ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Lucky the TurfMutt knows how hard life can be for unwanted pets. He lived up to his name when his human friend, Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), found him on an Indiana roadway and gave him a home.
"I've achieved a measure of celebrity because of who adopted me, and now I get to help kids and families understand the importance of our living landscapes," says Lucky, who now wears his superhero cape as TurfMutt, the spokesdog for OPEI's environmental education and stewardship program for kids in grades K-5 and their families. "I want every pet to have the same chance at happily ever after that I got. So I'm 'pawing it forward' as TurfMutt."
Now Lucky the TurfMutt is helping shine a spotlight on "hard-to-place" pets in shelters across the country. Petfinder, the online database of pets looking for homes, has dedicated the third week in September to these pets who have a hard time finding their "forever homes."
Senior pets, bully breeds, pets with special needs and adult cats often wait nearly four times longer than other pets to get adopted.
TurfMutt says he and Kris not only support what Petfinder is doing with its Adopt A Less Adoptable Pet Week, but they've also practiced what Petfinder preaches. Through TurfMutt's partnership with Lucky Dog, which airs as part of the "CBS Dream Team, It's Epic" programming, Kris adopted a senior shelter dog named Dottie to be TurfMutt's sidekick. "I guess you could say we walk the walk and bark the bark!" says TurfMutt. "My human and I are big advocates for pet rescue and rehab."
Dottie was 12-years-old when she ended up at a shelter in a tough LA neighborhood, and was rescued by Kris. "Dottie was the oldest dog ever adopted in the history of the Lucky Dog show, and since she was no longer a puppy she was calmer, house-trained and already knew basic commands," says Kris. "She loves coming to the office with TurfMutt."
Lucky Dog trainer Brandon McMillan took Dottie's training to the next level, teaching her to be a good companion dog in the office and on the road. Dottie put her new traveling skills to the test when she made the journey from LA to her new home on the East Coast.
"When considering getting a pet, TurfMutt and I encourage everyone to remember that some pets are in greater need than others," says Kris. He adds, "Senior pets like Dottie and those with special needs have lots of love to give. And many 'bully breeds' have gotten a bad reputation they simply don't deserve."
TurfMutt says no matter what kind of perfect pet companion you find, it's important to ensure your family yard is suitable for your new furry friend. Here's a checklist to make sure your outdoor living room gets the TurfMutt seal of approval.
- Is there a secure fence?
- Does the family yard have grass? Select the right variety to offer a durable and comfortable ground covering for your pets and kids.
- Is there a balance of trees, shrubs and flowering plants to support biodiversity and wildlife?
- Are there any plants that might harm your pet? Check this list of toxic plants from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's (OPEI) Research and Education Foundation and has reached more than 68 million children, educators and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to "save the planet, one yard at a time." TurfMutt is an official USGBC® Education Partner and education resource at the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. TurfMutt's personal, home habitat also is featured in the 2017 and the upcoming 2018 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars.
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI is the advocacy voice of the industry, and a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the development of safety and performance standards. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry's annual international trade show, and the creative force behind the environmental education program, TurfMutt.com. OPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces. For more information, visit www.OPEI.org.
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SOURCE The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute