2019 Clear the Shelters event results in more than 135,000 pet adoptions

August 22, 2019

Clear the Shelters
A woman and her adopted dog at Clear the Shelters in the San Francisco Bay Area (Photo courtesy of NBCUniversal)

The following is a press release from NBCUniversal:

NBC and Telemundo owned stations’ Clear the Shelters™ 2019 campaign resulted in the adoption of more than 135,000 pets – and counting – as shelters continue to report in. The campaign spanned from July 27, 2019 to August 17, 2019. This year’s pet adoption drive was held in more than 1,900 communities in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Clear The Shelters 2019 included the participation of more than 1,982 animal shelters/rescues, 98 NBC and Telemundo owned and affiliated stations, as well as several returning sponsors, and new partners. Clear the Shelters™ is spearheaded by NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal. Since 2015, more than 385,000 pets – and counting – have found new homes through NBC and Telemundo stations’ Clear The Shelters initiative.

“This year’s campaign exceeded all of our expectations and resulted in a record number of pet adoptions since we launched our initiative in 2015. We are incredibly thankful to our national sponsors Cat’s Pride and Hill’s Pet Nutrition, shelters/rescues and our NBCUniversal family for the outpouring of support that helped to create awareness about pets living in shelters, so they could find new homes,” said Valari Staab, President, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations. “To the thousands of people that supported our social media day on August 17, thank you for using your voices and influence to create a social media movement that trended nationally and helped thousands of pets get a new chance at life. Congratulations to all the families that adopted a pet during Clear The Shelters 2019. I look forward to making Clear The Shelters Day 2020 another special day for deserving animals and their loving families.”

“Clear the Shelters is one of our favorite days of the year and this year was our best year yet! We had a record day with the most adoptions we’ve ever done in one day, and also found homes for animals like the Snow the cat, who was with us for 177 days and Teddy, the deaf dog who was looking for a family that was able to work with his special needs. A huge thank you to all the folks who adopted, our online supporters who helped us get the word out about Teddy and all of our pets, and to NBC and Telemundo stations for putting on this amazing event each year. We can’t wait to be a part of Clear the Shelters 2020,” added Lewis Checchia, Executive Director for Morris Animal Refuge.

Pets of all types living in shelters for months and even years found new homes during Clear The Shelters 2019. Teddy, a catahoula leopard dog mix who is deaf, was adopted from the Morris Animal Refuge by a family in Philadelphia. The family learned about the pup on social media and knew they had found their perfect pet because their daughter is also Deaf. In Austin, Lamb, a five-year old pit-bull living at the Austin Humane Society since Hurricane Harvey impacted the area in 2017, found his new home after his new pet parent fell in love with him. In Connecticut, two senior cats who became homeless earlier this summer after their owner died, found new homes, together. Bob, a 4 1/2-month-old White Crested Black Polish rooster was also adopted and will join seven hens in his new home in Rhode Island.

NBC and Telemundo owned stations’ Clear The Shelters 2019 campaign featured several returning and new partnerships including repeat national sponsors Cat’s Pride and Hill’s Pet Nutrition, as well as PEOPLE – the leading entertainment news brand, and The Dodo, the #1 digital media brand for animal people, and the #1 most engaged with media brand in the world on mobile, both returning as the campaign’s exclusive content partners. New partnerships for 2019 included the Michelson Found Animals Foundation – a non-profit committed to saving pets and enriching lives – teamed up with NBC/Telemundo owned stations earlier this year to ‘Fund The Shelters’ with nearly $1.6 million in advance of August 17. WeRescue app also joined the campaign by helping users find Clear The Shelters adoptable pets directly from their mobile device, while GreaterGood.org presented $10,000 grants to select shelters to help pets living in facilities for years, find new homes. iHeartDogs.com donated needed pet supplies to select shelters.

The NBC and Telemundo owned stations’ Clear The Shelters Facebook posts reached more than 19 million users throughout the campaign. The #ClearTheShelters hashtag trended on Twitter nationally and in New York, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego, Boston and Washington, D.C. on August 17. Online, NBC and Telemundo-owned stations websites and apps generated a combined total of 1.4 million-page views from July 17 to August 17 for content dedicated to the Clear The Shelters / Desocupar Los Albergues campaign, with nearly half a million-page views generated on August 17.

Celebrities and personalities took to social media on August 17 to support NBC/Telemundo stations’ #ClearTheShelters social media day including Ellen DeGeneres, E!’s Kristin Cavallari, Stephanie Beatriz and Joel McKinnon Miller of Brooklyn 99, Casey Tutton of Chicago Med, Kal Penn, Diana Maria Rivas and Samba Schutte of Sunnyside, Lauren Ash of Superstore, JR Ramirez of Manifest, William Jackson Parker of The Good Place, Angela Kinsey of The Office, Mandy Moore and Chris Sullivan of This Is Us, Mario Lopez, Leslie Grossman of American Horror Story, Alysia Reiner of Orange is the New Black, Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser, as well as actors Kristin Davis and Lisa Ann Walter, and Telemundo’s Rashel Diaz and Dra. Maria Polo, among many others.

For more information about NBC and Telemundo owned stations’ Clear The Shelters campaign, visit ClearTheShelters.com / DesocuparLosAlbergues.com. Follow the effort on Twitter @ClearTheShelter, and on social media using the hashtags #ClearTheShelters and #DesocuparLosAlbergues.

About NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations
NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations is the division of NBCUniversal that includes 42 NBC and Telemundo local television stations serving 30 markets, a regional news network and their associated websites and digital platforms, as well as a group of out-of-home properties, a production company, an in-house marketing and promotions company and two national multicast networks, COZI TV and TeleXitos. The local stations, which can be viewed in 38 percent of U.S. homes and in Puerto Rico, produce and deliver their local communities compelling and unique local news, real-time weather forecasts, consumer and investigative reports and entertainment programming across all platforms to help keep their English and Spanish-speaking audiences informed anytime and anywhere.

