The program last year fostered the adoption of nearly 1.3 million pets—nine per minute–and the gift of an estimated 5 million meals, the sponsor reported. More than 7 million pets have found a home since the campaign began in 1999.
Thousands of shelters and rescue organizations worldwide are expected to participate in the campaign, which runs through Jan. 2, 2013.
The program got its start under Mike Arms, president of the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego, and 14 participating animal shelters.
“Originally, I just wanted to bring attention to the beautiful orphan pets that were waiting in animal shelters for new homes,” Arms says. “Knowing that this is the busiest time of the year for families to bring pets into their homes, I wanted them to come to us instead of supporting” other sources.
Home 4 the Holidays offers multiple ways for people to help:
- Digital Dish Drive uses Iams’ Facebook page to showcase individual dogs and cats available for adoption. During scheduled “feeding” times, every Facebook “Like” or “Share” results in a meal donation to a shelter. The beneficiary in October is Bideawee, a century-old organization that serves metropolitan New York and Long Island. Facebook users also can raise food for other partner animal organizations.
- The Iams Bags 4 Bowls program takes place at pet retailers. For every specially marked package of Iams dog food purchased, Iams donates a bowl of food to a participating animal organization.
- The Iams Lifelong Rewards program provides up to 5 pounds of food to a participating pet adoption center when someone adopts an animal and registers at the shelter or at Iams.com.
Technology has allowed Home 4 the Holidays to engage pet lovers and spread the word much easier than in 1999, Arms says.
“I strongly feel that without modern technology such as the Internet and digital technology, that instead of adopting out collectively 7 million orphan pets since the inception in 1999, the results would have only been about 3.5 million.”