Holiday pet adoption drive under way

Finding homes for 350,000 orphaned dogs and cats

SAN DIEGO—The holiday season is a time to spend at home with your family. The Iams Home 4 the Holidays program goal is that more than 350,000 families welcome furry friends in the Rockford area and around the globe during this year’s annual adoption drive.

Entering its eighth season, the Iams Home 4 the Holidays international pet adoption drive has placed more than 1 million lucky animals with loving families. This past December, the 1 millionth pet was adopted—a cat in Milton, Fla. Helen Woodward Animal Center started the Home 4 the Holidays adoption drive back in 1999 with 14 animal shelters in San Diego County. Since that time, it has grown to include shelters and rescue groups from around the globe with 1,941 shelters participating last year.

This year, Rockford-area shelters and Helen Woodward Animal Center will team with more than 2,000 animal shelters; Academy Award winner Diane Keaton; Kristen Bell, star of the hit TV show Veronica Mars; and Iams to encourage prospective pet parents to take a shelter pet home for the holidays. This year’s adoption drive takes place through Jan. 2, 2007, at Rockford-area shelters.

“I’m honored to be part of such an enormous lifesaving effort,” said Bell. “I applaud all the shelter and rescue groups who have made this program the success that it is. I encourage everyone to consider pet adoption, as I hope it will enhance your life as much as it has mine.” During her childhood, the actress took care of a steady stream of foster pets, providing a temporary home so they wouldn’t have to spend long stretches of time in kennels. Bell is an adoptive pet parent herself to three dogs, including a black Labrador who survived Hurricane Katrina.

Thanks to its record of success, Helen Woodward Animal Center and Iams were recognized this past year with the Gold Halo Award for Best Environmental/Wildlife Campaign from the Cause Marketing Forum. The Gold Halo Award recognizes programs that provide resources for nonprofit partners, move consumers to act out of a desire to do good and enrich lives. The Iams Home 4 the Holidays program delivers all of these by providing resources for participating shelters, asking consumers to consider pet adoption, and finding homes for more than a million orphaned pets.

“As a partner in the Iams Home 4 the Holidays campaign, we are proud to play a part in finding lifelong homes for so many deserving pets,” said Amy Newkirk, Iams external relations. “The human-pet bond is enhanced by taking the time to consider which animal best suits your wants and needs, and then provide them with a loving environment with appropriate training, a proper diet and exercise.”

During this year’s adoption drive, each new adopting family will receive an Iams adoption kit, containing food samples, coupons and important tips about pet care, behavior, training and nutrition.

Mike Arms, president of Helen Woodward Animal Center and founder of Iams Home 4 the Holidays, said: “This program improves the lives of orphaned pets and may provide your family with its most loyal member. There are millions of dogs and cats of every size, shape, color and age ready to become part of your family.”

Prospective pet parents can learn more about the Iams Home 4 the Holidays adoption drive by contacting Rockford-area shelters or by calling (800) 421-6546 or visiting or

Helen Woodward Animal Center is a private, nonprofit 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. Helen Woodward Animal Center is also the creator of the international Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption drive and the Animal Center Education Services program, teaching the business of saving lives to animal welfare leaders from around the world.

According to the Iams press release, participating shelters in this area are:

Precious Little Ones, 5942 Candover Rd., Loves Park; and

the Animal Shelter, 890 Valley Forge Trail, Rockton.

The Rock River Times asked Winnebago County Animal Services (WCAS) whether they had been contacted to participate in the program. WCAS Adoption Coordinator Donna Apgar said: “Winnebago County Animal Services recently signed up to participate. With a click to our Web site from IAMS Home 4 the Holidays promotion, I’m hoping it will make more people aware of animals for adoption at our facility. We are hoping to adopt more than 200 cats and over 100 dogs during the November-January promotion.”

From the Dec. 20-26, 2006, issue

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