Furry Celebs in the Spotlight for National Campaign to Promote Pet Adoption

By on January 29, 2016 with 2 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

You’ve probably gotten at least a glimpse of these Internet celebrities in viral videos or social media feeds: Toast Meets World, a toothless King Charles puppy mill rescue who has 342,000 Instagram followers; Bento the Keyboard Cat, who plays that electronic instrument not quite as well as Elton John; and Hamilton Pug, who went from a shelter in Ohio to a posh new environment in a high-end New York City zip code.

Hamilton Pug went from a shelter in Ohio to a posh new environment in a high-end New York City zip code.

Hamilton Pug went from a shelter in Ohio to a posh new environment in a high-end New York City zip code. Photo by Zack Seckler

This morning, The Shelter Pet Project — a partnership between The HSUS, Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council — launched a new series of public service announcements featuring animals who never intended to become Internet stars but whose stories and personalities have been a big hit with so many people. They are serving as ambassadors for us in our quest to connect people with homeless animals and to save millions of lives.

My own dog Lily was about to be euthanized at a rural county shelter before a rescue group pulled her. She’d been passed over at adoption events time and again, as a shy, older beagle mix. But as soon as I saw her and her floppy ears, it was love at first sight, at least for me. Now I cannot imagine life without her. She makes me smile over and over every day, and I know that’s the effect so many millions of other dogs and cats have on their human companions.

The PSAs, titled “Start a Story. Adopt,” share the details of these now-famous pets and encourage people to build their own lifesaving narratives. We are also asking pet lovers nationwide to share stories of how their pet changed their life for the better, using the hashtag #StartAStoryAdopt, and to encourage potential adopters to visit TheShelterPetProject.org when they start searching for their next pet.

Bento the Keyboard Cat is a musical genius who plays the electronic keyboard.

Bento the Keyboard Cat is a musical genius who plays the electronic keyboard. Photo by Zack Seckler

Since it was launched in 2009, The Shelter Pet Project, the first national pet PSA campaign that was designed to change negative public perceptions of shelter pets, has reached millions of people through television, radio, print, and Internet advertising, and received more than $272 million in donated media. During that period, the euthanasia of shelter pets has declined by 12 percent.

Over the past year, there were more than 700,000 searches for pets available for adoption at the Shelter Pet Project website. Let’s take that number into the millions, and if we do, we can end the euthanasia crisis in American shelters. That’s a goal that every good person can endorse, and this Shelter Pet Project campaign is one more tool to help us get there.


Watch the ‘Start a Story. Adopt’ PSAs here »

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  1. Sally Palmer says:

    What a great way to educate people on our relationships with and responsibilities to animals. It’s clear, it’s fun, it’s moving. It shows we don’t need puppy mills to provide any more animals for pets, and the decrease in shelter euthanasia numbers is wonderful to hear.

  2. Cassidy Wassell says:

    I think its a great idea to spread the word on social media about dogs that are stuck in a puppy mill/ abused and waiting to be adopted to have a home with people that love them unconditionally. The dogs want to have potential for the right person to read about them and adopt them before it’s to late and the mill/shelters kill them. Once their in the mill/ kill shelter, they have only a certain number of days until they are unfortunately killed.
    It’s great to have an organization like The Shelter Pet project, aiming to help all dogs find a forever home and not to be stuck in the mills or in a bad place being abused. Having a past like some of these animals have had, the last thing an animal lover would want is for them to be euthanized.

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