The TurfMutt Foundation has a new spokesdog. “Mulligan,” a mixed-breed rescue puppy, will fill the cape left behind by Lucky the TurfMutt, who recently passed away at the TurfMutt Foundation offices after serving as the organization’s superhero voice for a decade. The TurfMutt Foundation promotes environmental stewardship and its program has inspired millions of kids, families and teachers to become backyard superheroes by creating and sustaining suburban and urban habitat, parks, sports fields, and other green spaces.
Mulligan, who was abandoned along with her siblings, was rescued by the Kentucky Humane Society and adopted by TurfMutt Foundation president, Kris Kiser, in Louisville, Ky., last month during Lucky’s Mutt Madness, a national dog adoption event that takes place during GIE+EXPO, the international landscape, outdoor living and equipment exposition. Mulligan and 14 other dogs were adopted at the event. The Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) and GIE+EXPO partner with the TurfMutt Foundation on Lucky’s Mutt Madness.
“Adopting a younger dog is a change for me, but I’m thrilled to bring Mulligan home as the new spokesdog for the TurfMutt Foundation. She has big paw prints to fill after Lucky’s ten years as TurfMutt, who had an extraordinary run,” said Kiser. “We still have a lot of work to do in the years to come as we educate students and families about the benefits offered by our green spaces and how to care for them.”
“Mutt Mulligan” will assume spokesdog duties for the TurfMutt Foundation once her puppy training is complete. “She’ll take on more activity with the TurfMutt Foundation as she matures and grow,” said Kiser. “Right now I’m focusing on making sure Mulligan is happy and well-socialized so she is comfortable doing things like meeting students who participate in our annual contest or visiting a television studio.”
Mulligan marks a new page in the TurfMutt platform, which grew from a youth education program launched in 2009 in a handful of Sacramento and Washington, D.C. schools to reaching 70 million students, teachers, and families through its education partners, Weekly Reader, Discovery Education and Scholastic. The message has remained the same, however: nature starts at your backdoor and everyone can help save the planet starting with their backyard.
Fast-forward to today, and the program has become a national platform appearing on every major television network, The Hub, Animal Planet and more including the award-winning show, Lucky Dog, for three seasons, being featured in Parade magazine’s Earth Day issue and winning awards. Government agencies, such as 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, have used TurfMutt as a resource. Today, in addition to Scholastic, the youth education program is distributed through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBCs) Global Learning Lab.
Animal rescue has always been part of the TurfMutt education equation, which makes Mulligan a perfect fit to fill the superhero cape left by Lucky.
Kiser added, “As adults, we want for kids to grow up to care for the environment and to appreciate the green spaces around them. Delivering a message about environmental stewardship through a dog’s eyes helps because who enjoys your back yard the most? It’s often our pets and children, though we’re finally seeing more adults turning to spending time in green space to destress and reconnect with nature.”
For the last two years, at Lucky’s Mutt Madness, the TurfMutt Foundation and GIE+EXPO donated a $10,000 check to the KHS to support their work in animal rehabilitation, rescue and adoption.
“The Kentucky Humane Society does a world of good by rescuing neglected, abused, and unwanted animals and helping them find forever homes,” said Kiser. “We are proud to support them.”