About Clear The Shelters
Clear The Shelters™ / Desocupar Los Albergues® is an annual, nationwide pet adoption campaign that is spearheaded by NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal. Every year, NBCUniversal’s TV stations, plus NBC and Telemundo affiliated stations partner with local animal shelters and rescues in their communities to host Clear The Shelters events. NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ Clear The Shelters campaign was inspired by a 2014 North Texas pet adoption event hosted by NBC 5 / KXAS and Telemundo 39 / KXTX and dozens of area shelters that resulted in the most adopted pets in one day for North Texas. Since 2015, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ Clear The Shelters pet adoption campaign has inspired thousands of families all across the country to open their homes and hearts to shelter pets.

Kelly Clarkson named host of 2019 Clear the Shelters special

August 2, 2019

Kelly Clarkson (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

The following is a press release from NBCUniversal:

NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal, today announced that Kelly Clarkson will host the special “Clear The Shelters” show that will air on NBC stations beginning August 23 (check local listings). The show will recap this year’s popular nationwide pet adoption campaign. Launching in July and culminating with Clear The Shelters day Saturday, August 17, more than 1,400 animal shelters/rescues in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, will reduce or waive pet adoption fees to help families and individuals adopt a pet. Visit cleartheshelters.com to access a list of participating shelters/rescues.

“Clear The Shelters is a summer tradition that communities everywhere look forward to. We’re excited for Kelly to host our special ‘Clear The Shelters’ show to help us celebrate all the fun and heartwarming adoption stories from our 2019 campaign. We’re proud to join with animal shelters and rescues, as well as our affiliate station partners and sponsors, to present this annual event that celebrates animals and helps shelters match families with their new furry best friend,” said Valari Staab, President, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations.

Kelly Clarkson is among the most popular artists of this era. At NBC, Clarkson serves as a coach for NBC’s “The Voice.” She will host her own daytime program, “The Kelly Clarkson Show” this fall, premiering in national syndication on September 9, 2019. The Texas-born, singer-songwriter and Grammy Award-winning artist first came to fame in 2002 as the winner of the inaugural season of “American Idol.” Clarkson’s debut single, “A Moment Like This,” followed and quickly went to #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, ultimately ranking as the year’s best-selling single in the U.S. Since then, she’s released eight studio albums, which have resulted in worldwide sales of more than 25 million albums, and 36 million singles.

“I am a huge animal lover and can tell you from personal experience that when you open your heart and home to a rescue animal, your pet will thank you every single day of its life. It’s the most beautiful and purest form of unconditional love you can ever have. I’m so excited for people to discover this feeling when they find their perfect pet on August 17, and to tell all the amazing pet adoption stories from this year’s Clear The Shelter’s campaign,” added Clarkson.

Launched nationally in 2015, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ Clear The Shelters campaign has inspired thousands of families to adopt pets living in shelters and rescues. During Clear The Shelters 2018, pets of all types were adopted including ‘Bailey’ a long-haired Chihuahua-mix puppy from Orange County, CA, who was adopted by a veteran and his family. In New Hampshire, ‘Baby,’ a 15-year old senior cat was adopted after being a hospice resident at a Massachusetts shelter. One year later, Baby is off her medications and showers her new family with unconditional love. In Texas, ‘Pepperjack’ a yellow Labrador was adopted and renamed ‘Jake’ after his family read about him in PEOPLE magazine’s special Clear The Shelters issue. Today, ‘Jake’ is enjoying his new life.

About NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations
NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations is the division of NBCUniversal that includes 42 NBC and Telemundo local television stations serving 30 markets, a regional news network and their associated websites and digital platforms, as well as a group of out-of-home properties, a production company, an in-house marketing and promotions company and two national multicast networks, COZI TV and TeleXitos. The local stations, which can be viewed in 38 percent of U.S. homes and in Puerto Rico, produce and deliver their local communities compelling and unique local news, real-time weather forecasts, consumer and investigative reports and entertainment programming across all platforms to help keep their English and Spanish-speaking audiences informed anytime and anywhere.

About Clear The Shelters
Clear The Shelters™ / Desocupar Los Albergues® is an annual, nationwide pet adoption campaign that is spearheaded by NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal. Every year, NBCUniversal’s TV stations, plus NBC and Telemundo affiliated stations partner with local animal shelters and rescues in their communities to host Clear The Shelters events. NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ Clear The Shelters campaign was inspired by a 2014 North Texas pet adoption event hosted by NBC 5 / KXAS and Telemundo 39 / KXTX and dozens of area shelters that resulted in the most adopted pets in one day for North Texas. Since 2015, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ Clear The Shelters pet adoption campaign has inspired thousands of families all across the country to open their homes and hearts to shelter pets, resulting in more than a quarter million pets finding new homes. Visit ClearTheShelters.com / DesocuparLosAlbergues.com for more information. Follow the effort on Twitter @ClearTheShelter, and on social media using the hashtags #ClearTheShelters and #DesocuparLosAlbergues.

2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards: 7 finalists announced; public voting opens

July 29, 2019

The following is a press release from American Humane:

America has spoken and based on some 900,000 votes cast by animal lovers across the country and a celebrity panel of dog lovers and experts, seven remarkable canines have been named finalists in the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and Zoetis, and broadcast nationally on Hallmark Channel.  The two-hour special, now in its ninth year, will be aired this fall on October 23 at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT in conjunction with the network’s pet adoption advocacy initiative, Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After, which aims to empty shelters and end this country’s epidemic of pet homelessness.

