Friends of Animals Utah is now Nuzzles & Co.
Over the past 25 years, the nonprofit formerly known as Friends of Animals Utah has rescued and rehabilitated more than 13,000 dogs and cats at its ranch in Brown’s Canyon.
The organization has also placed those animals through the Furburbia adoption center into loving homes.
However, throughout the years, the public has often confused Friends of Animals Utah with other animal-centered nonprofits such as Best Friends Animal Society and the nationally based Friends of Animals.
So, the board of directors felt it was time for a name change. From this week onward, Friends of Animals Utah will be known as Nuzzles & Co. Pet Rescue and Adoption, said Board President Kathleen Toth.
To celebrate and introduce the name change to the public, Nuzzles & Co. will host several activities this week.
A photography contest will be held Wednesday and Thursday.
Nuzzles & Co. staff members are encouraging pet owners to take photos of their furry friends, tag them with @nuzzlesandco and share them on Facebook and Instagram.
"The winners will be announced on Friday, and 15 of the best photos will receive a Nuzzles & Co. coffee mug," Toth said.
On Saturday, the Nuzzles & Co. rescue ranch in Brown’s Canyon will host tours and serve refreshments and on Sunday, the Nuzzles & Co. van will be out and about, handing out goodies.
"Like what we want people to do with their pets, we encourage people to snap a picture of the van, tag it @nuzzlesandco and share it on Facebook and Instagram," Toth said.
The reason for these activities is to help the public acclimate to the new moniker.
"Rebranding is not just changing a logo or name," Toth said. "It’s about influencing people and we want to influence people to adopt their next pet from rescued animals."
Still, the name change was a longtime coming.
For years, Friends of Animals Utah has been a magnet for confusion on the internal and external levels, according to Toth.
"We used to be Friends of Animals Utah and then we had the Furburbia Pet Adoption Center at the Tanger Outlets at Kimball Junction," she said. "Many of our supporters — from our volunteers to donors and adopters — didn’t realize Friends of Animals Utah and Furburbia were the same thing."
In addition, the name Furburbia actually belongs to the Best Friends Animal Society.
"We were able to use the name at the discretion of Best Friends," Toth said. "And that only fueled the confusion between Friends of Animals Utah and Best Friends Animal Society.
"We received daily phone calls from people who confused us with Best Friends, and I’m sure Best Friends got calls from people thinking they were us," she said. "So, while we do work with them, support and partner with them because we are all in this mission to end killing of pets in Utah, we don’t want to have all of this confusion."
On another level, there are many other organizations in the United States called Friends of Animals.
"One is a nationally based animal welfare group and they are actually working in central Utah trying to save an elk herd," Toth said. "Furthermore, every state in the nation has an organization called Friends of Animals, which has nothing to do with the national organization."
So, Toth and the board of directors began earnest discussions 18 months ago about rebranding their organization.
About that same time MRM McCann, a Salt Lake City-based global marketing agency, decided to take on a pro bono branding project for one nonprofit.
"We applied and were selected to be the organization," Toth said. "I’m sure it was because we were a case study in this whole branding thing."
MRM McCann staff, who worked for free on this project, spent hours on research and held a number of meetings with Toth and her board.
"It was a partnership that was born out of a love for what we do," Toth said. "They got to know us well by visiting our rescue ranch and adoption center numerous times to learn about our mission and vision in the past year."
The result was the new name, Nuzzles & Co.
"I loved it because the words are very tactile, but it also meant something," Toth said. "The world ‘nuzzles’ applies to both dogs and cats and it’s about the moment your dog or cat snuggles up to you and gives you that heart-melting nuzzle. We know the word will tug at that emotional chord in all pet owners."
The other words ‘& Co’ also have deeper meanings.
"They stand for many things such as ‘And Community,’ ‘And Collective Movement,’ ‘And Cohort,’" Toth said. "We did think people might become a little confused with the word ‘& Co.’ and may not understand we’re a nonprofit, but I think the answer to that is for us to be clear in our message that we’re a pet rescue and adoption organization. So, our full name is Nuzzles & Co. Pet Rescue and Adoption.
"It’s all of us, because it takes more than one person to save an animal," she said. "It’s the people who see a stray animal and stop to pick it up. It’s the person who calls the shelter. It’s the staff. It’s our volunteers."
Toth hopes the rebranding will change the public’s perception of rescued pets.
"We want people to be excited about adopting a pet," she said. " updating our brand, our messaging, and our adoption center, we think we will drastically increase our adoption numbers, and show the world how cool rescue pets can be.
"Our mission to protect animals is still the same and stronger than ever," she said. "We want to provide nurturing and loving animals to nurturing and loving homes."
For more information about Nuzzles & Co., visit http://www.nuzzlesandco.org.
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