The last couple of months have been purely magical. Ever since February 2013, CAPS’ “Models Against Pet Shops and Puppy Mills” campaign has been all over the USA. Our PSA “This Is the Face of a Puppy Mill Dog,” starring me and fabulous model Kiley Wirtz-Jennings, has aired on PBS stations in Tampa Bay, Los Angeles and Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, and Chicago. Being the star in a PSA isn’t enough for a girl like me, though! Ever since I was a pup, I’ve had big goals and the last couple of months I’ve seen some of those dreams come true. This is all so exciting!
A billboard with Kiley and the other beautiful models from Hope’s Angels amazed Illinois citizens and caused quite a stir at the Happiness Is NOT Pets store in Lombard, IL (let’s just say a pet shop employee wasn’t amused and left us an angry blog comment). This month, the same store will have to watch and endure another classy billboard and stare at me, a puppy mill survivor (the irony!) and Kiley (we look gorgeous together!). As luck would have it, San Diego Puppy also has a billboard right in their parking lot, which now has a models ad! They are going crazy! Not only does this billboard catch San Diego drivers at two stoplights, but riders on an elevated trolley can also see it (drivers on the interstate can see the billboard, but the wording is hard to make out). Being CAPS’ spokesmodel is hard work, but it pays off. I wish I could see these ads in person! I can’t wait for the strategically placed Tampa billboard to go up in April. I wonder which pet shop will get the honor?
So much more has happened since we went public with our PSA and billboards. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, 300 of our ads are circulating in Metro North Rail Road trains and 400 in Long Island Rail Road trains. The good people at CBS Outdoor sent us a couple of high quality photos that had my tail doing the helicopter dance – the ads look very sophisticated! Passengers are taking pictures of our beautiful ads and sharing them on Facebook, letting us know that they noticed our efforts. A lot of folks from NY, CT, and NJ are visiting our website (close to 700 in the first two weeks!). We didn’t know we’d get such a response when we decided to showcase our campaign on public transportation!
Our hard work isn’t focused entirely on the East Coast, though! Beautiful “Banner Girls” (actresses Antonia Doran and Elise Muller and fitness trainer Sandy Liebman) stood for five days (two hours each day) with two campaign banner ads at two Warner Brothers gates in Burbank, CA to get the attention of Ellen DeGeneres and her producers. Various individuals from Warner Brothers and the “Ellen” show snapped photos and promised to share them with Ellen. We haven’t heard from her, but sadly one of her co-executive producers wasn’t that pleased with our efforts. He obviously didn’t read the press materials because he thought CAPS wanted to do a dog fashion show (after all the time we spent preparing press kits! Harrumph!). Some people still think I’m not celebrity material (the producer at “The Rachel Ray Show” turned us down a second time for this reason), but that won’t stop us. If CAPS were to give up every time someone said “no,” this national nonprofit wouldn’t still be around after more than 20 years. Even worse, I would still be living in that South Dakota puppy mill, completely blind because of no veterinary care, and in a lot of pain from my deformed elbows because I wouldn’t have a physical therapist (the amazing people at Sterling Impression Animal Rehabilitation Center of New England have helped tremendously!). If it weren’t for CAPS’ perseverance, I probably wouldn’t have lived to see my first birthday!
I’ve been on the limelight for a couple of months, but even I have to admit the recent successes are more than just about me. Focus of SWFL, a tasteful upscale publication, recently published an on online article in March about Mother, CAPS, and the models campaign. The editor donated a full page ad (the photos of Kiley and me) in the hard copy April issue, which has lots of fashion ads (we fit right in with the other models). Last week, The Cohasset Mariner (a weekly newspaper from my hometown) published a four-page front page article and two Sunday’s ago, The Boston Globe followed suit with another amazing piece (and a giant picture of me next to Kiley; it was like free advertising). Keep an eye out for a Bloomberg News story early next month! Imagine how much more we could accomplish if other popular publications, like the New York Times and the Washington Post covered our efforts! All it takes is one person interested in spreading our message, and for that we thank Ann Gordon of Focus of SWFL, Bella English of The Boston Globe, Erin Dale of The Cohasset Mariner, Pam Chait of CBS Outdoor, and Tom Motta of National Public Media (the latter two have given us great nonprofit rates).
It’s been a busy time for CAPS, but we treasure every single moment shared with train passengers, billboard audiences, PBS viewers, and magazine/newspaper readers. We hope to continue spreading the word, but we simply can’t do so without your support. We’d really like to keep up the commuter train ads, but a month of these ads costs more than $30,000! Please help us continue creating awareness about pet shops and puppy mills by donating now. Our ads, billboards, and PSA are making a difference. Lets keep them circulating! Maybe with your help, we can reach even more viewers in the NYC cable market with ads on Animal Planet and other appropriate networks. Are you in?