Wild One, a pet lifestyle brand that has grown wildly popular with its colorful Walk Kits, started out in 2018 with a mission beyond just selling new kinds of essential pet products. The New York–based startup also pledged to dedicate proceeds to rescuing at least one dog per week.
As the company turns three, Wild One is upping the ante with a pledge to rescue at least one dog per day by 2024. Conducted in partnership with Badass Animal Rescue (BAR), based in Brooklyn, “A Dog a Day” will kick off officially in January 2022.
“One of our established values as a company is that all dogs deserve safe, comfortable homes. The unfortunate reality is that not all have one, which is why working with animal rescues has been a priority for us from day one,” says Minali Chatani, cofounder and chief brand officer at Wild One. “As a rescue advocate and foster mom, I’ve had the opportunity to see how a dog who’s had a rough go can completely change and open up in a home where they’re given the love and care they deserve.”
During the pandemic, Wild One has seen an increase in new customers—many of them new pet parents, as adoption rates rose to record levels early on in spring 2020. “Additionally, pet parents are growing more comfortable spending more per year on their pets, whether on health care and wellness or travel accessories,” says Wild One cofounder and CEO Bill Wells. The pet industry grew from approximately $97 billion to $104 billion from 2019 to 2020, with many consumers making the shift to online retail as a primary shopping method, according to the American Pet Products Association.
Coinciding with record adoption rates, Wild One did meet its goal to rescue a dog per week for a year during the program’s first few years. “In the three years we’ve been working with BAR, we’ve consistently supported them with monetary donations and weekly adoptable dog promotions, covering the costs and publicity to help 52 dogs get adopted each year,” Chatani explains. “Our program was briefly paused in year two at the onset of the pandemic, but we have worked hard to catch up in 2021.”
Wild One is also expanding its rescue network to include up to six existing adoption organizations located across the country, including Houston Pets Alive and Black Dog Animal Rescue in Cheyenne. The company says its future rescue partners have been carefully vetted and selected based on set criteria, focusing on organizations in areas with massive stray dog overpopulation, substantial dog abandonment rates, and teeming adoption interest, as well as groups that raise awareness about adoption issues such as black dog discrimination and post-pandemic abandonment.
“As for the pandemic pet adoptions and returns, we’ve of course been upset by the recent pet abandonment we’ve seen. Unfortunately, even outside of a pandemic, it’s a major struggle that the shelter and rescue community is always combating,” says Veronica Becchetti, Wild One cofounder and chief supply chain officer. “We feel strongly about helping rescues navigate pet abandonment, whether during a pandemic or in the years to come, and we’re happy that we’re able to step up and support them now as they navigate this unique challenge.”
Wild One’s original program, “52 Pups in 52 Weeks,” “was born out of the desire for a consistent rescue effort that could officially be a core part of our business,” Chatani says. Upon deciding to expand to a larger, national program, Wild One’s team started by crowdsourcing criteria, shelter recommendations, and program details from within the company. “We had many conversations internally at Wild One about what we’re looking for from rescue partners based on our core values, current events, and our customer base,” she adds. “From there, we made a really big list of these criteria, some of the major ones being strictly working with no-kill shelters and welcoming all dogs, including disabled and elderly pups. We narrowed these criteria down to a handful of major values, and have used those to assess rescues.”
Given that Wild One was founded in Brooklyn, the company wanted to kick off its rescue efforts with someone in its own backyard.
“We’ve accomplished a lot over the last three years, and every moment has been impactful and rewarding,” says Krista MacDonald, BAR’s executive director. “Wild One’s sponsorship has allowed us to rescue more dogs each year since 2018. Knowing we have the dedicated funds to save more dogs has been reliable and so essential.”
In the immediate future, Wild One is running a “Buy One, Give One” promotion, through Aug. 29, during which every dollar spent at WildOne.com will be matched via a product donation to its rescue partners across the United States.
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