These heroic canines each took top honors in their individual categories from a field of 360 nominees and now a combination of America’s voters and a panel of celebrity judges will determine which dog will be named the 2019 American Hero Dog. The public is invited to submit one vote per day through September 9 at www.herodogawards.org. The seven finalists will get to travel to Los Angeles to take part in the star-studded Hero Dog Awards gala on October 5 at The Beverly Hilton.

Meet the seven remarkable Hero Dog Awards finalists
(as described by their owners and handlers)

Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs category, sponsored by Zoetis, makers of Simparica® (sarolaner)

(Photo courtesy of American Humane)

“Dax” from Libertyville, IL Dax began his successful career with the Lake County (IL) Sheriff’s Office almost four years ago. He has been directly responsible for tracking and successfully apprehending over 70 suspects. Dax has also been accountable for tracking and finding dozens of missing or endangered children and adults. Dax has been used for over 100 narcotic searches resulting in the seizure of over 17 kilos of cocaine, heroin and other narcotics, hundreds of pounds of cannabis, approximately three quarters of a million dollars in currency, dozens of firearms, and vehicles. Dax’s top deployments in 2018 included tracking and locating a dangerous domestic violence offender who forced his way into a home and then battered and choked a woman until she lost consciousness; capturing a robbery suspect even after the offender struck Dax repeatedly; and, apprehending a wanted fugitive (who was allegedly armed) hiding in the attic of a home covered in fiberglass insulation. Dax saved the lives of citizens and deputies in late 2018 when he tracked a fugitive who had allegedly committed a burglary, was in the process of stealing a vehicle from its owner, and then brandished a gun at pursuing deputies. The fugitive was charged with attempted murder and several other felonies after being located by Dax. Dax’s tireless drive, dedication to training, love for police work, and incredible success stories have gained him thousands of supporters from across the country. Dax has proven to be an outstanding K9 hero!

Shelter Dogs category, sponsored by Hallmark Channel

(Photo courtesy of American Humane)

“Gus” from Houston, TX Gus was found walking aimlessly down a busy street with a head so severely swollen, you couldn’t tell he was a dog. A shoelace was tied so tightly on him that it sliced through his flesh in his neck almost to the bone. Through his recovery he gained thousands of well-wishers from all over the country and other countries, as well. He brought attention to the plight of homeless animals and how they suffer. His good nature and compliance through all his very difficult procedures and surgeries have given people hope and something to cheer for. He has been the glue for people from all over the world who look to him for some good in this seemingly uncaring climate. His innocence and sweetness transcend cultural differences and indifference to the homeless dog crisis in Houston and other cities facing the same situation. Because of him and his message, more people are fostering and adopting dogs from shelters, as well as stopping to help the stray dog that is only looking for something to eat and a gentle touch. People are taking notice and getting more involved in animal welfare. I believe Gus came to us with a specific purpose and mission. He is the tender soul who opens hearts and helps people know that there are more Gusses out there who are just as special as he is, and that we all can do something to help and not just turn away. #gusstrong #iamgus

Guide/Hearing Dogs category, sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food

(Photo courtesy of American Humane)

“Leader Dog Lady” from Hamilton, MII’m legally blind. Leader Dog Lady is my guide dog. My world has changed so much since Lady came into my life. Leader Dog Lady is my eyes and she guides me to wherever I need to go and helps me with whatever I need to do. We go on a plane once or twice a year. I love life because I have Leader Dog Lady by my side. I’m more independent and much more confident. I see the world through Leader Dog Lady’s eyes and it’s a world where I set goals for us for the year. Friends and family always ask what Leader Dog Lady and my adventures are going to be. My life is busy because of Lady. We educate people about Leader Dogs for the Blind, go to Lions Club conventions to promote Leader Dogs for the Blind. We attend big events and fundraisers for this wonderful organization. July will be our four-year anniversary as a team. Leader Dog Lady loves to work and I feel safe crossing busy intersections, getting on a plane, or walking three miles. She goes to work with me and my co-workers love her. There is nothing we can’t do. Leader Dog Lady is so smart and she’s a very beautiful Black Lab. When out in public, people are looking at Leader Dog Lady and not asking me a ton of questions about my vision. Because of Lady I’m more social and more comfortable. I love and trust her more than people. To be a good working team, this is very important. I am nominating Leader Dog Lady for Hero Dog. She is my HERO!!

Military Dogs category, sponsored by Zoetis, makers of Apoquel® (oclacitinib tablet)

(Photo courtesy of American Humane)

“Sgt. Yeager” from Cary, NC Sergeant Yeager honorably performed combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Improvised Explosive Detection Dog with the United States Marine Corps. Sgt. Yeager has been credited with detecting the locations of dozens of explosive devices. During his three combat tours, Sgt. Yeager participated in over 100 patrols, and was tasked with clearing routes for his fellow Marines. On April 12, 2012, Sgt. Yeager suffered shrapnel wounds from an IED that caused him to lose part of his ear. He was awarded the Purple Heart for his injuries. Unfortunately, the same explosion took the life of his handler, Lance Corporal Abraham Tarwoe. The pair was virtuously trying to protect the other Marines in the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Fellow Marines attest to the unbreakable bond between Tarwoe and Sgt. Yeager. After the attack, Sgt. Yeager was transported back to the U.S. and treated for his injuries until he was stable enough to retire from the USMC. Lance Corporal Tarwoe’s widow was unable to adopt Sgt. Yeager as she would now be raising their infant son alone. Sgt. Yeager was adopted by another Marine Corps family. Today, at 12 years of age, Sgt. Yeager is beginning to show signs of aging, though his spirit is undiminished. Despite his trials and witnessing acts of terrorism, Yeager remains a sweet dog with an infinitely joyful disposition. He has settled in North Carolina with his family, where he is an ambassador for the Project K-9 Hero Foundation, which pays 100% of his medical bills from his sustained injuries.

