If your company is like most in the petfood industry, it already donates product or money to animal shelters or rescue groups. But if you’re looking for new ways to support the greater pet community, several companies have new initiatives, along with a new model, petfood banks, patterned after food banks for humans.
Another source of ideas comes from Betsy Banks Saul, founder of Petfinder.com, an online portal that networks over 12,600 pet adoption groups across the US and Canada. At Petfood Forum 2012, Banks Saul gave the opening keynote, highlighting several issues currently facing the animal rescue community:
This is only about half of the “hot topics” Banks Saul addressed; others include animal hoarders, legislation against Pitbulls and similar dog breeds and transporting animals from areas with a surplus to areas that actually have a shortage of adoptable pets. Could the rules and strategies of supply and demand that work in many industries be applied here?
Above all, Banks Saul said, petfood manufacturers are in a unique position to promote and promulgate the principle that pets are family. Ensure it rings through in your products, packaging, marketing and communications. Use your reach and networks (traditional and social) to stretch the expectations of what it means to be a good pet parent and spotlight good citizens, pets and humans. Finally: “If you see something you like, allow yourself to start a movement,” she said.
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Potential adopters are generally surprised to find our pet listings are current.We are a home based welfare group, and there are very few resources for home based group startups. Things such as basic medical treatment for worms and fleas at intake, how to do a reference check, and how to identify the breed of a dog. There are resources and trade groups for physical shelters. We use training ideas and brochures from DogStarDaily.com
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