Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Caring Causes: Supporting Rescue Dogs

Support rescue dogs and outdoor living by featuring Lucky the TurfMutt. This Saturday a heart-warming “best of” Lucky Dog episode with tips from TurfMutt will air – and this episode includes a story about a young, timid German Shepherd mix named Polly.

Polly may be the perfect match for a beach-going family with kids. But before Polly can hit the waves, trainer Brandon McMillan must lure this pup out of her shell. Lucky’s human friend, Kris Kiser, pays a visit to Polly’s prospective new home to see if it is TurfMutt-approved and to find out if her adopters can provide a great family yard environment for her.

Lucky the TurfMutt will also be featured in an upcoming book! Love Unleashed: Tales of Inspiration and the Life-Changing Power of Dogs, by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh will be published on March 6, 2018, by National Geographic. The book, now available for pre-order on Amazon, focuses on the importance of our pets, and encourages rescue, rehabilitation and adoption of dogs — a message for which TurfMutt gives a “high paw” salute.

Along with supporting animal adoption, the TurfMutt program encourages people to make wise decisions around their family yards, lawns, and landscapes for the health of pets, wildlife, and the environment.
The TurfMutt program has reached more than 68 million children, educators, and families since 2009, showing them how they can “save the planet, one yard at a time.” To learn more about the TurfMutt program and get free e-books, online games, lesson plans, and more to inspire students in grades K-5 to take care of green spaces, visit To learn more about caring for our living landscapes, visit
I had a chance to interview Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, to learn more. 
What led to Lucky being featured in the book?
We got a call from Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, a writer who has written several books with National Geographic. She had seen media coverage on Lucky and the TurfMutt program, and she wanted to include him in a new book she was working on. She interviewed me and got to know Lucky really well!

Can you share a little bit about Lucky's story?
Lucky is literally a road rescue. In 2006 while driving on a freezing February day, he ran right in front of my car. I followed along behind him as he ran down the road and into an intersection where he had stopped. He was skinny, dirty, just banged up and looked like he'd been homeless for some time. I opened the door, he stood up, and I lifted him into the car and our journey together began.

Lucky became a constant travel companion at work, at home – everywhere. And by chance, at a work meeting while lying under the conference room table, he was discovered. A simple question – will he wear a cape? – led him to becoming TurfMutt and the living face of the TurfMutt program at our education foundation.

Now, Lucky “paws it forward” by helping kids and families learn about the outdoors, and to let everyone know that every dog can be a hero – a TurfMutt. Lucky is the inspiration behind the TurfMutt environmental education and stewardship program designed for children in grades K-5. And since 2009, the TurfMutt program has reached 68 million children, educators and families. Lucky helps spread the word that, with fun and interactive activities, the planet and our living landscapes can be saved “one yard at a time.”

Why is it so important to raise awareness of rescue pets?
Rescue dogs teach us about redemption, humanity and the importance of helping others. Millions of strays and homeless dogs in shelters need loving homes every year. When you adopt a dog or rescue a stray, you’re really saving a life, and they know it. When I found Lucky, I was at a stage in my life where I needed him, and we helped each other.

Now, as TurfMutt, he wants to use his celebrity dog status to help other dogs like him who have been down on their luck to get a second chance and find a loving home and a purpose. Lucky and I encourage all potential pet owners to adopt their next four-legged family member. 

About TurfMutt
TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Education Foundation and has reached more than 68 million children, educators, and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” TurfMutt is an official USGBC® Education Partner and education resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2017, the TurfMutt animated video series won the coveted Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award for Best Interstitial Series. TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat is featured in the 2017 and 2018 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars. More information at

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