Search and Rescue Dogs category, sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food

(Photo courtesy of American Humane)

“Piglet” from Lancaster, CA Piglet is the best friend of Winnie The Pooh. But there’s another “Piglet” in town: an eight-year-old Catahoula Leopard Dog. This Piglet, a veteran search and rescue dog, is trained and certified to help families in arduous times. Nothing could have prepared Piglet and handler Lori Wells for the inconceivable conditions on a recent deployment. Called to aid in the aftermath of the horrific “Camp Fire” in Paradise, California, this little dog deployed to do all she could to help. Piglet provides a vital service. The value of her work in bringing answers to grieving families is immeasurable. She assists in locating people on land and in water. Once, human searchers spent seven days combing a lake with no luck. On day eight, Piglet deployed and located the subject. She helped the coroner by locating enough bones to reconstruct and positively identify the individual. Lori and Piglet donate hundreds of volunteer hours annually and depart for each call-out with enthusiasm. Traveling thousands of miles a year does not diminish Piglet’s bubbly personality and happy-go-lucky attitude. In her off hours, she loves making friends. At events she’s always a crowd-pleaser with a wagging tail, signature “smile,” and endless kisses. Perhaps this is what makes Piglet a unique search and rescue dog. Her famous namesake’s creator was said to have shared advice appropriate for those survivors who this dedicated K9 helps reunite: “If there ever comes a time when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”

Service Dogs category, sponsored by Lulu’s Fund

(Photo courtesy of American Humane)

“Alice” from Nicholasville, KY In 2015, Antonio was a normal, playful nine-year old who loved soccer and his friends. Then, on a normal day, while riding in the back of his parents’ SUV with his younger brothers on the way to a family dinner, a man fired three to five bullets into their car and shot him in the head. Since that day Antonio has been fighting the battle of a lifetime. He spent 18 days in a coma and has endured five brain surgeries. Nearly four years later, an artificial skull covers half of Antonio’s brain, because a seizure causing a fall could be fatal. Antonio not only battles seizures, but migraines, balance issues, spells and more. In October of 2016, Antonio was paired with his service dog, Alice, from Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs in Florida. His mom, Tara, says, “Alice is a hero in our eyes, because without her, Antonio would not be able to do the simple things in life that we take for granted.” Going to school, the store, or even just a walk outside would be impossible for him. Never once has Alice failed to alert to an oncoming seizure or “spell” and she assists him with his balance issues. Alice has given Antonio the chance at a new normal life he couldn’t have had without her. She is a loyal and loving hero every day. She’s saved Antonio’s life many times. If that’s not a hero, I don’t know what is. She is his guardian angel and helps him live his new normal to the fullest extent possible.

Therapy Dogs category

(Photo courtesy of American Humane)

“Jeanie” from Lake Charles, LA This three-legged rescue went from being homeless and crippled to becoming a certified therapy dog. Jeanie was rescued from a rural area in south Louisiana when she was five months old and was adopted after a deformed front leg was removed by a local vet. Jeanie works for the Children’s Advocacy Center, where she comforts children who are questioned by detectives working on physical and sexual abuse cases, violent crimes, and even homicides. She and her owner volunteer at hospitals, schools, nursing homes, reading programs, and veterans’ homes, where Jeanie bonds with fellow amputees. Jeanie attends counseling sessions with amputees and children’s grief therapy groups. She comforts students during finals week and visits schools’ special education classes. Jeanie spent a day with traumatized elementary students who witnessed a shooting in their classroom. She helped an apprehensive child speak to officers after witnessing a murder/suicide. A depressed veterans’ home resident who suffered with dementia was joyful and content during a visit with Jeanie. In cases like these, Jeanie’s presence eases stress levels and provides a calm and joyful diversion. Jeanie deserves to be the American Hero Dog because she gives love and comfort to those who need it most, especially frightened and traumatized children. She hopes to inspire other counseling, advocacy and law enforcement agencies to consider the benefits of therapy dogs like her.

Over the past nine years, nearly 10 million votes have been cast for more than a thousand dogs seeking the coveted title of American Hero Dog. The program reaches more than 1 billion people each year and draws the support and participation of top celebrity dog lovers from all over the world. Hosts, judges, award presenters, and entertainment acts have included Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Betty White, Ariel Winter, Rebecca Romijn, Jerry O’Connell, Dean Cain, James Denton, Beth Stern, Katharine McPhee, Alison Sweeney, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Lisa Vanderpump, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, Carson Kressley, Miranda Lambert, Pauley Perrette, Kristin Chenoweth, Naomi Judd, Eric Stonestreet, Fred Willard, Danica McKellar, Bailee Madison, and many, many more.

“The American Humane Hero Dog Awards celebrate the tremendously important roles dogs play in our lives,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane president and CEO. “The American public and our special judging panel now have an extraordinarily tough task ahead of them in determining who our top dog will be because all are worthy winners.”

“The Hero Dog Awards celebrate America’s often unsung heroes,” said philanthropist and Platinum Presenting Sponsor Lois Pope. “From those who defend our country to those who help us heal, guide us, protect us, and help find the lost, every single contender exemplifies the courage and heroism we seek to spotlight in this campaign. Our goal is not only to honor these magnificent dogs but to inspire America to reflect on the outsized contributions that animals make in our lives each and every day.”

