Humane Society of Missouri: Sharing the Story of the Shelter Buddies Reading Program

Humane Society of Missouri shelter staff and leadership find the most innovative ways to enhance the lives of shelter pets as they await their forever homes. The Shelter Buddies Reading Program invites children throughout St. Louis to read to shelter animals currently awaiting adoption. The program has dual benefits – it helps the animals by acclimating them to new faces and the kids by giving them a non-threatening listening audience to practice reading skills. We saw an opportunity to gain widespread coverage through traditional media outreach to share this heartwarming story.

We launched the Shelter Buddies Reading program outreach in December, 2015, sharing an adorable video that showed kids in Santa hats reading to animals. Our outreach quickly resulted in national interest from People, Refinery 29, New York Magazine, Time and more. When The Dodo, a site devoted to creating viral content out of animal-centric stories, shared the story, it quickly move to interviews with national television shows (ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and Rachael Ray) and international outlets in the UK, Australia, Germany and Brazil. Our story took over the news cycle, making the Humane Society of Missouri one of the most prominent animal shelter in America.

The Shelter Buddies Reading Program was featured in more than 150 online stories and resulted in more than 115 million impressions for the Humane Society of Missouri and a major donation of $25,000 from the Rachael Ray show.

O’Malley Hansen Communications has supported the Humane Society of Missouri for more than a decade with traditional public relations efforts that constantly find new ways to drive local and national interest in the animal welfare organization.