By Doug Poindexter
I don’t have to tell you that the pet industry is special. The passion and enthusiasm pet retailers display—by virtue of what we do each and every day—is infectious. Part of that is an overwhelming desire to do good, to help pets, give back to our communities and contribute to the industry at large.
About 10 years ago, World Pet Association established its Good Works program. Not many people know this, but the proceeds from all WPA events—SuperZoo, Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference, Aquatic Experience, and America’s Family Pet Expo—go right back into the industry through Good Works. In the decade since the program started, we’ve donated more than $3 million to a variety of organizations. And we’re not done giving—not by a long shot!
Our focus on animal safety and well-being is at the center of everything we do as an organization. To support all aspects of the pet industry—from pets to owners to retailers—proceeds from all of our events are donated to key organizations, non-profits and projects, including Pets in the Classroom, Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI), Coral Restoration Foundation, National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA), Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), Pet Leadership Council, Project PIABA and the Purdue University Voluntary Standards for Breeding Dog Care and Welfare.
These organizations support the pet industry, the people who work in the pet industry and the pets (and owners) that are at the center of everything pet professionals do. The resources provided make a real impact, both in our communities and for pet retailers.
• Pets in the Classroom: helps teachers obtain classroom pets to enhance learning and build self-esteem for nearly two million children.
• HABRI: provides scientific research that shows the benefits of pet ownership for human health.
• Coral Restoration Foundation: supports offshore nurseries and reef restoration programs for threatened coral species and empowers coastal communities to follow suit.
• NAIA: funds initiatives focused on animal welfare, strengthening the bond between humans and animals, and promoting responsible animal care.
• PIJAC: supports animal care, environmental stewardship and pet advocacy. The organization also pioneers education programs for pet owners, the pet industry and government entities.
• Pet Leadership Council: leadership initiatives promoting responsible pet ownership and pet owners’ rights. More than 20 company leaders from all segments of the industry focus on fostering research, development and training and promoting a better understanding of the pet industry.
• Project PIABA: programs to promote the environmental and social sustainability of the Amazonian aquarium fish trade.
• Purdue University Voluntary Standards for Breeding Dog Care and Welfare: to promote and continuously improve canine welfare, this program aims to develop and test rigorous, science-based, voluntary standards for the care and welfare of breeding dogs and to create a third party auditing and certification process for dog breeders.
In June, to further foster community engagement at a grass roots level, WPA launched our “Show Us Your Good Works” photo contest. Pet retail or service operations can post a photo or video on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram that shows their business doing charitable, give-back or cause-oriented “good works” in their community using #WPAGoodWorks. Beyond the hash tag, entries must tag SuperZoo and be posted by July 20. Winners must be attending SuperZoo and will be announced during the networking reception on August 2. The business that submits the top entry will win $1,000 donated in their name to a charity supported by WPA. For full details on the contest, visit www.superzoo.org.
The participation of our attendees and exhibitors each year at SuperZoo and other WPA events helps keep the pet industry healthy and active. Most importantly, it gives all of us in the pet industry additional opportunities to share our love of pets and our passion for giving back.