Blog the Change – The Almighty Dollar

Blog the Change

For this Blog the Change for Animals post, I would like to share some positive news.

Back in January, I wrote a letter to Pets Unlimited – a local pet store chain –  declaring I would not shop in their stores until they stopped selling live animals. Apparently I was not alone in doing so. In June, Pets Unlimited announced they would stop selling puppies and kittens!

While they never officially stated the reasons behind this surprising decision, it is clear that customer complaints played a large role. A store doesn’t stop selling a product if that store is making money. The people across the Maritimes have made their wishes obvious by staying away and getting their pets elsewhere. It’s amazing what can be achieved by voting with your dollar. Thanks to the concerns of the public, many large-scale breeders in the area will be forced to shut down their operations. The positive effects will be limitless. Who knows how many animal lives will now be spared?

What this all really says to me is that change is possible. There is hope. If enough people get together, if enough people care, wonderful things can happen. What was acceptable twenty years ago will no longer be acceptable now if we speak out.

Shauna from Fido and Wino pointed out a link to the disappointing story of Michael Vick’s Sportsman of the Year Award. It’s horrible, I know, that our society regards this man a hero, despite all of the horrific acts he has committed toward living creatures.

But I was able to find hope even here. Further down in the article, it mentions that a representative from Subway – the major sponsor of the award – said that Subway “will most likely not sponsor this award again because there have been so many calls about people’s outrage about Michael Vick’s being associated with Subway.” I think that says something about the message people are sending. We are not going to accept animal abuse, or animal abusers, in our world anymore. Nor are we going to accept those who sign their paycheques.

Buoyed by these terrific advances, I have been thinking about other areas in which a well-written letter to a business or sponsor may make a difference. If writing to a politician doesn’t elicit change, and holding up a sign only makes people walk faster in the other direction, being careful about where you spend your money, and making it known to the business why you won’t shop there, has been proven to work.

So it’s time to hit up the big leagues.

There is a dog training show on Canadian television that makes my eyebrow twitch and my blood pressure rise. I can’t even say the name of the host without clenching my fists. (For the record, his initials are not CM.) I’ve tried contacting the network, I’ve tried contacting the network’s owner. The show is still on all the time. In fact, they have even given him a new show. This time he’s using his tactics on puppies. It’s time to get serious.

Even if I have to sit through an entire episode to do it, I am going to find out the major sponsors of this show and contact every single one of them. And then contact the companies above them. And the companies above them. I am going to stop purchasing their products and tell others to do the same. If I can’t get these people to listen to reason, then I will hit them where it really hurts, as they say. By taking their money away.

There is hope. The changes Pets Unlimited is making prove this. I have no doubt that twenty years from now the world is going to be a much happier place for our animals.

29 thoughts on “Blog the Change – The Almighty Dollar

  1. Great news! Yep, the buck is very persuasive, isn’t it?

    My state just legalized gay marriage for the first time. The last legislators who were holding out eventually made speeches in which they said that they changed their minds because “it was the right thing to do.”

    But all the newspaper stories the next week were about how gay weddings would boost the economy.

    As an idealist, I’m not crazy about money driving everything but I have to admit it’s useful.

    BTW, you should publish the list of sponsors for the “dog show which will not be named.” I’m sure many of your readers would be happy to lend their support to a boycott (and maybe save a little money in the process).


  2. Now I am curious. I have no idea who you are referring to. I don’t generally watch tv dog training shows. Unless the trainer is looking at your dog, I just don’t know how it is that helpful. But with any training method there are usually cheer leaders and detractors. I am familiar with many different kinds of training methods and I can give examples of dogs that were helped and hurt by them. (By hurt I mean so messed up by a trainer who did not deal with the dog’s aggression and dominance that it had to be euthanized…a very dangerous trend in dog “training” imo and also leads to many of these dogs being euthanized or surrendered to shelters). The training method that is right for one dog, is not for another and getting the info off a tv program is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion.

    But I guess someone must watch them because they keep making them.


  3. I’m not sure about which show you are watching either (we don’t get cable), but it sounds awful! I already cringe just from CM anyway, and you make this one sound even worse. Ugh.

    So glad for the good news though – how awesome that the petstore stopped selling puppies and kittens!!!


  4. I would happily join you in spreading the word about this, if you’d like! As an informed dog lover, and as a Canadian, I find him absolutely infuriating.


  5. Good for you Kristine! You have inspired me to write a letter. I recently found out that the state of CT (where I live) is going to be imposing a lot of restrictions on rescue groups bringing animals in from out of state. This will virtually put the rescue groups out of business and there are so many animals in need of homes!


  6. Kristine, that’s EXCELLENT news about the store committing to no longer selling animals! Money, fortunately and unfortunately, is powerful. Fortunately because it gives consumers a lot of power and without that power change wouldn’t necessarily happen… UNfortunately because we as consumers have to flex our muscles because businesses won’t do the ethical thing on their own accord.

