Lucky the TurfMutt is shining a spotlight on mixed breed shelter dogs during National Mixed Breed Dog Day, which honors mutts like TurfMutt twice a year – on Dec. 2 and July 31.
This day is all about celebrating and saving mixed breed dogs who are often overlooked in favor of “designer” or pure-bred puppies. A study by the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) reveals that about 95 percent of the dogs in shelters are mutts.
TurfMutt is a mixed breed dog who has an incredible story that has taken him from the streets to stardom. He was rescued by Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). Now, Lucky paws it forward by helping kids and families understand the importance of their living landscapes by acting as the spokesdog for TurfMutt, the environmental education program created by OPEI’s Research and Education Foundation.
Since 2009, TurfMutt has reached more than 68 million children, educators and families. He also uses his canine clout as a superdog to bring attention to rescue pets and the “howl-i-days” that celebrate these wonderful animals.
“My life may seem glamorous now, but it didn’t start out that way when I was a homeless dog,” said TurfMutt, who also makes guest appearances via his human, Kiser, on the hit TV show Lucky Dog. “Kris and I believe all dogs deserve the chance at happily-ever-after that I got, and we work hard to make sure prospective pet parents look to shelters and mixed breeds first when they’re considering adding a furry friend to their family.”
Added Kiser, “Unfortunately, mixed breed dogs – mutts like TurfMutt – are often overlooked, which means they spend more time in the shelter or even worse. But mixed breeds have the benefit of bringing the disposition and characteristics of many different breeds to a family, while at the same time diminishing some of the health concerns that can be associated with “designer dogs.” TurfMutt is a shining example of how wonderful mixed breed dogs are, and I would encourage anyone who wants a dog to consider bringing a mutt into their home.”
For those who are in the market for a new family friend, Kiser said that Mixed Breed Dog Day is the perfect chance to visit a local shelter.
Those interested in helping TurfMutt on his mission can:
-Share the plight of mixed breed dogs with friends and family.
-Share pictures of the family mutt on social media to draw attention to Mixed Breed Dog Day.
-Donate time or money to a local shelter or rescue organization.
TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Research and 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 also is featured in the 2017 and the upcoming 2018 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars. More information is at www.TurfMutt.com.
For those who are inspired, there are plenty of local shelters to adopt from or to volunteer at in Sevier and Knox Counties.
One of those is Pets without Parents, located in Sevierville at 901 Mize Ln. Pets without Parents is a non-profit shelter established in 2011 which houses dogs, cats and smaller animals such as bunnies or hamsters.
To learn more about Pets without Parents, or to make a donation, visit www.pwpshelter.com. They can also be reached by phone at 286-9411.
Another option for those closer to the Knoxville area is Young-Williams Animal Shelter, located at 3201 Division St.
They have a wide variety of cats and dogs as well as one rabbit currently. They are in need of foster homes for the pets, adoptions and donations. For more information about Young-Williams Animal Shelter, visit www.young-williams.org. They can be reached by phone at 215-6599.
For these animals, a little help can go a long way, pushing them closer and closer to finding their home.

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