Stamps to the Rescue: USPS, Ellen DeGeneres Join Forces to Help Homeless Pets
Pictured above are some of the now-adopted pets featured on the USPS' 2010 social awareness stamps, "Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet." (Photo by Sally Andersen-Bruce)
Born at a Connecticut animal shelter, Bindu Su, an Aussie Shepherd, has a very complete life, making weekly local nursing home visits, competing in agility events and now, appearing on her very own commemorative United States Postal Service stamp.
Bindu Su is one of 10 shelter pets — five cats and five dogs — who have found both a forever home and a place in U.S. postal history, raising awareness of serious social issues by serving as this year's "spokespets" for the Stamps to the Rescue promotional campaign.
“These stamps continue a Postal Service tradition of bringing attention to serious social issues of the day … one letter at a time,” said Postmaster General John E. Potter, in a released statement. “This campaign will increase public awareness about sheltered pets and our hope is that it will encourage pet adoption and promote humane and responsible pet care.”
To bring greater attention to the cause, the Postal Service teamed up with Ellen DeGeneres and Halo, Purely for Pets — a holistic pet care company that DeGeneres co-owns — and revealed the 44-cent stamps to the public on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," March 17.
“This is a subject that I am extremely passionate about," DeGeneres said. "By working together, we can find good homes for millions of adoptable, homeless, and abandoned pets.”
In celebration of the partnership, DeGeneres and Halo pledged to provide a million meals to shelter pets.
"We’re here to help make sure this amazing social awareness translates into a meaningful difference for shelter pets. That’s why we’re working with everyone to reach the one-million meal donation of Halo Spot’s Stew," Halo CEO Steve Marton said. "I’m 100 percent confident we will achieve our goal of feeding one million meals to dogs and cats waiting to be adopted.”
Bindu Su was fortunate to be adopted when she was just eight weeks old — one of the lucky six to eight million cats and dogs who enter animal shelters annually and escape the frightening fate of euthanization.
Because the issue is so large, the USPS aptly named the "Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet" as its 2010 social awareness stamp. Past social awareness stamps have highlighted important issues such as children’s health, literacy, breast cancer awareness, organ and tissue donation, philanthropy and Alzheimer’s awareness.
But this campaign is not the first time cats and dogs have been featured on U.S. postage stamps. A 13-cent stamp of a kitten and puppy playing in the snow was issued in 1982 for use on holiday postcards. In 1998, images of a cat and a dog were included in the "Bright Eyes" set of five pets, and most recently, in 2002, photographs of a kitten and puppy were featured on the “Neuter or Spay” stamps.
The 10 pets in this campaign were photographed at an animal shelter in New Milford, Conn., by Sally Andersen-Bruce, and Derry Noyes served as the designer and art director. Just like Bindu Su, all the cats and dogs featured on the stamps are shelter pets who were rescued and adopted into loving homes.
On April 30, DeGeneres will join Potter for the official stamp dedication ceremony at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Hollywood, when the stamps will go on sale at post offices nationwide.
The stamps can be pre-ordered today by visiting usps.com/shop, stampstotherescue.com, or by calling 1.800.STAMP.24.
Why the USPS Wants You to Adopt
Through its Stamps to the Rescue campaign, the USPS wants more Americans to know about the millions of shelter pets that need good homes. Although thousands are euthanized, many of these cats and dogs would have made a wonderful pet, if only given the chance. Here's why the USPS wants you to adopt:
GET A GREAT PET. The animals up for adoption weren’t surrendered because they’re bad pets, but because their owners weren’t able to care for them. Shelter staff make sure the animals up for adoption are healthy, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered. And they do their best to make sure all animals are well-socialized before heading to a new home.
GET THE ANIMAL YOU WANT. Looking for a particular type of pet? Shelters have a great selection of animals. In fact, 25-30 percent of shelter pets are purebred. Or, contact a rescue group that focuses on the type of pet you’re looking for.
SAVE MONEY FOR KIBBLE. Shelters are non-profit organizations. Their fees, to cover the animal’s care, are often much less than the prices charged by pet stores and breeders. Plus, because most shelters spay and neuter pets, you’ll be saving on vet bills.
FEEL BETTER. Studies show spending time with an animal can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Plus, caring for a pet creates a loving relationship that lasts for years.
SAVE A LIFE OR NINE. Last, but certainly not least, you’ll be saving a pet’s life. Up to four million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized every year because shelters don’t have enough room for all the pets given to them.
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