SOURCE: Helen Woodward Animal Center

Helen Woodward Animal Center

October 24, 2016 17:01 ET

The 18th Annual Home 4 the Holidays Campaign, Presented by Blue Buffalo, Introduces Its 2016/2017 Poster Pup

Orphan North Carolina Pup Boards Airline for his Chance at Fame and a Forever Family

RANCHO SANTA FE, CA--(Marketwired - October 24, 2016) - As Helen Woodward Animal Center and Blue Buffalo launch the 18th annual Home 4 the Holidays campaign, an unlikely orphan canine is embracing his title as this year's Poster Pup. Abandoned and unwanted by his former owners, the handsome Shepherd-blend named Lenny was flown across the country from Raleigh, North Carolina to find his forever family in the Golden State. His hopeful journey is a shining example of the over million orphan pets who will search far-and-wide and land a forever home this year through the annual holiday campaign, which last year placed its 12 millionth orphan pet through an impressive group of partner organizations. The Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays campaign runs from October 1st, 2016 through January 2nd, 2017.

Home 4 the Holidays is an annual, international, three‐month pet‐adoption drive dedicated to finding happy, loving homes for orphan pets. The campaign began 18 years ago when Helen Woodward Animal Center president and CEO Mike Arms noticed that a majority of rescue facilities were closing their doors during the holiday season -- a primary time of year for family pet additions. With shelter doors closed, would-be adopters were resorting to shopping at pet stores or puppy mills for holiday pet purchases. Not only did this increase the business of non-reputable stores and backyard breeders, but Arms was aware that the staff at these businesses were rarely trained to assess the likelihood of a successful animal/family match, increasing the number of pets sent to shelters once the season was over.

The Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays campaign asks shelters to keep their doors open throughout the holiday months and provides marketing tools to get the word out. Blue Buffalo then provides all participating rescue facilities with "Adoption Kits" to gift to each new pet parent who takes home an orphan pet throughout the campaign. Through a collective group of over 4,000 pet adoption agencies, facilities and rescue‐groups, located throughout all 50 states and 26 countries, this campaign has become the largest pet adoption campaign on record, helping save over 12 million pets since 1999.

Campaign Poster Pup Lenny began his story like many of the orphan pets seeking homes through the holiday adoption drive. On September 8th, thousands of miles away from Helen Woodward Animal Center, he was picked up as a stray in Raleigh and taken to the Guilford County Animal Shelter. A microchip embedded in his back provided contact information for his owners who were reached three separate times to come and pick him up. Each time the owners said they would come for Lenny. They never did. Weeks passed and Lenny, who was terrified of the shelter, cowered in the back of his kennel, heartbroken and refusing to interact with anyone, making it impossible to put him on the adoption floor. Tammy Graves, president and founder of the Greensboro-based nonprofit animal rescue Haley Graves Foundation was moved by Lenny and had her animal trainer evaluate him. They discovered that Lenny had received obedience training. Out of the kennel, he responded to commands and was timid but friendly, inside the kennel he was devastated and unresponsive.

A Facebook story posted by Graves attracted the attention of Arms. After a discussion about Lenny's chances at finding a home, Arms offered to fly the dog to Helen Woodward Animal Center for a fresh start. The warm weather and plentiful volunteers available to interact and walk orphan pets around the 12 acre property seemed like just the right medicine to bring Lenny out of his shell. And with the 2016/2017 Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays Campaign kicking off, the timing couldn't have been more perfect.

"The marketing that Blue Buffalo puts behind this program each year is such a gift," said Arms. "All of the partner organizations benefit from getting more eyes on their adoptable pets. Lenny's story moved us enough to fly him all the way out here but there are thousands more like Lenny waiting in rescue facilities worldwide. These are incredible creatures with beautiful personalities that have just been hidden by the fear and sadness that life has dealt them. We want to see all of them find loving forever homes for the holidays."

There are many ways to get involved in the Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays campaign including adopting, and encouraging friends to adopt and then showing the world your newly adopted best friend by posting a photo at https://animalcenter.org/home-4-the-holidays/, or sharing on Twitter or Instagram with #IChoseToRescue and tagging @hwac and @bluebuffalo. All participants will be entered for a chance to win a year's supply of Blue Buffalo pet food for their pet and life-saving funds for the pet adoption organization their pet was adopted from. For more information about the campaign or to find out how to get involved, go to www.home4theholidays.org.

Helen Woodward Animal Center is located at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe. For more information about adopting Lenny or to see more available adoptables, log on to www.animalcenter.org.

About Home 4 the Holidays (H4TH)

As one of the most successful pet adoption programs in the world, H4TH partners with thousands of animal organizations dedicated to finding forever homes for orphan pets. Founded by Helen Woodward Animal Center and in partnership with Blue Buffalo this year, the program began in 1999 with just 14 participating animal shelters in San Diego County. Since it began 18 years ago, partner organizations in the Home 4 the Holidays campaign have helped more than 12 million families experience the joy of pet adoption, including more than 1.3 million pet adoptions last year alone. For more information, please visit www.home4theholidays.org.

About Helen Woodward Animal Center

Helen Woodward Animal Center is a private, non-profit organization where "people help animals and animals help people." Founded in 1972 in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., the Center provides services for more than 57,000 people and thousands of animals annually through adoptions, educational and therapeutic programs both onsite and throughout the community. Helen Woodward Animal Center is also the creator of the International Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption drive, the International Remember Me Thursday® campaign and The Business of Saving Lives Workshops, teaching the business of saving lives to animal welfare leaders from around the world. For more information, go to: www.animalcenter.org.

About Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo, based in Wilton, Conn., is the nation's leading natural pet food company, and provides natural foods and treats for dogs and cats under its BLUE Life Protection Formula, BLUE Wilderness, BLUE Basics, BLUE Freedom and BLUE Natural Veterinary Diet lines. Paying tribute to its founding mission, the Company, through the Blue Buffalo Foundation, is also a leading sponsor of pet cancer awareness and of critical studies of pet cancer, health, treatment and nutrition at top veterinary medical schools across the United States. For more information, visit www.BlueBuffalo.com.

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