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May 20, 2024 12 mins
PetcoLove, a lifesaving non-profit bringing pets and people together, hosts the 25th Anniversary Petco Love Birthday Party & Pet Adoption Event in Union Square, on Sunday, June 2nd from 11am-4pm. President of Petco Love, Susanne Kogut, talks about how new pet recognition technology has already helped them reunite over 46,000 pets and with their owners. For more, visit
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Episode Transcript

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Welcome to get connected with Nina delRio, a weekly conversation about fitness,
health and happenings in our community onone oh six point seven Light FM.
Good morning, and thanks for listening. To get connected with a few minutes
with pet co Love. They area life saving nonprofit bringing pets and people
together and on Sunday, June second, hosting the twenty fifth anniversary pet co

Love Birthday Party and pet adoption eventin Union Square. Our guest is the
president of pet co Love, SuzanneCovid. Thank you for being on the
show. Thank you for having me. You can find out more about the
event and everything they do at petcolovedot org. And Suzanne, this event
two weeks from today in Union Square. It's not just an animal adoption day,

it's a party. It's a party, it's a celebration. I mean,
pet coo Love is celebrating twenty fiveyears of love and it's twenty five
years of being a national nonprofit that'sthat's dedicated to saving lives. What better
way to celebrate than to bring somelove to New York City. Right,
We are going to have a We'recalling it a birthday block party, but

it is a total celebration of petsand people. Right, there's something for
everything everyone at this event, andthere's a pet for everybody. So three
hundred pets up for adoption. Whoare they? Where do they come from?
Oh, my gosh, we haveI think we're almost up to three
hundred and fifty now. We're goingto have dogs and cats both be from
a lot of the New York Cityorganization, some of the biggest organizations like

New York City Animal Care and Control, and then down to some of the
smaller foster based groups. We haveMioo Parlor. They even have a little
cafe that you can go to.We have Muddy Pause Rescues. But just
over fourteen different organizations from New YorkCity are going to bring adoptable pets there.
So there's definitely a pet there foryou if you're looking to adopt a

pet. So pet Co Love thisis an organization obviously to some degree affiliated
with pet Co. How did itstart and why was it important to get
going? So it started back innineteen ninety nine, and this was a
Petgo had been helping organizations and showcasingpets for adoption in their pet care centers,
and they finally said, listen,we should we should make this more

organized, we should make this bigger. But the way to do that really
was to create a nonprofit and atthe time they created what was pet Co
Foundation. We've since changed our name, but we started back in nineteen ninety
nine always with the sole mission ofhelping pets and the people who love them.
So, like, this adoption eventis so much of what you do.
Facilitating access for all sorts of sheltersto get their pets out to the

public. That is number one,but it's built it's been really built into
more than that, right, Sonot only that, what we say is
we harness the power of love thatpeople have for pets to make communities and
pet families closer, stronger, andhealthier. And what does that mean,
Well, what we do there's alot of people that really do love pets

and they don't know how to getinvolved. So really, with that pet
go platform, it's national. Soa lot of our guests love pets,
so they'll be willing to donate twodollars in their checkout. We take that
two dollars and we distribute it aroundthe country to those organizations that are making
the most significant impact for pets fourhundred million. To date, we have

invested four hundred million dollars in organizationsthat are working to save pet lives.
We really have like three things thatwe're focused on. We want to end
the euthanasia of shelter pets, unnecessaryeuthanasia of shelter pets across the country.
We want to make sure that wereunite lost pets with the families that love

them. We want to keep petsin their families together, and that system
is really one that's been a littlebit broken so far, and we're really
trying to create that now pet Lostand Found database so we can make sure
pets stay home with their families.And then three, we want to make
sure that we increase access to veterinariancare for all pets. So there's a

lot of people that absolutely love theirpets, they want them, they want
to care for them, but thereare simply things either maybe they can't afford,
maybe they can't they can't afford thecare, maybe they can't actually get
to the vet office during normal hours. And we're looking to do things to
expand that care. Let's talk aboutall of those, But first I want
to remind everybody who we're speaking with. Our guest is Suzanne Kogit. She

is president of pet Co Love.Sunday, June second, hosting the twenty
fifth anniversary pet Co Love Birthday partyand pet adoption in Union Square, it
will be big. You can findout more about all the work they do
at petcolove dot org. You're listeningto get connected on one oh six point
seven Light FM. I'm Nina delRio, So Suzanne. Before joining pet

Co Love, you served as theCharlottesville SPCA executive director. You transformed that
into an award winning, nationally recognizedlife saving model. You talked about ending
the euthanasia of shelter pets, gettingthose pets adopted. What do shelters need
to be able to get out ofthat business, the euthanasia business. So
I think it's all about one thing, and it's about engaging the community to

want to help engaging. This isnot about a shelter. We'd hear people
talk about no killer. This isn'tin life saving. This isn't about a
shelter. It's about a community.We need to create community around this mission.
Let's face it, like shelters aredoing their best, but at the
end of the day. The bestplace for a pet is in a home,

so why not. I know whenI was in Charlottesvield, the number
one thing we did was we focusedon making sure we got foster homes for
the pets that were in our care. Over half of the pets that came
in for our health every year wentinto foster care until could get adopted.
But there's really you know, it'sthere's something that everyone can do. Maybe
you can't foster, maybe you couldvolunteer, maybe you can donate. The

way we solve this in this countryis to create a community that wants to
solve the problem. And I knowwe can do it because we are a
community of pet lovers. So it'sreally just everyone doing their part and the
shelter is just that central place tohelp coordinate activities. Reuniting lost pets is
also part of your key mission.I'm fascinated to hear about pet recognition technology.

