Pixabay, girl holding dog

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the 22nd Annual Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays campaign has been deemed successful, according to officials. The campaign helped find homes for more than 1.2 million pets through more than 4,200 participating organizations.

“Since its beginnings in 1999, 18.6 million orphan pets have found their forever homes through the three-month-long adoption drive that runs from the beginning of October to the first week in January each year,” officials said. “Started by Helen Woodward Animal Center president and CEO Mike Arms, Blue Buffalo Home 4 The Holidays aims to encourage holiday pet seekers to adopt their next pet rather than turn to pet stores or backyard breeders.

“Last year, the campaign faced its challenges as COVID-19 forced many shelters to close and those that remained open were bound to strict adoption processes to maintain safety measures,” officials added. “The silver lining, however, was the number of families suddenly grounded at home and hoping for an orphan pet.”

Additionally, Greene County Animal Control in Ohio, one of the Home 4 the Holidays partners, received a $25,000 campaign grant, awarded for the most successful and creative use of promotion to encourage adoptions through the holiday season, according to officials.

“The Ohio shelter’s creative approach to promote adoptions included partnering with local businesses to sponsor pet fees, enlisting Girls Scouts to write letters to Santa from adoptable pets and sharing them on social media, and creating a virtual meet-and-greet studio to showcase orphan pets on local TV stations during the COVID-19 shutdowns,” officials said. “An additional tongue-in-cheek promotion fitting for the 2020 year, advertised a free roll of toilet paper with every adoption. Greene County Animal Control’s efforts resulted in 98 successful pet adoptions during the contest period.”

Two other rescue organizations were awarded $2,000 each for their efforts to promote orphan pets during the holiday season: Wags & Walks from Los Angeles and Ulster County SPCA out of New York.

In addition, the #IChoseToRescueContest got people buzzing about Home 4 the Holidays on social media, officials said. The contest asks participants to share why they chose to rescue and the impact their pets have had on their lives. Out of the 865 entries, three touching pets’ rescue stories were selected as winners, with each pet getting a one-year supply of Blue Buffalo pet food and $1,000 awarded to the pets’ former rescue organization—Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, Colo., Save Our Cats and Kittens (SOCKS) of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and Angelico Cat Rescue Inc. of Lauderhill, Fla.

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