Nuzzles & Co. adoptions explode after rebranding
Ever since the Summit County-based animal rescue Nuzzles & Co. adopted a new brand and repackaged it message, hundreds of lives have been saved.
Nearly 18 months ago, the members of the organization unveiled a new concept to foster more adoptions.
As part of the rebranding, Nuzzles & Co.’s more than 2,000-square-foot adoption center, located in the Tanger Outlets, underwent a major overhaul. Some of the new features include a retail wall, a mini-coffee bar with pastries, an all-glass communal room and larger, brighter kennels for the animals.
Since reopening in April, adoptions are "through the roof," said Kathleen Toth, the president of the board of directors.
"I can hardly believe it," Toth said. "We are actually closing down shelters because we keep taking all their cats and dogs. They are flying out of our adoption center. People are driving all the way from Provo and Weber County to adopt. It’s amazing.
"If we can influence more people to adopt we will solve this problem," Toth said.
More than 550 animals have been adopted since the start of 2016, Toth said, adding that the numbers are up more than 53 percent from 2015. She said last year’s data revealed a more than 60 percent increase in adoptions from 2014.
"Since we rebranded and opened our adoption center, our adoptions numbers are up more than 100 percent from 2014," Toth said. "And I think we will save close to 1,000 more this year."
Tarin Strosser, an employee at the adoption center, said most visitors she has encountered mention how the space is "much more inviting."
"We had a kid that came in today and played video games in the cat room for like an hour," Strosser said. "It’s great. The cats love it and we love it."
Each year, there are roughly 7 million animals that enter the shelter systems across the country, Toth said. Of that number, she said, several million are either reunited with their families or euthanized because they are too sick to be rehabilitated. However, more than 3 million relatively healthy and adoptable animals are euthanized, she said.
Last year in Utah, Toth said, approximately 57,000 animals were taken to shelters and nearly 3,300 were euthanized because they were not adopted.
"The reason we kill them is because there is a myth that there aren’t enough homes for these animals," Toth said. "Not only do we not believe that, we believe we can and we will adopt our way out of this problem. Let’s influence consumers to get our product. Our product just happens to be homeless cats and dogs.
"We really want to influence adoption on a local level and change the myth," she said. "That is the impetus for everything."
Toth said the efforts have not gone unnoticed. She said Nuzzles & Co. will be featured as part of the Best Friends Animal Society’s National Conference this year in Salt Lake City.
The shelter and adoption center were selected as one of three official tours for conference attendees. Toth said the tours filled up "almost immediately," adding that more were scheduled to accommodate those interested in visiting.
"I think that Summit County and the residents who support our nonprofit through volunteerism and donations should all be very proud of where we are," Toth said. "We are already known as being a leader in the United States as a no-kill community. But I also think that we are so much more now than we were just 18 months ago.
"Once we take this model to other states, the entire community from government officials to the residents should be incredibly proud," she said. "I think the state and the country will look to what we are doing as a model of success and that model is to end the killing of healthy, adoptable animals."
The adoption center is open Mondays through Fridays between noon and 7 p.m. and on the weekends from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. It is located in Suite B-103 on the lower-level of the shopping center, behind the Calvin Klein store on the southeast end of the building.
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.