We started pet Go Love Lost withthe goal of creating the largest national
lost and Found pet database. Sowhat does that mean. Well, we
are connected to shelters where if yourpets in a shelter and they're participating,
those pets will come into our database. We've now been connected to social platforms

like neighbors and next door, andthen if people find a pet in their
neighbors, all of this is simplyupload a photo of the pet into our
database. If you lose your petand you've uploaded that photo and I'm you
know, a few blocks down theroad and I found it, you could
upload the photo and our image recognitiontechnology will make that match. You'll be

able to sort of communicate with me, I think this is my pet.
I can ask you some questions,we can arrange a place to meet,
and we can reunite and get yourpet back home with you. That's quite
amazing. Do you know how manypets have been reunited with their owners using
this technology? Yeah, so farforty six thousand. But I have to
say we are just getting started.This is you know, there are millions

of pets that go lost every yearand we want them all to go back
home. So we're just getting startedin this I think is going to make
a huge difference. So back toyou. The final thing that you really
work on is trying to assist withgetting care into nonprofit veterinarians, which is
an interesting topic. I don't thinkpeople even think about that, there is
a shortage and what does that mean, that shortage of access and veterinarians in

that space. Yeah, there's ashortage of access. There's a shortage of
veterinarians, especially in the nonprofit spaceand veterinarian technicians. So listen. One
of the things that we've done andwe've really focused on, was vaccines.
Right, so there's one thing aboutmy pets sick, how can I get
vet care? Well, how aboutlet's just stop your pet from getting sick.

And the most common diseases are parbavirusand dogs and some of the southern
states distemper and pan lucopenia for cats. And so what we've done is a
free vaccine campaign and we've distributed twopoint five million vaccines to date. And
when we ask people that areanes arelike mass clinics usually and when people are

coming through them, only thirty sixpercent of the people going through those clinics
have ever vaccinated their pets. SoI think, first and foremost, we
can we can save a lot ofvet by just making sure the pets don't
get sick and need the vets.We reduce that time on the vets.
And then we've also done things.We just created recently a scholarship program for
veterinarian technicians that are working in nonprofits. We want, we need to increase

the number of technicians that are workingin nonprofits. There is a lot to
be done on increasing access to veterinariancare and it's going to take a lot
of collaboration to get there, butwe're doing our part. So back to
the event as we wrap up.This event is two Sundays away June second,

the twenty fifth anniversary pet Co LoveBirthday Party and pet adoption event.
Three hundred pets. What kinds ofanimals are up for adoption, So we'll
have dogs and cats that are availablefor adoption, but again a lot of
different activities like face painting, characterart, a photo booth, anything that
you can think of. But rememberit's a birthday party, so we will

have probably the largest dog bone birthdaypay for dog. It's a seven foot
birthday cake. We'll also have acat birthday cake. It'll be a heart
shape birthday cake. And then wehave our Master of Ceremony, Anthony Peroski,
who a lot of people will know. He's a beloved star from Netflix's
Queer Eye series. He's also theco founder of Yammer's Pet Food, but

more importantly, he's a board memberfor pet Goo Love and an incredible animal
advocate. We're going to start offwith singing Happy Birthday. I want everyone
in Union Square to sing Happy Birthday. And then we're going to cut the
cake and we're going to serve thedogs of New York City a piece of
that birthday cake. And of courseall the adoptable pets, and all the
adoptable are the cats that are theretoo. We're going to serve all the

adoptable dogs, cats and dogs andcats of New York City a birthday park
cake to celebrate with us. Soif your dog or cat even loves a
crowd, you can bring them out. Oh, absolutely bring them out.
They are going to have a lotof fun. You know, put a
little hat on them. You canget some photos of them eating the birthday
cake. It'll be a fun dayfor everyone, you know. I actually

feel like I wouldn't have the energyanymore to adopt a puppy or a kitten.
And when we think about adding anotherpet to our house, we always
think of like an older pet.So there's a wide range of ages available
to there's absolutely I like to adoptsenior dogs that it meets my activity level,
right. I have senior dogs inmy household, so I love adopting

senior dogs. So there will bea what There's going to be something for
everyone. It's just going to bea great day. I think it sounds
fantastic with the cake, et cetera. You can find out more at Petcolove
dot org. The event is twoSundays away in Union Square, the twenty
fifth anniversary pet Co Love Birthday Partyand pet Adoption. Our guest has been
Suzannekogit. Thank you for being onGet Connected. Thank you so much for

having me. This has been GetConnected with Nina del Rio on one oh
six point seven light Fm. Theviews and opinions of our guests do not
necessarily reflect the views of the station. If you missed any part of our
show or want to share it,visit our website for downloads and podcasts at
one O six seven lightfm dot com. Thanks for listening.
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