“Animals are our best friends, enriching, improving, and sometimes even saving our lives,” said Tara Bidgood, DVM, PhD, DACVCP, executive director, Zoetis Petcare Veterinary Professional Services. “As an organization dedicated to improving and saving the lives of those best friends, we are proud to serve as the corporate sponsor of the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards.”

“Hallmark Channel is proud to have the American Humane Hero Dog Awards serve as the focal point of our Adoption Ever After initiative,” said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks. “Adoption Ever After is our on- and off-air advocacy and awareness initiative designed to celebrate the joy pets bring to our lives, shine a spotlight on the wonderful animals in shelters across the country, and promote adoption.”

For more information about the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®, and to vote daily in the contest, please visit www.herodogawards.org. For more information on sponsorship opportunities email Mari Harner at marih@americanhumane.org  or call 1-800-227-4645.

About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit www.americanhumane.org.

About Lois Pope, The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., and LIFE (Leaders in Furthering Education)
As one of America’s leading philanthropists, Lois Pope has positively impacted the lives of individuals at the local, national and international levels.  She has established three separate organizations dedicated to helping those in need.  These organizations are the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., Leaders In Furthering Education (LIFE), and the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation.  For more than 20 years she has been the driving force behind the Lois Pope LIFE Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine, The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, and a groundbreaking new program with American Humane in Palm Beach County. Lois Pope has recently donated several Lois Pope Rescue Vehicles. Each rescue vehicle is a 50-foot long response unit, complete with a Ford F-350 truck and trailer, which is specifically designed and outfitted to provide an array of animal emergency services and cruelty responses within the region.

On Oct. 5, 2014, Mrs. Pope saw the completion of a decades-long dream – the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which was dedicated by President Obama in Washington DC.  It will stand in perpetuity as a reminder to the public and legislators of the courage and sacrifices of the four million-plus living disabled veterans and all those who died before them, as well as the need to be vigilant in assuring their support and understanding the human cost of war.  Through her advocacy, October 5 every year will serve as a National Day of Honor for disabled veterans.

A mother and a grandmother, Lois has trained for and completed five New York City Marathons.

About Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Channel is Crown Media Family Networks’ flagship 24-hour cable television network, distributed nationwide in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to 88 million homes.  As the country’s leading destination for quality family entertainment, Hallmark Channel delivers on the 100-year legacy of the Hallmark brand.  In addition to its signature new, original movies, the network features an ambitious lineup of other new, original content, including scripted primetime series, such as “Good Witch,” “When Calls the Heart” and “Chesapeake Shores“; annual specials including “Kitten Bowl” and “Hero Dog Awards”; and a daily, two-hour lifestyle show, “Home & Family.”  Additionally, Hallmark Channel is the exclusive home to world premiere presentations of the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame franchise.  Dedicated to helping viewers celebrate life’s special moments, Hallmark Channel also offers annual holiday programming franchises, including “Countdown to Christmas,” “Countdown to Valentine’s Day,” “Summer Nights,” “Fall Harvest” and “Winterfest.”  Rounding out the network’s diverse slate are some of television’s most beloved comedies and series, including “The Golden Girls” and “Frasier.”

Hallmark Cards, Inc. owns and operates Crown Media Family Networks.

For more information, please visit www.crownmediapress.com
To visit the network website, please visit www.hallmarkchannel.com
Hallmark Channel on Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube

About Zoetis
Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 65 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines, vaccines and diagnostic products, which are complemented by biodevices, genetic tests and a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2018, the company generated annual revenue of $5.8 billion with approximately 10,000 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.

About Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food
Chicken Soup for the Soul has been providing super-premium pet food for over 15 years. The company makes dry and wet dog and cat food as well as treats that are available at independent pet specialty stores nationwide and select products are available online. The company’s mission is to help all pets eat well through its affordable pricing and its work with shelters and pets in need. A portion of all proceeds from the sale of Chicken Soup for the Soul pet food goes to Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Fill-a-Bowl… Feed-a-Soul™ program. The program, which was launched in 2016 in association with the American Humane, aims to provide over a million meals annually to shelter pets.

About Lulu’s Fund
Lulu’s Fund, which is part of the Timothy T. Day Foundation, was founded in 2012. Named after the Day’s beloved pug Lulu, Lulu’s Fund continues the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to supporting organizations in the animal rescue community throughout the United States. Organizations that receive support from Lulu’s Fund are primarily those that rescue abused, neglected and abandoned dogs. Their focus is to treat existing medical issues, provide spay and neuter services, place dogs in safe foster homes, and ultimately find forever homes for the animals. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.tdayfoundation.org.

NBCUniversal announces plans for 2019 Clear the Shelters campaign

July 12, 2019

(Photo courtesy of WOOD-TV)

The following is a press release from NBCUniversal:

NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations (NBC and Telemundo owned stations), a division of NBCUniversal, today announced that its pet adoption campaign – Clear The Shelters – returns to communities all around the country and in Puerto Rico this July and August. NBC and Telemundo stations in 160 markets are teaming up with more than 1,000 animal shelters and rescues to host Clear The Shelters events. On August 17, organizations will waive or reduce pet adoption fees to help families and individuals adopt a pet. Since 2015, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ Clear The Shelters campaign has helped more than a quarter million pets find new homes. Visit cleartheshelters.com to access a list of participating shelters/rescues.

“We are excited for Clear The Shelters to return to communities everywhere for a fifth year in a row. Thanks to our wonderful shelter and affiliate partners and our sponsors Cat’s Pride and Hill’s Pet Nutrition, the happiest day of the year is right around the corner. We are all looking forward to make this year’s campaign the best one yet,” said Valari Staab, President, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations.

Clear The Shelters was initiated in 2014 in the Dallas-Fort Worth market as a partnership between NBC and Telemundo stations, KXAS and KXTX, and dozens of North Texas animal shelters, including Irving Animal Services. The effort resulted in the adoption of more than 2,200 homeless animals, the most adopted in one day in North Texas.

