A $20,000 winner in the 2008 Maddie’s Fund Marketing Competition; submitted by Animal Friends, Pittsburgh, Pa.
About The Red Collar Society
The Red Collar Society was established in April 2007 to celebrate the adopters of dogs over five, cats over six and rabbits over three. Like their human counterparts, these older animals are ready to put the past behind them and enjoy life. Many have been with one human or family all their lives, until death, illness or an unavoidable circumstance leads to an untimely separation. Others have stories well never know, discovered as strays or victims of unfortunate situations. All have endured some hard knocks and often come out of it grateful just to be alive and wanting to feel secure and loved. The Red Collar Society is intended to remind the community that, just as senior humans have a lot of life left in them, senior pets do as well. Taking its name from the Red Hat Society, where members can be seen wearing flamboyant red hats to their many social gatherings, we felt it was appropriate to celebrate in similar fashion our mature animals who have found a forever home, including providing them with a red tag for their collar to show the world that age is a state of mind.
Age, as we know, is just a state of mind. And Animal Friends is hoping to plant a seed in the minds and hearts that will encourage individuals to consider adopting a pet whos been around the block a few times – and is ready to go again! Often, older animals make the most delightful pets. They have sown their wild oats, climbed the furniture, scratched the curtains and had their housetraining accidents. They have lived and learned. Theyre ready to settle down in a loving home and experience the happiness and security they so richly deserve. And unlike youngsters whose still-developing personalities can be a mystery, its easier to identify their characteristics and select a pet that will fit perfectly into the family. Theyll tell you whether they like children and other animals, and there are fewer unpleasant surprises.
Our Red Collar logo appears on the cages of animals eligible for membership. Many of our Red Collar animals have “sponsored adoptions” through the generosity of our supporters and a local foundation. Adopters of Animal Friends Red Collar animals also receive special benefits. A letter, proclamation and a coupon for discounts in our on-site retail shop will accompany the new pet to celebrate a new start. Adopters will also be mentioned in Animal Friends publications as the heroes they are, for providing a forever home to an animal who truly needs a second chance. In addition, our Humane Education Department provides monthly opportunities for fellow Red Collar Society members to get together and socialize.
Animal Friends Communications Department takes creative marketing approaches to feature these Red Collar Society and their animals. All of our marketing efforts are done in house by a talented group of staff who use a number of vehicles to promote the program. The Red Collar program is featured in our bi-monthly newsletter, The Petsburgh Press, which has a circulation of over 40,000. Each issue features older animals that are available for adoption in addition to a feature story about a member of the Red Collar Society with his or her new owner. The program is also featured on the Animal Friends Web site, in our bi-annual direct mail piece that is sent to over 5,000 homes, on local radio stations, and in the Undercover Club Newsletter, a monthly newspaper geared toward senior citizens. The Red Collar Society has also received national attention through a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal, which led to a feature on NBCs “Today Show.”
Since its inception in April 2007, we can say with certainty that the Red Collar Society has found forever homes for 502 animals from an estimated 700 total potential members.