Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

What is Compassionate Fostering?

August 5th, 2011

Switchblade Creative Studios loves this article first published by StubbyDog and written by Micaela Myers. We are proud to be Compassionate Foster Caregivers for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue (Read this great article below, then check out our personal story of compassionate fostering, “The Story of Collette”)


Angels of Compassion

original publish date August 3, 2011

Opening hearts and homes to abandoned pit bulls in their final days.

By Micaela Myers

Tera had been at the shelter for two months. An older pit bull with skin cancer and two blown knees, her adoption chances were as low as can be. Knee surgery would cost at least $8,000, and the skin cancer wasn’t going to get better, either. Plus, she was now suffering from kennel stress.

So Tera went to live with Nicole Edwards, a veterinary nurse who welcomes dogs like Tera into her home for what’s known as compassion fostering.

Most foster parents bring a dog into their home knowing that the dog is on his way to a happy ending: a forever home. Compassion fosters have a very different end game: to shower that dog in love until he or she is euthanized. For a dog who is frightened and alone, compassion fosters open their homes and hearts so that dog can leave this world enveloped in love.

Even Chance

Edwards is the president of Even Chance: Pit Bull Advocacy, Resources and Rescue, based in San Diego. In addition to a regular foster and adoption program, her group offers compassion fostering.

“If there weren’t such a surplus of pit bulls,” she says, “maybe people would be into adopting a 10-year-old dog who’s a little gray and a little bit slower, or a dog that has a weird gimp because it was hit by a car and nobody helped. We’re just trying to alleviate the stress on the shelter system because [euthanasia is] all they do, and it’s really sad.”

Tera stayed with Edwards for eight months. “I loved this dog so much,” she recalls. “We took her skin cancer off. We let her live like a normal dog as long as we could, but her skin cancer came back, and her knees became a bigger problem. So she had an awesome eight months. She hung out with my dogs. She slept in my bed. She was like the mama dog of the house, which was very cool. Her favorite toy was a football, and it’s my favorite sport. I have two big baskets of toys. She would always pick the football out and literally throw it around the yard, squeak it a little bit, throw it around the yard some more.”

How compassion fostering works

Approximately 5 million animals are killed in shelters each year. Up to one in three are pit bull types (or labeled as such). Many shelters won’t even put pit bulls up for adoption. For those shelters that do, placing even healthy young pitties can be difficult given the misconceptions, stereotypes and breed restrictions.

In a better world, every dog would find a good new home, but until then Edwards and other dedicated volunteers make sure that no pittie in a San Diego County shelter has to die afraid or alone. The dogs Even Chance accepts into their compassion foster program have medical problems or behavior issues due to past neglect or abuse.

“The dogs pretty much get spoiled as long as we can,” Edwards explains. “That can be anywhere from a week to several months, depending on the case and what we can provide them.”

If there is no room in the compassion foster program, Edwards or one of her team members will spend a day with the shelter dog.

“I’ll take them to Fiesta Island [dog beach] on a long line. They can run around for as long as they want. They can get all dirty, have fun and play on the beach. We go back to the shelter to the outside area that’s set up [for their euthanasia]. We have a rotisserie chicken. They know me by then. They get to sit and eat an awesome meal.”

Focusing on the love

For most of us, the very thought of bonding with a dog we can’t save is too much to handle. Edwards focuses on the love she is able to give these dogs in their final days.

“I try and do everything I can, taking them on lots of walks or letting them smell all the things they didn’t get to smell at the shelter, giving them treats, letting them see the beach and the mountains.”

“I think the way that I’m able to deal with it is that we know this is the end for these dogs, and I feel fortunate enough to make it easier on them,” she says. “That’s my way of coping with it – knowing that they’ll have a full belly before they go, and that they’ll be happy and be with people that they already know and feel comfortable with.”

Edwards has personally welcomed nine compassion fosters into her home in the last few years. Loving seniors like Tera, who were cast off by their owners, are some of the hardest compassion cases for her to deal with emotionally.

“There’s definitely a grieving process after, especially when they’ve lived with you for almost a year. It’s almost your own dog,” she explains, adding that her fellow rescue volunteers are the best therapy during the grieving process. She calls them to reminisce about the dog and also vent about the previous owners who abandoned their pet. “I’m a big talker, so I talk it out,” she says.

Fellow compassion foster Jessica Stone says that showering the dog with love and positive experiences during the time he or she is with her helps during the grieving process after.

“I feel like during the time I have the dog I try and do absolutely everything I can,” she says, “taking them on lots of walks or letting them smell all the things they didn’t get to smell at the shelter or maybe in their previous life, giving them treats, letting them see the beach and the mountains.”

