Many people attend auto shows to learn about the latest innovations in the automotive industry, but attendees who stop by the Subaru booth might end up walking away with a new member of the family.
Since 2018, Subaru has partnered with auto shows across the country, including the Los Angeles Auto Show, to help find loving homes for adoptable dogs. The initiative is part of Subaru Love Promise, the company’s philanthropic and social impact mission. Throughout the year, Subaru focuses on five different fundamental pillars that make up the Promise of Love: helping find loving homes for pets, preserving the environment, giving back to local communities, helping people in the need and support the education of children.
“Subaru and our retailers are dedicated to making the world a better place, simply because it’s the right thing to do,” said Julie Campbell, Shows and Events Specialist for Subaru of America. “The Subaru Love Promise is truly a commitment to improving the lives of those around us – not just with donations, but also with actions that bring us closer to the community and encourage others to get involved to increase the cumulative impact .”
Dog adoption programs help four-legged friends find loving homes
Since 2018, Subaru and its retailers have donated $465,000 to help pet organizations and helped 867 animals find loving homes at the LA Auto Show and other auto shows Across the country. Many dogs find loving homes through Subaru Loves Pets, a mainstay of the Subaru Love Promise, but these happy occasions are also the result of extensive planning and collaboration with show organizers.
“We’ve got it covered, from poop bag logistics to everything you need to adopt a dog at an auto show,” said Terri Toennies, president of the LA Auto Show. “We know the puppies are tired, so we bring the dogs in on a rotational basis to let them take naps throughout the day as needed.”
When the partnership started, it was a bit difficult to gain traction with local pet organizations and animal shelters. After all, pet organizations aren’t exactly used to responding to requests for dog adoption from auto shows. That all changed in the past few years, as shelters across the country piqued their ears and heard about the automaker’s work.
“Now that people have seen what it is and heard about it on the news, they’re like, ‘I’m glad to help!’ “Can I come on board?” “We’d like to sign up,” Campbell said.
From COVID-19-related slowdowns to rapid expansion
The pandemic disrupted the growth of the dog adoption effort, but Subaru bounced back in 2021. “This last show season, 2021-2022, is when we really got our legs under us,” said Campbell. “We participated in 43 shows, and we adopted 279 dogs.”
With animal shelters eager to participate and a full schedule of 45 auto shows booked for the 2022-2023 season, the Subaru Loves Pets auto show adoption program shows no signs of slowing down. “We actually had a few people come to the show specifically because they wanted to adopt a dog,” Campbell said.
Dogs aren’t just entertaining for customers. Toennies said that in the midst of a busy auto show, with thousands of people milling around, having a space to briefly relax with adoptable dogs is also therapeutic for auto show employees. “From our perspective, it’s really cool, because the Subaru booth is right below our showroom desk,” Toennies said. “I can watch the booth all day and see the dogs come and go.”
Because the dogs have been such a hit, Subaru explored the idea of expanding the program to other species of pets, but the team doesn’t want to bite off more than they can chew.
“We considered the idea of having other animals,” Campbell said. “Cats would probably be a little more doable, but they’re still escape artists. So the problem would be a cat coming out, running around the auto show, getting into cars and just being a little hard to pick up.
Cats and cars might seem like a doomed plan, but they’re not the only creatures deemed too chaotic for auto shows. “We just got a call last week that an exotic reptile company wanted to exhibit,” Toennies said, “and we said, ‘No, thank you!’”
Dogs are the stars of the show, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be losing their place to cats or lizards any time soon. Nearly 70% of Subaru owners have pets, and at least half of them are dogs, so it makes sense to focus on dogs. Soon, the auto show’s adoption events will have helped more than 1,000 dogs find homes, demonstrating that the program clearly resonates with Subaru’s customer base.
“What’s so special to me about these events is seeing how much joy they bring to so many people, the look of anticipation on these people’s faces,” Toennies told us. “They’ll be lining up to get into the dog park, and they’ll be waiting for the chance to love these dogs.”
Most car sales people want to put you in a new car, but the Subaru team wants to put a new dog with you. Check out the Subaru booth at your next local auto show, and you just might find a new set of wheels and a furry friend to boot.
This series of articles is sponsored by Subaru and produced by the TriplePundit editorial team.
Images courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.