When COVID-19 hit the United States, it changed the way we all lived. And not just for humans – shelter pets across the country quickly started to feel the effects, too.
We are so proud of our friends at BISSELL Pet Foundation® (BPF) and how quickly they adjusted some of their biggest lifesaving initiatives to comply with social distancing guidelines and stay at home orders. BPF didn’t just make changes to events that were already in the works, they planned and executed new events too, like an emergency Empty the Shelters® event. When so many plans started to become uncertain, one thing remained the same – BPF’s mission to find every shelter pet a forever home
Feed the Shelters
Through its network of 5,000 partners, BPF is aware of the struggle shelters face providing food for their pets. In March 2020, the group introduced a new fundraising campaign called Feed the Shelters During this bag-for-bag pet food donation program, BPF matched each $15 donation received. The total $30 donation with match covered two bags of food, which is enough food to feed a single shelter pet for two months. The campaign ran through the middle of April and funded the purchase of more than 4,700 bags of food, providing meals to over 364,000 hungry pets at 17 shelters throughout the country.
Empty the Shelters
BPF knew shelters would experience decreased adoption traffic, as well as smaller staff and volunteer availability when COVID-19 hit. The Foundation also prepared for the sad reality of a potential increase in people surrendering their pets back to shelters due to job loss or other financial constraints. The team stepped in to help and quickly organized an Empty the Shelters (ETS) Emergency Relief event. As with all Empty the Shelters events, adopters only pay a $25 adoption fee, and BPF covers the rest. But unlike previous ETS events, this one took place by appointment only. It started on March 18 and ended on April 8, and in just three weeks, it led to 3,325 adoptions and 247 new foster families!
A little more than a month later, BPF emptied the shelters again! Similar to the prior ETS promotion, the event took place by appointment only and led to an impressive 2,906 adoptions. The silver lining for homeless animals during COVID-19 was the increase in interest from families to foster a pet. Because of this, BPF decided also to cover adoption costs for foster families who ended up falling in love with the pet in their care and made the life-changing decision to adopt. This funded 350 adoptions for new “foster failures”.
June 2020 was set to be another big month for BPF. Unfortunately, due to social distancing and stay-at-home orders, the group had to cancel the BISSELL Blocktail Party. The popular Blocktail event is the Foundation’s largest annual fundraiser, providing critical financial support for shelters across the country. So, BISSELL Pet Foundation had to pivot, taking to the streets and organizing the “Best DOG-GONE Walk” in the country. Animal lovers from near and far were invited to take part in the first-ever Walktail walkathon. Participants could sign up to raise funds themselves or with a team. They were asked to walk a suggested 10 miles (at a safe distance!) over three days, all in hopes of raising $250,000. We loved seeing how creative people were with their walks and teams, including one couple who used Walktail to celebrate their canceled wedding shower, asking guests who would have attended their shower to donate to their Walktail team instead. When it was all said and done, a total of 457 walkers laced up and got moving, and 1,308 people donated to raise a grand total of $274,630, all for homeless pets.
BISSELL Pet Foundation worked so hard to help homeless pets find forever homes despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. We know BPF’s work is far from over, and it won’t be until every pet has a home. We’re proud to support them in that mission. That’s why every purchase of a BISSELL product helps save pets. When you buy a BISSELL product, you help save pets, too. We’re proud to design products that help make pet messes, odors and pet homelessness disappear. Be sure to follow BISSELL Pet Foundation on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with all the lifesaving work – and to see some cute pet snaps, too!