Edwards agrees. “It’s like going to grandma’s house for the weekend. They get to be on the bed. They get to be on the couch. They get to eat food they probably wouldn’t get.”

Eight-month-old Cooper was the second dog Edwards took in as a compassion foster. “He was found on the side of the freeway. He had his ears cut down to his skull. He also had two broken elbows that the vet thought had been that way maybe two months if not longer. He was not a surgical candidate to have them fixed, given the damage.”

Because of his broken elbows, Cooper had to crawl to get around and would tear open his skin in the process. He lived with Edwards for two weeks before he was humanely put down.

“That was a really sad case for us because there was nothing we could do for that dog,” she explains. “He was so young, but I’m sure he endured some pretty crappy situations in his short time.”

Edwards hopes that in his next life, “he can go on and get a new body where his elbows are not broken. He can have his ears back, and he can live with someone who loves him.”

Because in the end, that’s all any pit bull wants: someone who loves them.

Social Media Campaign for Muttville’s Moolah For Mutts; “Night of 1000 Mutts”

July 21st, 2011

Moolah For Mutts: Night of 1000 Mutts

Client: Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Challenge: Client holds an annual fundraiser gala with a new theme each year. In 2011, the event was in a new, larger venue. Also, it was important to tie in the campaign to their year long celebration of their 1000th dog rescue. We were instrumental in the development of this celebration’s marketing materials so we were familiar with what we could work with.

Switchblade Solution: We already had been brainstorming ways to utilize the amazing display of all 1000 dogs rescued that currently existed as an interactive webpage on We crafted a well-received social media campaign and event interior design based on the theme “1000 mutts”. We also knew it would be show-stopping in print as well. Read the fun details (and see some pictures) here.

Switchblade’s Contribution to Muttville’s Biggest Night of the Year, Moolah For Mutts: “Night of 1000 Mutts”

July 20th, 2011

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue‘s 3rd annual gala fundraiser, Moolah For Mutts, was a smash hit this year, raising much needed funds for the organization to continue its mission to rescue and find new homes for senior dogs slated for euthanasia. Switchblade has been a part of Muttville’s core team from the very beginning when Sherri Franklin officially started this non-profit group four years ago.

As part of the event’s planning committee, Switchblade’s contribution spanned roughly 5 months, with the special day taking place July 16, 2011. We are proud to share the creative process we helped lead and materialize into reality in print, online, and even the big screen.

Theme Development and Brand Identity

This year, the event moved to a larger space, the Swedish American Hall on Market Street in San Francisco.

It also moved to a fairly empty space. This brought some new challenges for this year’s event plans, to say the least.
Muttville was still amidst its celebration of its 1000th senior dog rescue. Taking these factors into consideration, we helped formulate this year’s theme: “Night of 1000 Mutts”. Tying in to the visuals we also designed for the 1000th rescue celebration, Switchblade developed the logo and brand identity, incorporating the sea of senior dog faces into marketing collateral for online and print.

What we love about using the 1000 faces of Muttville’s success stories is the interactivity with the website where all 1000 dogs are displayed with each one clickable to their original profile.  Not only was it a way to further share this page to the world, it was a seamless way to carry out the year long 100th rescue celebration if by chance a new visitor didn’t know about this milestone for Muttville.

Marketing and Social Media Campaign

“Night of 1000 Mutts” 6-week marketing and social media campaign further celebrated the 1000 Muttvile dogs rescued by spotlighting  a few lucky success stories. Below is an example of one lucky mutt, Waldo. We called the campaign “1000 Reasons To Attend This Year’s Moolah For Mutts”. Our social media activities systematically rotated on daily schedules with posts on Facebook three times a week, daily retweets, plus subscribers were also directly reached with timely email blasts. Within the final 2 weeks before the event, Switchblade also was excited to see our ads for the event in the San Francisco Chronicle and Bay Woof.

The campaign attracted great traffic on all of Muttville’s social networks. The variety of dogs and stories hit home for different audiences in different ways. With over 18 stories and dogs profiled, we hoped to connect with every possible compassionate animal loving person out there.

As the event sponsors and auction donors list  grew, we further developed the campaign with interaction and engagement with them via their Facebook and Twitter pages.

The event sold out and we were thrilled with the success of the campaign. Analytics showed activity on the website for Moolah For Mutts as well as Muttville’s website were steady as a result of the organized schedule followed by the marketing campaign’s activities.

Event Decor and Main Video

In order to maximize the financial success of the event, the committee did its best to have everything donated – from auction items, tables, A/V equipment, food, and beverages. About 90% was donated and if not it was discounted. The event’s sponsor, Pet Food Express, came through for the event when Switchblade, still keeping in mind the overall theme, “Night of 1000 Mutts”, asked Pet Food Express if Muttville could borrow their large mounted photographs from their “My Mutt” Program. Sized from 30′ to as large as 60′, Pet Food Express was able to offer almost 50 mounted posters. Upon entering the venue, guests were surrounded by larger than life canine faces on My Mutt posters.

