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THE 17th ANNUAL HOME 4 THE HOLIDAYS CAMPAIGN, PRESENTED BY BLUE BUFFALO, HIGHTAILS IT TO THE FUNNY PAGES!

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif., Oct. 5, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As Helen Woodward Animal Center and Blue Buffalo kick off the 17th annual Home 4 the Holidays campaign, a national celebrity has joined the cause. But the face of this high-profile beauty won't be seen on the cover of a Hollywood or fashion magazine and she won't be taking interviews. In fact, the 2015/2016 spokesperson doesn't have an actual voice, at least not one that doesn't appear in a bubble above her head, but she does have the ability to make a very large impact. LUANN, the beloved comic character and her dog Puddles appear in major newspaper publications across the country and have an on-line fan base of over a million readers. Her creator, Greg Evans, was moved to dedicate a whole week's worth of comic strips to the kickoff of the annual holiday campaign, which last year placed its 10 millionth orphan pet into a loving home through an impressive group of partner organizations. The Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays campaign runs from October 1st, 2015 through January 4th, 2016.

Home 4 the Holidays is an annual, international, three‐month pet‐adoption drive dedicated to finding happy, loving homes for orphan pets. The campaign began 17 years ago when Helen Woodward Animal Center President and CEO Mike Arms noticed that a majority of rescue facilities were closing their doors during the holiday season – a primary time of year for family pet additions. With shelter doors closed, would-be adopters were resorting to shopping at pet stores or puppy mills for holiday pet purchases. Not only did this increase the business of non-reputable stores and backyard breeders, but Arms was aware that the staff at these businesses were rarely trained to assess the likelihood of a successful animal/family match, increasing the number of pets sent to shelters once the season was over.

The Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays campaign asks shelters to keep their doors open throughout the holiday months and provides marketing tools to get the word out. Blue Buffalo then provides all participating rescue facilities with "Adoption Kits" to gift to each new pet parent who takes home an orphan pet throughout the campaign. Through a collective group of over 4,000 pet adoption agencies, facilities and rescue‐groups, located throughout all 50 states and 25 countries, this campaign has become the largest pet adoption campaign on record, helping save over 10 million pets since 1999. In its many years, the international program has attracted the hearts of such major celebrities as Hillary Swank and Diane Keaton, but never one quite so animated as this year's spokesperson.
LUANN and her dog Puddles were created by California native and avid pet adopter, Greg Evans who grew up near the Disney Studios in Burbank and began drawing at an early age, dreaming of one day meeting the great Walt Disney. After receiving his teaching credential from Cal State Northridge he spent years living throughout the world and taking on a variety of jobs including beginning a mail-order comic business, selling school-themed strips to school newspapers. In 1984, inspiration struck as he watched his 6 year old daughter, Karen, play dress-up. Evans began writing a strip about an adventuresome, funny teen girl and in 1985 LUANN debuted in 74 newspapers. In 2003, Greg received the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. And in a perfect case of "full-circle," Karen, the original LUANN, is now helping her dad write the strip.

Helen Woodward Animal Center and Blue Buffalo are delighted that LUANN is bringing the important message of pet adoption into homes of newspaper readers across the country. The strip introduces readers to the holiday campaign through LUANN's art class assignment – a Home 4 the Holidays poster contest – in which LUANN reflects on the impact of Puddles in her life and uses her pup as the face of the winning promotional piece. The strip shares the impact that pets make on our lives and through humor, encourages readers to give orphan pets a home this holiday season. (See the whole Home 4 the Holidays storyline here: LuannComic.com)

"We are incredibly grateful to have friends like Greg Evans," said Arms. "Every year, we join with Blue Buffalo in placing more orphan pets into forever loving homes. Through the LUANN comic strip, Greg is helping us share this impactful campaign and save even more lives."

There are many ways to get involved in the Blue Buffalo Home 4 the Holidays campaign, most importantly by adopting, and encouraging friends to adopt. For more information about the campaign or to find out how to get involved, go to www.home4theholidays.org.

Helen Woodward Animal Center is located at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe. For more information about the Center, log on to www.animalcenter.org.

About Home 4 the Holidays (H4TH)

As one of the most successful pet adoption programs in the world, H4TH partners with thousands of animal organizations dedicated to finding forever homes for orphan pets. Founded by Helen Woodward Animal Center and in partnership with Blue Buffalo this year, the program began in 1999 with just 14 participating animal shelters in San Diego County. Since it began 17 years ago, partner organizations in the Home 4 the Holidays campaign have helped more than 10 million families experience the joy of pet adoption, including more than 1.3 million pet adoptions last year alone. For more information, please visit www.home4theholidays.org.

About Helen Woodward Animal Center

Helen Woodward Animal Center is a private, non-profit organization where "people help animals and animals help people." Founded in 1972 in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., the Center provides services for more than 57,000 people and thousands of animals annually through adoptions, educational and therapeutic programs both onsite and throughout the community. Helen Woodward Animal Center is also the creator of the International Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption drive, the International Remember Me Thursday® campaign and The Business of Saving Lives Workshops, teaching the business of saving lives to animal welfare leaders from around the world. For more information, go to: www.animalcenter.org.

About Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo Company, located in Wilton, CT, is the nation's leading pet food company, and provides a complete line of healthy and holistic natural foods and treats for dogs and cats. Blue Buffalo products are sold nationwide in PETCO. For more information visit BlueBuffalo.com.



A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=36695

CONTACT: Pr Manager Jessica Gercke JessicaG@animalcenter.org 858-756-4117, ext. 335Source: Helen Woodward Animal Center