A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Animal Center Sets Goal of 1.5 Million Holiday Adoptions

Iams partners with five million meals for homeless pets

Mike Arms with Hannah, who was adopted in last year’s campaign

It began in 1999 with 14 animal shelters in the San Diego area. Last year, 3,600 shelters and rescues in 17 countries took part, and more than 1,125,667 orphan pets were placed in good homes.

It’s the annual Home for the Holidays campaign, conceived and grown by Mike Arms, President of the Helen Woodward Animal Center. After Arms partnered with the Iams pet food company, it became branded as Iams Home 4 the Holidays (IH4TH).

“It has become the largest pet adoption drive in history, finding families for more than 5.7 million orphan pets,” Arms said.

Shelters and rescue groups wanting to participate can find information and sign up here.

Arms was one of the pioneers of the no-kill movement in the 1990s, and was famous for thinking outside of the box when it came to adoption programs. Back then, animal shelters and humane societies routinely discouraged people from adopting pets during the Holiday season. They believed that Holiday adoptions were often frivolous spur-of-the-moment decisions that led to animals being abandoned a few weeks or months later. But there was no evidence of that, and Arms argued that if people who were making the effort to do the right thing and adopt from a shelter were thwarted in their attempt, they would simply end up having to go to a pet store.

“During the Holiday season of love and family, one great gift is to save the life of an orphaned pet.”

Holiday Home for the Holidays grew out of his assertion that shelters should be taking the lead in Holiday adoptions, not backing away from them.

“More families bring new pets into their homes during the holiday season than any other time of year,” he said. “Home 4 the Holidays gives them a chance to adopt their new best friend from an animal shelter or rescue group. During the Holiday season of love and family, one great gift is to save the life of an orphaned pet.”

This year’s adoption drive lasts from October 1, 2011 through January 3, 2012. So far, 3,500 animal organizations have signed up to take part worldwide.

Food packages

Iams will be providing food packages to everyone who adopts a pet from a participating shelter.

In addition, through the campaign’s Bags 4 Bowls program, for every specially marked package of Iams dog or cat food purchased during the campaign, the company will donate one bowl of food – up to 3 million meals –to a participating animal organization.

In addition, Iams has pledged to donate up to 2 million meals for Facebook and other social media activity related to the campaign. For example, Iams has pledged to donate one meal for every Facebook user who “likes” the Iams Facebook page or who creates and shares a special adoption announcement card.