By Tatiana Garrett
The Anti-Cruelty Society has been named among 50 shelters from across the country to compete in the ASPCA Rachel Ray $100K Challenge! The competition is all about encouraging shelters to save more lives than they have before through adoptions and reuniting lost pets with their families. The selected organizations will be competing for $100,000, but the real winners will be the cats and dogs that find their forever homes. 2014 will be the 5th (and reports say last) year of the challenge.
The Society is the only shelter in Chicago competing in the challenge. Staff want to see the entire Windy City rally together to help the cats and dogs find their “sweet homes in Chicago.”
The Anti-Cruelty Society is buzzing with excitement, but the tasks ahead will be a tall order. The goal to qualify for the grand prize is to find homes for more than 2,100 cats and dogs in just 3 months!
There is no solid adoption number to win the challenge. It’s all about each shelter looking at their adoptions for June – August of 2013 and going above and beyond to surpass those numbers. In order to win $5,000, the Chicago shelter would have to adopt a minimum of 300 more animals in June, July, and August than they did last year in the same 3 months. Last year’s ASPCA $100K Challenge winners saved 1,000 additional lives––the bar has been set… high.
At the end of the day, it’s all for the animals––they will be the real winners of the challenge. The competing shelters are ready to pull out all the stops and get creative to place animals in loving forever homes, including educational campaigns on the benefits of pet caregiving, plenty of help for pet parents to keep the fur babies in their forever homes, and psychic channeling to find anyone considering a pet (okay, the last one is a joke––maybe).
Enthusiasm will be key; regardless of the final adoption numbers, The Anti-Cruelty Society will have a shot at winning a $25,000 Community Engagement Award based on how they connect with the community via events (think adopt-a-thons, special promotions, billboards, school programs, street festivals, shelter dogs juggling at birthday parties (hey, it could happen), you name it! This prize comes through a voting component from August 15-31 where The Anti-Cruelty Society will need to get all Chicago animal lovers to show their support by voting online.
Stay tuned for Challenge Kick-Off events the first week of June!
Tatiana Garrett grew up with Borzoi, rescued dogs, cats, hamsters, parrots, rabbits, guinea pigs, and an iguana… just to name a few pets. She began her professional career with animals in 1995 at Brookfield Zoo. She has studied wild dolphins in Australia and rescued wildlife in Florida, but people are truly at the heart of her work. If it walks, hops, or slithers, Tatiana cares about it. She currently oversees the Humane Education programs at The Anti-Cruelty Society, hosts “Chicago Tails“, and writes “Tatiana’s Tails“. Twitter: @TatianaTails312.