“Clear The Shelters has become a significant annual event for WKYC Studios and our viewers,” said Adam Miller, Director of Content for WKYC Studios in Cleveland. “Together we raise awareness about the importance of pet adoption and the overcrowding issues that local animal shelters typically experience in the summer months.”

Shelters located in major DMAs like Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth as well as Puerto Rico, will waive or reduce pet adoption fees to help families find their perfect pet. This year’s campaign will includes the participation of 42 NBC and Telemundo owned stations, plus 140 NBC affiliated stations from the following station groups: Capitol Broadcasting Company, Dispatch Broadcast Group, Hubbard Broadcasting, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Raycom Media and Tegna Media, among others.

About NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations

NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations is the division of NBCUniversal that includes 42 NBC and Telemundo local television stations serving 30 markets, a regional news network and their associated websites and digital platforms, as well as a group of out-of-home properties, a production company, an in-house marketing and promotions company and two national multicast networks, COZI TV and TeleXitos. The local stations, which can be viewed in 38 percent of U.S. homes and in Puerto Rico, produce and deliver their local communities compelling and unique local news, real-time weather forecasts, consumer and investigative reports and entertainment programming across all platforms to help keep their English and Spanish-speaking audiences informed anytime and anywhere.

About Clear The Shelters

Clear The Shelters™ / Desocupar Los Albergues® is an annual, nationwide pet adoption campaign that is spearheaded by NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal. Every year, NBCUniversal’s TV stations, plus affiliated stations partner with local animal shelters and rescues in their communities to host Clear The Shelters events. NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ Clear The Shelters campaign was inspired by a 2014 North Texas pet adoption event hosted by NBC 5 / KXAS and Telemundo 39 / KXTX and dozens of area shelters that resulted in the most adopted pets in one day for North Texas. Since 2015, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ Clear The Shelters pet adoption campaign has inspired thousands of families all across the country to open their homes and hearts to shelter pets, resulting in more than a quarter million pets finding new homes. Visit ClearTheShelters.com, DesocuparLosAlbergues.com for more information. Follow the effort on Twitter @ClearTheShelter, and on social media using the hashtags #ClearTheShelters and #DesocuparLosAlbergues.

 

Barbie Dolls 2019: Take a look at Mattel’s new Barbies debuting this year

(Image courtesy of Mattel)
2019 Barbie 60th Anniversary Role Model Dolls (Photo courtesy of Mattel)

The year 2019 is the 60th anniversary of the Barbie doll. Here’s a look at the new Barbie dolls that Mattel is introducing this year. They include the first Barbie dolls with physical challenges: a Barbie doll in a wheelchair and a Barbie doll with a prosthetic leg. They are part of the Barbie Fashionistas collection. Another landmark for Barbie is the David Bowie Barbie, which is the first time that a female Barbie doll has adopted the persona of a male celebrity. (This gallery will be updated as new dolls are added.)

(All photos courtesy of Mattel)

PetSmart gives away free dog-friendly ice cream sundaes for National Ice Cream Day 2019

July 1, 2019

PetSmart
(Photo courtesy of PetSmart)

The following is a press release from PetSmart:

PetSmart® is once again sweetening the celebration for National Ice Cream Day by offering a weekend of free, dog-friendly ice cream topped with dog biscuit treats at PetSmart PetsHotel® locations across North America on Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21.

Dogs can get a four-ounce, complimentary serving of dog-safe ice cream and toppings during normal business hours at all PetSmart stores with PetsHotel facilities while supplies last. The frozen treats are customarily offered as an add-on treat service at Doggie Day Camp and during overnight stays.

“We love seeing pet parents enjoying summertime with their dogs,” said Debbie Beisswanger, vice president of services at PetSmart. “That’s why we’re excited to offer dog-safe ice cream treats for the fifth year in a row during National Ice Cream Day. It’s always a huge hit and a fun way for pets and pet parents to beat the summer heat.”

As part of National Ice Cream Month, National Ice Cream Day is observed each year on the third Sunday in July. PetSmart is encouraging pet parents to share photos and videos on Facebook and Instagram of their pets enjoying National Ice Cream Day using #nationalicecreamday and tagging PetSmart.

To find a PetsHotel location, visit our Store Locator.

About PetSmart®
PetSmart, Inc. is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. At PetSmart, we love pets, and we believe pets make us better people. Every day with every connection, PetSmart’s passionate associates help bring pet parents closer to their pets so they, together, can live more fulfilled lives. This vision impacts everything we do for our customers, the way we support our associates and how we give back to our communities. PetSmart employs approximately 55,000 associates and operates more than 1,650 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as more than 200 in-store PetSmart PetsHotel® dog and cat boarding facilities. The retailer provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and products, as well as services such as dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding, PetSmart Doggie Day Camp™ and pet adoption. PetSmart, PetSmart Charities® and PetSmart Charities® of Canada work with more than 3,500 animal welfare organizations to bring adoptable pets into stores so they have the best chance possible of finding a forever home. Through this in-store adoption program and other signature events, PetSmart has facilitated more than 8 million adoptions, more than any other brick-and-mortar organization. In May 2017, PetSmart acquired Chewy.com, a leading online retailer of pet food and products in the U.S., which operates as an independent subsidiary.

Find PetSmart on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/PetSmart
See PetSmart on Instagram: @PetSmart
Follow PetSmart on Twitter: @PetSmart
See PetSmart on YouTube: www.YouTube.com/PetSmart
PetSmart homepage: http://www.petsmart.com/

Turn your passion for pets into a career you’ll love! Visit careers.petsmart.com to learn more about corporate, retail store and Distribution Center opportunities.

