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Q & A: Marketing Change

A longtime animal welfare leader talks about how shelters can better promote their pets

A longtime animal welfare leader talks about how shelters can better promote their pets

The “Chargers Puppies” were a litter of eight purebred bulldogs who came to the Helen Woodward Animal Center during NFL playoffs. Center staff named each of them after a Chargers player. All of the puppies—and 40 other pets—went home with families who’d picked up on the publicity. HELEN WOODWARD ANIMAL CENTER
Maybe it’s because he was once a Marine and served a tour of duty in Vietnam. Maybe it ’s because he was once viciously stabbed by onlookers while trying to rescue a puppy who’d been hit by a car. Maybe it’s because accounting—Mike Arms’ area of expertise when he first came into the animal protection field—is an inherently rough business! (Okay, it’s probably not that.)

Whatever the reason, Arms, president of the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., is a tough customer when it comes to a tender subject: the importance of aggressively promoting the animals in shelters in order to save more lives and make happy matches.

A nearly 40-year veteran of the animal welfare field, Arms has also worked at the ASPCA and the North Shore Animal League America, and has spoken at numerous national and international conferences on how shelters can become more appealing, people-friendly, and professional.

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