PFE's Corey and Switchblade's Marie with My Mutt posters behind them

Attentive to even the smallest of details, the “1000 Mutts” theme was a part of every Muttville volunteer’s attire. Hanging from a long beaded necklace, each Muttville volunteer wore a different Muttville mutt photo accompanied by their profile story. Marie wore Collette, the foster dog she dearly loved who passed away in March 2011. (The blog article Marie wrote about Collette for Muttville was re-published by Bella Dog Magazine, and the issue was included in the goodie bags given to departing guests that night.)

Muttville volunteers Peggy, Marie, and Inger wearing Muttville dog photos and profiles

Switchblade’s most visible contribution was the main video presentation titled “The Next 1000 Mutts”  that celebrated Muttville’s successes and meant to bring heartwarming smiles to all in attendance. Founder Sherri Franklin gave a tearful speech then played the video to uplift their spirits.

Click here to watch “The Next 1000 Mutts”.


And we almost forgot to mention….Switchblade donated an item for the Live Auction – The design of a limited edition print titled “Our First 1000 Dogs”, with #1 of only 100 available framed and signed by Sherri Franklin. Read more about the big bucks this item raised for Muttville. (We were so excited by the winning bid that we just had to write about it in its own blog post!)

Switchblade Creative Studios’ Live Auction Donation to Muttville’s Annual Fundraiser Earned Some “Moolah For Mutts”!

July 20th, 2011

On July 16, Muttville had their big annual gala fundraiser, Moolah For Mutts: “Night of 1000 Mutts” and Switchblade was proud to be an integral part of the successful night. It was a pretty thrilling part of the evening when the live auction was under way. People were wildly bidding, and Lenny our amazing auctioneer brought the excitement to a crazy fun level. Auction paddles flying up every second, the spotters couldn’t keep up!

An exciting moment for me was when the item we donated, #1 of 100 Limited Edition print titled “Our First 100 Dogs”, framed and signed by Sherri Franklin , was up for bidding.


Sherri presented it on stage and the bid started at $100.

Lenny started calling out numbers I couldn’t even keep up but the bids just kept going and going!

The final winning bid was $1000!! Wow, unbelievable! I was so happy that I was speechless. Switchblade had a fantastic night, honored to be part of Muttville and the event’s planning committee. Read more about Switchblade’s contributions to a successful Moolah For Mutts: “Night of 1000 Mutts”.

“Why Your Website Most Likely Needs a Privacy Policy and What Must Be In It” by Doug Bend

May 4th, 2011

We have a guest blogger, Doug Bend, of “The Law Office of Doug Bend”, with some very important advice that is often overlooked.


The California Online Privacy Protection Act requires a website to “conspicuously post” a privacy policy if it “collects and maintains personally identifiable information from a consumer residing in California.”

“Personally identifiable information” is defined very broadly to include a first and last name, a physical address, an e-mail address, a telephone number, or any other information that permits the contact of an individual.  So, even if you are not selling a product, your website will need a privacy policy if visitors can submit their e-mail addresses to receive news and updates from you.

If a privacy policy is required, it must contain five items:

  1. Information Collected – The categories of personal information the website collects.
  2. The categories of third-parties with whom the company shares the information.
  3. How the consumer can review and request changes to their information collected by the company.
  4. How the company notifies consumers of material changes to its privacy policy.
  5. The effective date of the privacy policy.

If you are required to have a privacy policy, it must be “conspicuously posted.”  The policy is conspicuously posted if it:

  1. Appears on the homepage of your website – usually not an aesthetically pleasant option.
  2. The website can have an icon on the home page that contains the word “privacy” – not a bad option.
  3. The most popular option is to have a link at the bottom of the homepage that contains the words “Privacy Policy.”

Under the California Unfair Competition Law, website operators who do not comply with the California Online Privacy Protection Act could be sued by the California Attorney General, District Attorneys, County Counsel, or City Attorneys for ”unfair competition.”

Privacy policies vary depending on how the website collects and uses consumer information, but a good example is the privacy policy for Modify Watches, which can be viewed here.

The key is to not only make sure the privacy policy complies with the law, but to also have the policy be easy to understand so visitors do not get frustrated with legalese when trying to determine how their personal information is being collected and used by your website.

Disclaimer: This post discusses general legal issues, but it does not constitute legal advice in any respect.  No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Doug Bend expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this post.

This blog was originally published on and re-published with permisson from its author, Doug Bend.