Home for the Holidays: Giving Pets the Ultimate Gift This Year — a Home!


I have a special secret to share with you. Not many people know about it, but when they find out about it, they fall in love instantly. The secret is hiding in a quiet, peaceful place, surrounded by other special “secrets.”

I want nothing more than to share my secret with the right person. Someone who can keep a secret forever and ever. My secret purrs, has stripes, big ears and a huge heart. His name is Sal. I only say he’s a secret because it seems like no one has found out about him yet. He’s a tiny tabby with big ears and a big heart. I helped rescue him from inside a Mustang’s engine at my office parking lot this summer. Since then, with loving foster care, he’s become the best kitty and the most enormous cuddlebug in the world — but he hasn’t found his forever home yet. He’s hiding, right out in the open, at Cats Exclusive in Florida with his other patient, perfect feline friends.

Luckily, Sal and his friends are at a no-kill shelter. His secret is 100 percent safe with them until the right person comes along and decides to make him part of their family. In other shelters around the world, though, nearly 4 million homeless cats and dogs are not as lucky, and never have the chance. There are an estimated 8 million of them brought into shelters each year, and about half of them are euthanized because of lack of space or resources.

Saving and helping animals is my biggest passion, and that’s why I’m so thankful for programs like Iams Home 4 the Holidays, which is dedicated to finding homes for 1.5 million orphaned pets this year during the holidays. Imagine, just imagine, how much of a difference that would make for so many sweet, deserving animals — and the families who adopt them!

The program, which runs until January 3, has helped 5.8 million pets find homes since 1999. This year, Iams and Helen Woodward Animal Center are teaming up with 3,500 other animal organizations in 21 countries to encourage pet adoptions. They’ll also donate 5 million meals to rescue organizations through the Bags 4 Bowls program.

The holidays always make me wish all pets had warm, loving homes to wake up in. I know that on Christmas morning, I’ll wake up and cuddle a little extra with Pimp and Moo. Then we’ll go in the living room, settle down on the couch with a cup of coffee, and open gifts. They always get presents — catnip toys, mice, a new bed — and I’m sure most of you give your pets presents, too.

Sal, though, and many other homeless pets like him, will probably spend the holidays alone. Sure, he’ll be surrounded by his kitty friends, but he won’t have presents to open or wrapping paper to play in or a lap to watch the festivities from. Sure, he’ll have toys (I’ll take him some myself that week!) and food and people who care for him, but he’ll still be waiting for the best holiday gift of all — a forever home.

While the main goal of Iams Home 4 the Holidays program is to find homes for orphaned pets (the holidays are a great time to bring special furry friends into your life!), you can still help, even if you’re not in the position to adopt right now.

Here are ways you can help:

— For each “Like” of the Iams Facebook page, Iams will donate meals to needy shelters through its Bags 4 Bowls program.

— Keep an eye out for special posts and initiatives! Throughout the drive, Iams will have ways to help donate even more bowls of food, by posting pictures on its Facebook page, sharing videos, or “Liking” certain posts.

— Visit the Iams Facebook page and create a custom adoption announcement or holiday card to share the news of your new four-legged family member or just send a seasonal greeting to your family and friends. For each card created and sent, Iams will donate more meals!

— Purchase specially marked packages of Iams dog or cat food during the duration of the campaign. For every one sold, Iams will donate a bowl of food to a participating Iams Home 4 the Holidays animal organizations.

For more information on Iams Home 4 the Holidays adoption program, and more ways to help and support, visit Iams Facebook page.

And if you want to know more about my secret sweetheart, Sal, visit his Petfinder page!

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