BY CAMELLE KENT
I’ve been immersed in the pet food industry for the past six years, but I’ve been a pet parent all my life, most recently to my 8-year-old lab, Rommel. My role as CEO of WellPet and role as dog mom, however, are not all that different. They both involve an unconditional love for pets and putting their needs first—whether that’s making sure Rommel gets his daily walks in, or ensuring that the recipes we create are made with natural, wholesome ingredients pet parents feel good about feeding their pets each day. Amidst my responsibilities as a pet parent and business leader, though, is a mission to look out for rescue pets without permanent homes and who need our care the most. For me, this mission is personal—and I’m confident that this intersection of pet parent emotion and our company’s values is good for business.
I’m not the only one who seeks a connection between personal feelings and actions. In fact, a recent study from Accenture found that nearly two-thirds of consumers globally prefer to buy from brands that stand for a shared purpose that reflects their personal values and beliefs. The study found that the companies attracting consumers are actually ones that “stand for something bigger than what they sell, communicate their purpose and demonstrate commitment.” At WellPet, this is a given. And, as a family of pet parents who make pet food and treats we believe in, it’s hard to separate the emotionality of who we are from how we do business—in fact, I’d say that’s a tremendous asset and differentiator of ours. We’ve always been committed to giving back to pets in need, whether it’s donating our time at local shelters or sending resources in the wake of natural disasters. But in recent months, we’ve focused our energy around a core belief: that the natural, high-quality nutrition we create is the foundation to a longer, healthier life, and one of the most important tools when helping rehabilitate rescue pets.
That’s how and why the new Wellness Foundation was born—to ensure that every pet on the planet is born and raised with love. Pets make us feel loved no matter what, and we owe it to them to provide a safe home, meaningful relationships and better nutrition that contributes to better, longer lives.
We believe there is power in numbers and like-minded partners, so to help us do that, we’ve partnered with Best Friends Animal Society. As the largest no-kill sanctuary in the United States, Best Friends is dedicated to the safe rescue of pets and is responsible for facilitating over 40,000 adoptions each year. As the official pet food partner of Best Friends, the Wellness Foundation helps ensure that cats and dogs in Best Friends’ lifesaving centers will not only be rescued safely but will be provided with Wellness Natural Pet Food and Treats to fuel their recovery and ability to thrive in a new home.
We’re lucky to be a part of such a passionate industry that wants to give back to the pets who enrich our lives so much—and collectively, we can. There are three main ways we can all play a role in bettering the lives of pets in need across the country:
- Donate or volunteer: The best way to help is to give what you can, whether that’s food, funds or even your own time to walk, play and care for pets waiting for their forever homes. Shelters rely heavily on volunteers to keep rescued cats and dogs happy and healthy while they wait for adoption, and even the smallest contributions can make an impact from individuals or companies who rally and organize their employees around a communal cause.
- Educate: It’s easier than ever to spread the word about causes we’re passionate about. Whether you’re a company or an individual employee, spread the word on social media about the importance of adoption, donations and volunteerism to help get pets in need the homes, nutrition and resources they need to feel their best. Mintel data show that nearly half (49 percent) of pet parents agree the only ethical way to get a pet is through adoption/rescue, and last year, two-times as many pets were acquired through adoption as pet stores in the U.S. The progress we are making as a society is noticeable, but there is still room for improvement—and it’s up to us as pet parents and industry leaders to captain this change.
- Get creative: As an industry, we have tremendous resources at our disposal. Let’s use what we’re best at, whether it’s making food and treats or safer toys and grooming products, to help the cause. This year, Wellness is launching a co-branded treat with Best Friends: Wellness CORE Bestie Bars. These treats are more than just a delicious snack to give our dogs: They’re a representation of our joint mission to promote pet adoption and a call to pet parents to join the movement. Each package of Bestie Bars encourages pet parents to share photos of them and their own furry best friend using the hashtag #SaveABestie to spread awareness of pet adoption, as well as donate to Best Friends to support a cause that is much bigger than snack time.
I’m proud to be a part of an industry that works to help a population that can’t speak for themselves, but I know there is still work to do. The Wellness Foundation and partnership with Best Friends is just one example of fighting for the well-being of animals in our nation and shows that we have more power when we work together. I’m excited to see more collaboration as others join in and the fight continues.