The Humane Society of the United States
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We Are The HSUS: Cathy Kangas

HSUS board member and founder of Prai Beauty

All Animals magazine, January/February 2018

Cathy Kangas with Hannah and Hamish. Photo by Geoffrey Tischman Photography

A LIFELONG LOVE: As a young girl, Cathy Kangas saw a man kick a dog. She let go of her mother’s hand, ran to the man and “gave him a little pummeling and said ‘Stop it,’ ” recalls Kangas, who grew up in Britain. “That was probably my first memory of feeling protective of animals. We really do hold the power over animals, and how we use that power actually shows who we are.” The budding animal protector carried that passion into adulthood, becoming an HSUS board member and founding PRAI Beauty, a cruelty- free skin care company that gives a portion of each purchase to the PRAI for Paws charity. “I love all animals, but dogs are my absolute passion,” says Kangas, who has four rescue dogs—Jay, Hannah, Hamish and Ladybug, “three big giants and one little tiny one.”

A SCREAMING SUCCESS: To help more shelter animals find homes, Kangas decided PRAI would sponsor a no-fee adoption event as a test. She chose the SPCA Tampa Bay in Largo, Florida, while visiting the area last May. With just days to prepare, Kangas advertised the free adoptions on the Home Shopping Network, which sells PRAI products, while shelter staffers worked with local media to promote the event. The SPCA expected to adopt out twice the usual number of animals, but Kangas received a call around 2 p.m. that day. People had lined up outside the shelter waiting for it to open and then adopted every single dog, most cats, rats, rabbits and one pig. “The poor director of the shelter was screaming,” says Kangas, who initially thought something was wrong. “She said, ‘Cathy, I’ve never seen anything like it! We are empty!’ ” So Kangas launched a “Free the Shelters” campaign, sponsoring adoption fees at shelters nationwide. So far, the campaign has reached 17 shelters and covered the adoption fees of 2,000 animals—including those of pit bull-type dogs at HSUS Emergency Placement Partners as part of an “Adopt a Luv-a-Bull” campaign in October.

LOVE HAS NO PRICE TAG: Studies have shown that the price paid for a pet has no impact on how much the animal will be loved. Kangas points out that money saved on an adoption fee can go toward an animal’s care, plus events like free adoptions and the surrounding excitement can “re-remind” people that shelter pets are waiting to be adopted. “For some people, that dog or cat is all they have,” she says. “They may give it more love than somebody who’s got all the money in the world.”

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