Each year, more than 7 million kids change schools, which can be a harrowing, lonely experience. Knowing this, the CESAR brand will debut an advertisement called "First Day Friends," shining a spotlight on the power of pets to reduce stress, ease feelings of social anxiety and help kids connect with other students. The concept was created by advertising agency BBDO San Francisco. 

In addition to the hero creative, the CESAR brand partnered with the Steindorf STEAM School in San Jose, California to help ease the transition for elementary student Etienne with his dog Milo, and the Chelsea Academy in Front Royal, Virginia, to make sixth grader Nate's first day easier with his dog Buddy. These two real-life stories can be viewed at Cesar.com/firstdayfriends, along with tips for parents, teachers and administrators interested in learning more about ways to bring the benefits of pets to their own school.

"A major upheaval like changing schools can be an enormous challenge for students and affect their academic performance and emotional well-being," said Bernardine Clark, Head of School at the Chelsea Academy. "We love the idea of welcoming the dogs of our new students on their first day to help make their transition as seamless as possible."

Before his first day of school, sixth grader Etienne was apprehensive. "I was feeling really nervous and I felt like everyone was going to make fun of me because I was a new person here." Because Milo was there, Etienne was able to feel safe and comfortable. "[Milo] sometimes licks my hand and tells me that he's always there for me."

"'First Day Friends' highlights the remarkable abilities of pets and the positive impact they have on our lives," said Craig Neely, Vice President of Marketing at Mars Petcare. "This campaign aligns seamlessly with our BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program, as it shows how making cities and communities more pet-friendly can have an immediate and lasting impact. In this case, it's helping to make the first day at a new school less stressful and intimidating for a child."