Pet companies embrace giving back
Philanthropy continues to be a key part in many pet food companies’ missions. While each company may have something specifically near and dear to them, they each do their best to help support both pets and humans.
American Humane Society’s Pups4Patriots program supports struggling veterans
The Pups4Patriots program works with dogs searching for their forever homes and trains them to become lifesaving service dogs for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury. The service dogs are provided to veterans at no cost to them.
Each dog is trained according to American Humane’s new service dog standards. These standards were developed by a team of scientists, veteran experts, mental health professionals, animal welfare specialists, veterinarians and dog trainers to maximize the effectiveness of the service dog as a treatment method.
Lloyd, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam as an infantryman, was paired with service dog Murphy, a Golden Retriever. | Courtesy American Humane
“Throughout our program this year, we’ve witnessed firsthand how service dogs can help many veterans diagnosed with PTSD — starting with the veteran having a reason to get out of bed in the morning,” said Amy Hrin, Ph.D., vice president, military affairs & special projects of American Humane. “Many of our veterans struggle with depression and isolation, and a service dog helps them get out of the house and start to live their lives again. With a service dog at their side, the veteran is able to do the things we take for granted like going to a crowded grocery store or attending their child’s soccer game.”
As for the future, the Pups4Patriots program is working to expand their services to not only include military heroes, but First Responders as well. The program has recently graduated their first firefighter/EMT.
Bundle x Joy actively assists women facing challenging circumstances
Bundle x Joy is committed to making a positive impact on the lives of women in need, not just being recognized as a company that offers dog products.
Aside from monetary donations, Bundle x Joy actively uses the BestyBnB platform which provides a safe night’s stay for pets belonging to women experiencing domestic violence.
“We want to empower women to break free from harmful situations, knowing that their pets are being looked after and taken care of so they can focus on getting the help they need,” said Jess Berger, CEO and founder of Bundle x Joy.
The company’s decision to collaborate with both The Arizona Pet Project and BestyBnB was rooted in maximizing their impact on women in need and their pets.
To Bundle x Joy, giving back exemplifies their commitment to spreading joy and making a meaningful difference in the lives of pets and their people. | Courtesy Bundle x Joy
“These partnerships equip Bundle x Joy with resources, networks and knowledge that we wouldn’t have access to on our own, ensuring a more comprehensive and effective support system for women facing challenging circumstances,” said Berger. “By aligning with organizations with their ‘feet on the ground,’ we intend to make a powerful statement about our commitment to creating positive change in the lives of women and their pets, while acknowledging the importance of collaboration and community in achieving this mission.”
In 2024 the company is dedicated to expanding their impact and forming an even more powerful alliance with both the Arizona Pet Project and BestyBnB and hoping to use each other’s strengths to amplify this mission.
“Our give-back initiatives are not just charitable gestures,” said Berger. “They are an extension of a heartfelt mission to deliver joy when it is needed most; during crises and especially during the holidays.”
ECHO Barkery creates employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities
Since 1975, ECHO has served as a nonprofit organization that provides support for adults with disabilities.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ECHO faced a challenge when overnight nearly every community worksite partner that helped to provide employment opportunities to over 100 of the individuals ECHO served closed their doors. The company was forced to pivot how they would provide employment opportunities.
“We realized that we had the power to create our own internal sources of jobs, ensuring that the individuals we serve could continue to thrive and contribute to their community,” said Peter Yuska, general manager of ECHO Barkery.
The future of ECHO Barkery is filled with continued dedication to its mission of creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities. | Courtesy ECHO Barkery
With assistance from private and public partners, ECHO Barkery was launched in December 2020.
Moving into the dog treat market was a no-brainer for the company, as many pets were being adopted.
“During the pandemic, many pets were being adopted, and there was even a term coined for it, ‘Covid Dog,’” said Yushka. “There was obviously a growing market and the barriers to entry were not insurmountable.”
ECHO Barkery has since grown and flourished, now employing nearly 20 individuals who would otherwise have a difficult time finding employment opportunities.
With the success of ECHO Barkery, ECHO the parent nonprofit has created additional internal businesses that employ dozens of individuals with disabilities.
The company has made significant strides by distributing its dog biscuits through over 100 wholesale retailers.
“The future holds the potential for further expansion into new markets and partnerships with additional retailers, both regionally and nationally,” said Yushka. “This increased visibility will not only benefit the organization, but also raise awareness about the importance of providing employment opportunities to people with disabilities.”
Natoo aids jaguar conservation in Brazil
The preservation of jaguars helps to conserve tropical forests, wetlands and other environments that are crucial to the well-being of humans and many other species, including pets.
“Pet food is a specific category that has a connection with families and brings harmony,” explained Fernando Maluf, vice president of international sales with Natoo.
For Natoo, which is based in Brazil, this preservation comes near and dear to the company’s heart.
Natoo partners with Onçafari, an organization that hopes to allow and guide jaguars to become more adapted to seeing humans and not viewing us as a threat to their existence.
Natoo helped build a re-wild sanctuary in the Pantanal region, a first-of-its-kind project. The sanctuary will train animals that have been domesticated by poachers and help them adapt to living in the wild again.
“Last year, our efforts raised over US$100,000 to support Onçafari and their latest re-wild effort, in which they helped set free domesticated jaguars,” said Maluf. “We’re also proud to have raised an additional US$200,000 to support the Jaguar Parade in New York City.”
At the Jaguar Parade NYC, the open-air art exhibition features sculptures designed by artists and celebrities to help raise funds and awareness regarding the urgent need to conserve jaguars and their habitats. | Courtesy Natooesy Bundle x Joy
Aside from their work with Onçafari and the Jaguar Parade, Natoo also supports: The Medicina Veterinária de Abrigos project promoting enhanced animal welfare and adoption rates; the Pró-Carnívoros Institute (Institute for the Conservation of Neotropical Carnivores) which conducts scientific research to ensure the long-term survival of Brazilian carnivores; and Casa Hope’s “Adopt a Bed” project, which ensures the permanence of a child and his companion during treatment.
“Having a Brazilian heritage, we feel that sharing values and views on wildlife from our country with U.S. consumers is a unique experience and is something we’re very passionate about,” said Maluf. “We’re proud to be at the forefront of philanthropy efforts in the pet industry and look forward to sharing more on our efforts as we continue to raise awareness in the U.S. market.”
SAVE.DOG donates profits to help at-risk dogs
“According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.1 million abandoned dogs enter U.S. shelters annually,” said John Thomas, founder and president of the SAVEDOG Project. “Fortunately, an estimated 2 million dogs are adopted and 710,000 are returned to their owners. Unfortunately, about 390,000 dogs are still euthanized each year in U.S. shelters due to overcrowding and lack of adoption demand in the local area. This is the population of at-risk homeless dogs we work to help.”
100% of SAVE.DOG product profits go to support dog rescue by funding the SAVEDOG Project, a rescue relocation program.
The SAVEDOG Project Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to transporting adoptable at-risk dogs from overcrowded shelters in southern states to rescue partners in northern states where they can be adopted into forever homes.
To date, the company has rescue-relocated over 5,000 at-risk homeless dogs.
In the future, SAVE.DOG hopes to continue their efforts and to reach more dogs.
“We want to double our annual impact in the next three years,” said Thomas, “rescue-transporting twice as many homeless dogs to places they’ll be adopted.”
Dogs from southern crowded shelters are transported to northern shelters with hopes for better chances of adoption. | Courtesy SAVE.DOG