Central Garden & Pet Brands and APPA Team Up with Major League Baseball
Central Garden & Pet brands AvoDerm Natural Pet Foods and Nylabone have partnered with several Major League Baseball teams this season on a campaign to promote pet welfare and raise awareness about the powerful and important bond between people and their pets. Central has struck deals with seven teams including the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks. The highlight of the program is a series of Bark at the Park events at Major League Baseball stadiums where dogs can join their families a baseball game.
Fans will be able to purchase tickets for themselves and their dogs, join in a pre-game parade around the field, enjoy pet friendly activities and free product samples. On average, about 700 dogs and their families at each game will participate in the events. The season-long program will include in-store messaging at local independent retailers, public service announcements, national PR and media, charitable fundraising and direct engagement with fans at ballparks across the country.
“There’s nothing more enjoyable than a night out with the family at a ballgame,” said Jim Heim, president of business development for Central Garden & Pet. “Most of the time though, that means leaving the family dog at home. Through our partnerships with Major League Baseball teams, that’s not the case for thousands of fans who, for one night at least, get to bring their entire family to a Bark at the Park game. It’s truly a wonderful experience and we are so proud to have been a part of this great program since 2005.”
Bark at the Park is also supported by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). The APPA’s Pets Add Life (PAL) campaign and Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) are featured components of the program’s key message that pets not only bring joy to our lives, but real value and scientifically proven benefits as well.
“Bark at the Park gives us a great platform to tell people what pet owners instinctively already know," said Bob Vetere, APPA president and CEO added. "Having pets adds so much to our lives. Research shows that pets provide enormous benefits to people’s physical and mental health, ability to learn and in some cases, even function on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s a specially trained service dog or a tank full of tropical fish, pets are important and valuable members of our families and our society. Bark at the Park helps showcase that in a fun and inclusive way.”
Hall of Fame manager and Chief Baseball Analyst and Advisor of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tony La Russa, will return as the program’s official Bark at the Park Ambassador and will help promote the program through a public service campaign at participating ballparks reminding fans of the win-win nature of having a pet and encouraging people to adopt a new pet or a pal for their current pet. La Russa is the co-founder and chairman of the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) who will again receive donations from Central Garden & Pet and the teams to support ARF’s many initiatives as part of the program.
“ARF is excited to partner with AvoDerm Natural Pet Foods, Nylabone and the American Pet Products Association again this season to help bring Bark at the Park events to thousands of families,” said La Russa. “Central Garden & Pet is a long-time supporter of ARF’s mission to save dogs and cats who have run out of time at public shelters and bring people and animals together. We are especially honored this year to highlight how pets are helping bring strength and comfort to our military veterans, many of whom suffer from post-traumatic stress, as a result of their service. Along with many other groups, ARF’s Pets for Vets program pairs specially trained dogs with service men and women to assist them with their transition back into civilian life. Our ties to baseball obviously run deep and our commitment to people saving animals and animals saving people has never been stronger.”
The first Bark at the Park event will take place at Dodger Stadium on May 20 when the Los Angeles Dodgers host the Miami Marlins and an estimated 600 dogs and their families. Tickets, which are expected to sell out quickly, for the first event and all the Bark at the Park games can be purchased through the teams’ official web sites.