WellPet Foundation: making a difference for pets in need

Established in 2007, the WellPet Foundation expands its care for pets and their owners into the world beyond pet food.

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WellPet focuses on service beyond the pet food it provides, encouraging employees to volunteer and make a difference in their communities. | Photo courtesy WellPet
WellPet focuses on service beyond the pet food it provides, encouraging employees to volunteer and make a difference in their communities. | Photo courtesy WellPet

WellPet’s philanthropic organization, the WellPet Foundation, was established in 2007 on the premise that the company can and wants to do more than supply premium pet food.

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The WellPet Foundation was established in 2007 to expand the company’s mission of taking care of pets and the people who love them. | Courtesy WellPet Foundation

“It really was because we’re a team of people who are remarkably passionate about what we do,” says Chanda Leary-Coutu, director of consumer experience at WellPet. “It encompasses not just giving products, which we do a lot of, but also donating our time and our money. It’s really one of my favorite parts of my job, personally, because it’s so great to be able to help people in our communities, and it’s really why we’re all here. We’re all pet parents ourselves, so helping pets who need it is extremely important to us.”

The Foundation’s scope

The WellPet Foundation has several facets, supporting organizations and activities that “promote the power of natural nutrition and the benefits of healthy, active lifestyles.” WellPet, through the Foundation, financially supports non-profit organizations that encourage healthy lifestyles for pets through research, education and action.

“Honoring groups that are dedicated to the well-being of dogs and cats reflects our fundamental responsibility to help pets thrive,” says Camelle Kent, CEO of WellPet. “In addition to our national company programs, there are many local organizations that have captured the hearts of our employees and play important roles in the communities we share with our pets. By and large, the majority of our charitable and sponsorship activities take place in the local communities where our employees live and work.”

All of this, according to the company, serves to put a face to WellPet — a face that consumers are finding increasingly important to their willingness to do business with a brand.

“One of the things that I think is important is, we see when we do research with millennials that they really want to buy products from companies they feel have the same values and the same integrity and ethics that they have,” says Kent. “And so, for us, it’s really important that not only do people know who we are as a company, and who the faces and people working to bring them their pet food are, but that we’re reaching out and doing more in our community.”

Making a difference: WellPet Foundation’s recent philanthropic efforts

The Foundation has always given financial assistance to organizations it partners with, but those involved want to do much more than cut checks. As such, WellPet has been focusing on getting its people where they can do the most good, giving time as well as money.

For example, during Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Houston, Texas, USA area in August 2017, the WellPet Foundation donated US$10,000 to be split between the American Red Cross and Austin Pets Alive, in addition to matching employee contributions up to US$5,000. But the company also sent a team of nine volunteers to Houston to help reconnect found pets with their families. They assisted with dog and cat care support, provided general operations support, served as greeters and volunteer coordinators, and helped on-site vets and vet techs. WellPet distributed over 100 pallets of food and treats to various organizations within the impacted areas who took in displaced pets, such as Austin Pets Alive, Fort Bend County Animal Services, Richmond SPCA and Cassie’s Place, and provided reimbursement and donated food to employees who adopted or fostered pets displaced by the storm.

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When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, the WellPet Foundation sent people as well as money to assist with displaced pets waiting for their owners to find them. | Photo courtesy WellPet

“Our team was down there for four days, looking after the animals, giving hugs and cuddles, taking them for walks, building their crates, making sure they were well fed and really just getting them ready to be reunited with their pet parents,” says Kent. “I think it was an amazing experience for our team, but also reflects more about who I want us to be as a company.”

WellPet also held a “Volunteer Day,” where the company closed its doors and went out into the community to help wherever they might be needed.

“We all went out to local farms and shelters in our community here in Massachusetts,” says Kent.  “We did cleaning, painting, weeding, planting, just had everybody out working hand-in-hand, helping tidy up and get people ready for winter and make spaces more enjoyable for dogs and cats and the environment.”

Overall, WellPet just wants to use its influence to make a positive impact. “It’s why we come to work every day,” says Leary-Coutu. “Not just to make great products, but to help our communities and the pets in our communities.”

 

For the full companion article, "WellPet: focus on freeze-dried, raw meat premium pet food,” published in the January 2018 issue of Petfood Industry magazine, see www.PetfoodIndustry.com/articles/6792.

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