps ensure promotion of Home 4 the Holidays."
Home 4 the Holidays also provides pre-written proclamations that mayors of towns have used in the past to declare certain days Home 4 the Holidays or pet adoption dyas.
Educational materials are also a crucial part of this package, says Van Zante, as Home 4 the Holidays doesn't want to encourage adoptions that won't be lasting ones and result in surrenders to the shelter shortly after the holiday season.
"You can't get a new best friend for somebody else," Van Zante explained. "You have to be there to meet your new potential pet yourself, because this is a dog or cat you will have for hopefully many years and that's a decision you just have to make on your own."
To learn more about Home 4 the Holidays, by visiting the initiative's website.
What do you think about Home 4 the Holidays? Do you know of similar adoption drives in your area? Tell us your thoughts below!
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