MSPCA turns a phrase to raise awareness
The environmental movement has been urging us to “go green” for years by asking us to conserve energy, recycle, and live a more eco-friendly life. The initiative is widespread in mainstream culture and promoted by many organizations.
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) is putting a clever twist on the green movement in order to raise adoption rates and create awareness for shelters. For the second year in a row, the animals at the MSCPA’s Animal Care and Adoption Centers donned the traditional emerald garb of St. Patrick’s Day in the hope of finding their forever homes.
“In 2011, we put together a more aggressive promotion for adoption,” says Mike Keiley, the director of the MSPCA’s Noble Family Animal Care and Adoption Center. “We had to sort out what creative things we could do to stimulate people to adopt more animals and catch the attention of the public.”
Aside from getting dressed up in St. Paddy’s Day pet sweaters, wearing collars decked with clovers, and sleeping on green pet beds, the shelter animals are given festive additions to their names for some extra flair. From a horse named Susie O’Shea to a dog called Eddie McCann, the animals hope the luck of the Irish rubs off on them. Last year, the resident cow, Thunder, even dressed in full leprechaun regalia complete with a glittered green vest and a sparkly green top hat.
“We have some pretty unique animals up for adoption,” says Keiley. “I think a lot of people don’t know we have guinea pigs, horses, cows, and pigs.” The success of these and similar events is not measured solely on the day’s adoption numbers, because the impact and awareness goes far beyond the actual event.
“A lot of these promotions are more [about] trying to bring attention to this issue,” Keiley explains, referring to overpopulation. “We want to make sure these animals don’t sit around too long without a family.”
The MSPCA’s shelters are all open-admission—where no animal is turned away. Many of the shelters in the surrounding area are limited- or flexible-admission, meaning an animal has to meet certain health and behavior qualifications in order to be accepted.
“If an animal needs a cage, there is a cage here,” says Keiley. “We [believe] that animals need to be helped regardless of their situation and put in a safe place going forward.”
Keiley and the rest of the staff at the MSPCA are working to change the public perception of shelters, shelter workers, and—most importantly—shelter animals. He is hopeful that events like their St. Paddy’s Day celebration change what people think about shelters.
“We try to stay fairly light-hearted to show the fun and positive parts of adoption,” says Keiley. “We want people to know these animals are wonderful but are coming from a situation where their last family couldn’t keep them.”
Keiley urges everyone to visit the MSCPA’s bright and colorful shelters to find an animal that is right for you. “We want people to think of shelters as we think of them”—just a comfortable detour on the road to a forever home.
Additional information at MSPCA.org