Mattel announces licensing deal with Sanrio that includes Hello Kitty and other brands

June 4, 2019

Hello Kitty Store
Hello Kitty Store (Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood)

The following is a press release from Mattel:

Mattel, Inc. (Nasdaq: MAT) today announced an international licensing agreement with Sanrio, Inc. Through this new partnership, Mattel will design and develop a wide array of toys, dolls, playsets, games, puzzles, baby gear, plush, vehicles and other products inspired by Hello Kitty & Friends and Hello Kitty Cafe, as well as a range of characters in the Sanrio portfolio – including Hello Kitty, Keroppi, Chococat, Badtz-Maru, Little Twin Stars, Tuxedosam, Pompompurin, My Melody, Hangyodon, and Pochacco, among others. The toy lines and games will available in North America, Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand beginning Fall 2020.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190604005409/en/

“We’re excited to bring the Supercute world of Sanrio to life through toys that will allow for fans of all ages to experience Hello Kitty and Sanrio Friends in new ways,” said Janet Hsu, Chief Franchise Management Officer of Mattel. “This relationship is another example of Mattel’s commitment to collaborate with globally-recognized franchises as part of our transformation into an IP-driven, high-performing toy company.”

“Mattel is the perfect partner to align with our mission to evolve the brand and connect with Sanrio fans worldwide,” said Craig Takiguchi, COO of Sanrio. “Their global reach and creative approach to product development and storytelling is like no other. I am confident that together we will transform our toy business in a unique way that will resonate with generations of Sanrio fans.”

About Mattel

Mattel is a leading global children’s entertainment company that specializes in design and production of quality toys and consumer products. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic franchises, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, American Girl®, Fisher-Price®, Thomas & Friends® and MEGA®, as well as other popular brands that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming, music and live events. We operate in 40 locations and sell products in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and technology companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in exploring the wonder of childhood and empowering kids to reach their full potential. Visit us online at www.mattel.com.

About Sanrio®

Sanrio is the global lifestyle brand best known for pop icon Hello Kitty®, and home to many other beloved character brands including Chococat™, My Melody™, Badtz-Maru™, Keroppi™, Gudetama™ and Aggretsuko™. Sanrio was founded on the ‘small gift, big smile®’ philosophy – that a small gift can bring happiness and friendship to people of all ages. Since 1960, this philosophy has served as the inspiration to offer quality products, services and activities that inspire unique consumer experiences across the world. Today, Sanrio’s legendary breadth of products are available in over 130 countries and in retail locations including department, specialty, national chain retailers and Sanrio boutique stores. To learn more about Sanrio, please visit www.sanrio.com and follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Dennis Quaid returns for ‘A Dog’s Journey,’ the sequel to ‘A Dog’s Purpose’

May 17, 2019

Dennis Quaid in “A Dog’s Journey” directed by Gail Mancuso. (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment)

The following is a description from Universal Pictures:

Some friendships transcend lifetimes. In “A Dog’s Journey,” the sequel to the heartwarming global hit “A Dog’s Purpose,” beloved dog Bailey finds his new destiny and forms an unbreakable bond that will lead him, and the people he loves, to places they never imagined.

Bailey (voiced again by Josh Gad) is living the good life on the Michigan farm of his “boy,” Ethan (Dennis Quaid) and Ethan’s wife Hannah (Marg Helgenberger). He even has a new playmate: Ethan and Hannah’s baby granddaughter, CJ. The problem is that CJ’s mom, Gloria (Betty Gilpin), decides to take CJ away. As Bailey’s soul prepares to leave this life for a new one, he makes a promise to Ethan to find CJ and protect her at any cost.

Thus begins Bailey’s adventure through multiple lives filled with love, friendship and devotion as he, CJ (Kathryn Prescott), and CJ’s best friend Trent (Henry Lau) experience joy and heartbreak, music and laughter, and few really good belly rubs.

Directed by Emmy winner Gail Mancuso (TV’s “Modern Family”), “A Dog’s Journey” is produced by Gavin Polone (“A Dog’s Purpose”), and written by W. Bruce Cameron & Cathryn Michon, and Maya Forbes & Wally Wolodarsky, based on the best-selling novel by Cameron. The film, from Amblin Entertainment and Reliance Entertainment, in association with Walden Media and Alibaba Pictures, will be distributed by Universal Pictures domestically, and by Universal Pictures and Amblin Partners internationally.

Cast: Marg Helgenberger, Betty Gilpin, Henry Lau, Kathryn Prescott, with Dennis Quaid and Josh Gad

Director: Gail Mancuso

Screenplay By: W. Bruce Cameron & Cathryn Michon and Maya Forbes & Wally Wolodarsky

Based on the novel by: W. Bruce Cameron

Producer: Gavin Polone

Executive Producers: Seth William Meier, Lasse Hallström, Luyuan Fan, Wei Zhang

Mattel launches interactive family entertainment centers featuring Barbie, Hot Wheels, Mega Construx

May 2, 2019

2019 Barbie Role Models (Photo courtesy of Mattel)
Hot Wheels
(Photo courtesy of Mattel)

The following is a press release from Mattel:

Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) announced plans to create the first multi-branded family entertainment centers featuring Barbie® and Hot Wheels®, with a global roll-out beginning in 2020. The centers, featuring immersive, hands-on play and entertainment experiences, will bring Mattel’s iconic brands to life by combining physical and digital play. Experiences, including content and attractions, will be geared toward families with children ages four to ten.