    Regarding that trainer, he had ONE episode air on a USA based cable network and the uproar it caused was fierce. I know I emailed the station and the parent station and wrote a snail-mail letter to the baby network. I got two generic responses back and both indicated that the station had already started the process of reviewing, with a more critical eye, just what exactly they were promoting. A few days after the ONE episode aired (it aired i think a grand total of twice in one time zone) all the promotion of it was off the websites and it disappeared from the schedule. The instant feedback (and apparently overwhelming) feedback they got made a difference and that idiot disappeared. It’s particularly difficult with him because he so litigious and uses a team of lawyers to scare people into backing down if they even mention his name in a questionable sense–he’s quite the bully and not just with dogs.


  7. Ah, yes. Him. He really is so much worse than CM.

    I blogged about him before I heard the rumors of him sending his lawyer after everyone who mentions him negatively online… no contact so far, but I’d rather fight it than take it down if it came to that point, anyway. It’s part of being a public figure; not everything written about you is going to sing your praises. Look at all the anti-CM sites out there. That being said, “fans” have gone to his live sessions and appearances only to have their dogs smacked in the face, and have written about it and posted videos online… apparently he’s got a very strict policy against cameras and videos now, but it’s too late – they’re already out there.

    I think I will join you in your letter-writing campaign, Kristine.


  8. You know, I hadn’t made the connection between your last BtC4A post and the awesome Pets Unlimited news until now! The pushback we’ve seen from Petland here has been nothing short of frustrating, and I admit I’m a little jealouse of the success in the Martimes (thrilled, but envious).

    But you have given me a great idea! Petland and PJ’s both sponsor lots of things from events to radio stations. I will take a reverse approach, and write to these companies that have funding relationships with pet stores that sell dogs and cats to express my distaste and refusal to do business. Like you said, money talks!


  9. That’s really fab news. At the end of the day businesses want to make money, if they get enough people boycott their business, they will change.

    Are you referring to The Dog Whisperer? Rarely get his programmes here, or if we do they are on channels I can’t get.


  10. You are super inspiring with your fierce determination. I still cannot figure out how petland in the US gets away with continuing to sell animals. I’ve signed so many petitions written so many letters and still… So sad


  11. I think that’s fantastic. More and more I’m seeing commercial pet stores announce adoption days instead of puppy and kitten sales. The PetCo in Olympia had live cats at their store, but they were all up for adoption, on display from the local shelter. The PetCo here has adoption days with the Anchorage shelter every Saturday.

    THAT’S what I like to see!

    Good for you for being someone willing to make a stand. Step by step we’ll eradicate ignorance surrounding pet ownership…


  12. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a good success story!! It’s proof positive that we can vote with our dollars! Congrats on the victory and thank your keeping up the good fight!

    This is some pretty terrific blogging for change.


  13. I love hearing good news! I think people need to realize that one person can make a difference. With each person that makes a difference, comes more people that believe they can make a difference. I hope your prediction comes true and in the future, all animals live safe, happy lives!


  14. Well done, Kristine. It’s good to know the ‘little people’ can have an effect if they band together.

    I have no idea who the dog trainer is that you refer to but he sounds like very bad news. Good luck with your campaign to get him off the air waves.


  15. Isn’t it so awesome to see that change is possible. You are absolutely right, dollars speak louder than words. I used to eat ar Subway everyday for lunch and I haven’t been once since the award. I know exactly which show you means and I am with you 100%. Can’t stand that guy.


  16. Yahoo!!! Kristine – That is awesome news! You know I have a dog in the fight against stores selling puppy mill puppies, so reading your post made my day!

    I agree. Voting with your dollar DOES make a difference. I was not aware that Subway had decided not to sponsor the award that Vick got again. I am really glad to hear this. I was so disappointed when I saw that they had sponsored the award and that it had been given to Vick (have you noticed that the word Vick sounds more like an expletive now?).
    I am also glad you are taking on THAT dog trainer. I know exactly of who you speak because you have mentioned him before and because I saw him once on Animal Planet (just once) and was so outraged I tweeted them. I hope your campaign makes a difference. Maybe you could even post the sponsors so we can write them too!

    Thank you for joining Blog for the Change!



  17. Stopping by from the Blog the Change blog hop! Great article! We have the power to make change, and we’re finally learning how to use it. Someone asked the other day what to do if you see a dog in a hot car. I said tell the manager. They thought the manager wouldn’t do anything because it was cutomer – until I pointed out that a good manager would much rather alienate one customer, than deal with the negative media and public outrage if the dog died in his parking lot.

    Subway’s pulling their support for the Sportsman of the Year Award after BET awarded it to Michael Vick. We can be heard.


  18. Hi, I came to your blog via the Be the Change 4 Animals blog hop 🙂

    Great news on the store announcing they would no longer sell puppies or kittens. Well done to everyone who contacted them.



  19. Oh, wow! This is an awesome post – so glad to read about some positive results for speaking out for the animals! Keep up the great work!

    The Road Dogs


  20. Great to hear the Pets Unlimited news. I absolutely believe in voting with my dollars. Good luck with your next efforts – you’re on a winning streak so far!

    -Chandra at Daley’s Dog Years


  21. Hey Kristine, I’m sorry I’m so late commenting but I’m catching up on my Google Reader and this is a great post. Nice work! I’d love to see the list of sponsors of this show – I’ll stop buying their products too. When you vote with your dollars – that’s what gets businesses’ attention. BTW – watching the program on MUTE might make it easier. Good luck!


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