The first of these Mattel-branded family entertainment centers is a 25,000-square foot space set to open in Spring 2020 in Toronto. The centers, to be created in partnership with iP2Entertainment, a leading provider of out-of-home experiential entertainment destinations, will feature distinctly themed areas for Barbie, Hot Wheels and Mega Construx®. Each themed area will offer a range of unique and creative play possibilities for kids and families that will:

  • Reaffirm that girls can be anything they want as they explore a magical Barbie mini-world filled with near limitless possibilities. This experience draws on the brand’s mission to support 21st century learning skills through play – specifically creativity, communication and collaboration
  • Ignite kids’ challenger spirit by putting them in the driver’s seat for experiential activities –including customizing their own Hot Wheels car, designing their race track and creating custom rides they can experience on a massive racing simulator
  • Challenge kids and families to design, build and test their construction skills in the ultimate Mega Construx building scenarios

In addition to these brand-themed areas, the centers will offer events such as family game night, experiential retail and high-quality food and beverage options.

“The family entertainment centers will extend the emotional connection of our brands with kids and allow Mattel to continue to bring wonder and imagination to families,” said Janet Hsu, Chief Franchise Management Officer, Mattel. “The family entertainment centers offer a powerful combination of physical and digital play that give kids the chance to interact with Barbie, Hot Wheels and Mega Construx through live events and experiences, gaming and content.”

Roger Houben, CEO, iP2Entertainment, said: “Our partnership with Mattel reimagines the indoor entertainment center experience, which, until now, has seen limited innovation for nearly four decades. Together, we’ll create brand new physical and digital play-based experiences for kids that will get them moving and engaged in ways that no small screen device could.”

About Mattel

Mattel is a leading global children’s entertainment company that specializes in design and production of quality toys and consumer products. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic franchises, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, American Girl®, Fisher-Price®, Thomas & Friends® and MEGA®, as well as other popular brands that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming, music and live events. We operate in 40 locations and sell products in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and technology companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in exploring the wonder of childhood and empowering kids to reach their full potential. Visit us online at
www.mattel.com.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘The Dog Doc’

April 28, 2019

by Carla Hay

The Dog Doc
Dr. Marty Goldstein (far right) with dog Waffles and Waffles’ owner in “The Dog Doc” (Photo courtesy of Cedar Creek Productions)

“The Dog Doc”

Directed by Cindy Meehl

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 28, 2019.

Dr. Marty Goldstein, who has a thriving but controversial veterinary practice in New York state, has received much criticism from others in the medical community for using alternative methods to treat sick animals. Goldstein believes that combining alternative and traditional treatments can increase the chances of recovery and possibly extend a sick animal’s life expectancy. The problem is that most vets believe that traditional medicine (which relies heavily on prescribed medication) is the only legitimate way to treat a sick animal.

“The Dog Doc” takes a fascinating look at Goldstein’s integrative methods, with a behind-the-scenes look at several cases that he had over the course of two-and-a-half years. Even though his Smith Ridge Veterinary Center—which has patients from all over the world—treats several types of domestic pets, Goldstein says that dogs are his personal favorite, and they are the focus of this documentary. Goldstein, a self-described former hippie, is over the age of retirement, but his passion for his work still remains, and it’s also evident with his loyal and professional staff.

The case of an adorable young male dog named Waffles (a small white terrier mix) is probably the most heart-wrenching and the most heartwarming story in the movie. Waffles, who was abandoned as a puppy, had a rough first year of his life, which is documented in the film. He’s been constantly plagued by mysterious illnesses that have robbed him of his appetite, left him in chronic pain, and even hindered his ability for his bones to grow properly. But he has a will to live that’s inspiring to anyone who’s faced life-or-death challenges.

Goldstein repeatedly states that his methods do not cure cancer or other terminal illnesses that have no cure. Instead, he believes that medication can often cover up a problem instead of reducing or eliminating the problem. Instead of over-medicating a sick animal, Goldstein believes in treating an animal with medicine in conjunction with holistic methods, such as changing the animal’s diet. He’s not a fan of over-processed animal food, and he encourages pet owners to switch to more organic meals that fit with an animal’s natural diet.

One of Goldstein’s most fascinating alternative treatment methods is cyro surgery—freezing tumors in animals that have severe tumors that can’t be removed. It’s not a cure if the tumor is cancerous, but the results are usually that the animal gets more relief from pain, and the tumor usually doesn’t grow at the rate that it had been growing before the freezing operation.

“The Dog Doc” also examines the issues that Goldstein’s detractors have with his type of combined holistic treatments, which are still not taught at accredited U.S. veterinary schools. He’s been called a crazy quack by some of his critics, but the documentary interviews a fellow doctor who used to be skeptic until he saw for himself how Goldstein’s methods worked better than traditional medical treatments. The film also shows Goldstein giving a presentation to veterinary students at Cornell University, his alma mater, in an effort to inform future vets of options they might not learn in medical school. One of Goldstein’s constant laments is that the medical industry has been slow to change many teachings that he considers to be outdated.

“The Dog Doc” director Cindy Meehl, who directed the “horse whisperer” documentary “Buck,” had a dog that was a patient of Goldstein’s several years ago. But that hasn’t prevented her from being objective enough to take a look at the pros and cons of his methods. One traditional vet concept that Goldstein vehemently disagrees with is that domesticated animals, such as dogs, with the same disease should receive the same medical treatment, regardless of the size and breed of the animal. Goldstein believes that each animal should be treated on a case-by-case basis, since each animal has a unique genetic makeup that might affect how they react to different treatments.

Viewers can judge for themselves if Goldstein has the right ideas, but the documentary shows that Goldstein has hundreds of cases to prove that his methods have worked. Most of all, the movie is a testament that dogs and other pets are treated like members of a family, who often will do what it takes to get the best help possible when their beloved pet gets sick.