Suppose Adam, Eve, and a serpent were each offering to sell you an identical apple –
same size, same color, same sweetness – for the price of four fig leaves. The serpent planned to use the fig leaves as camouflage. Eve intended to turn the fig leaves into a new skirt. Adam planned to feed his fig leaves to the hungry doe who had just given birth to a fawn. Which apple would you buy?
If you chose Adam’s apple, then you just might be the ideal customer for a new business – one that, like Adam, promises to use its
proceeds to help animals. Except that in this case, the products are pet treats, toys and other supplies, with the primary emphasis on pet pharmaceuticals. Glenn Buckley, the veterinarian who founded Pet Rescue Rx along with his brother Scott, got in touch to introduce himself and share their vision: all net profits to animal shelters. “I have reached an age when I can really appreciate what money cannot buy: my health, my life partner…time spent walking my dogs and watching them play. I want to share that appreciation for life by what I can give back through this business,” says Buckley, whose title is CEO.
Giving something back is not a new concept, thankfully. There are any number of companies that donate a portion of their profits to help animals; adoptashelter.com is one of the best known. 1-800-PetMeds, which advertises itself as “America’s Largest Pet Pharmacy,” says it donates thousands of dollars in pet supplies and medications to shelters. What sets Pet Rescue Rx apart is the promise to donate all net profits. “I’m running into some skepticism,” says Buckley, with a note of what sounds like resignation in his voice. “But we’re doing this for the same reasons volunteers at shelters do: to get the money where it needs to go.”
Buckley says his eyes were opened to the needs of shelter animals when he volunteered in one, and started brainstorming a new way of subsidizing them. He likens his business model to Newman’s Own, which funnels all after-tax profits to human causes. Newman’s Own says that’s about $370 million so far. How much will Pet Rescue Rx contribute? It’s far too soon to know, as the company just opened in June. And when financials are available, they do not have to be disclosed: Pet Rescue Rx is not a 501(c)3 and is not publicly held. Buckley says that he is currently funding the startup via his two animal emergency clinics in Florida and not taking a salary. Both of those things will likely change if Pet Rescue Rx takes off. But he vows that it will always be, “Pets Before Profits,” the company’s motto.
Buckley says he’s competitively priced with other online pet pharmacies (and here’s where the analogy comes in) because, “when you’re all selling apples, you have to be.” He’s being choosy about his apples, though, carrying products from other “do good” companies “out there to make a difference,” like Halo Pet, John Paul Pet Products, and yes: Newman’s Own Organic Pet Treats. “I have been given a gift, as we all have, to create something which can have a greater impact for good. We should all look within ourselves to find that and let it grow.”
Growth going forward will be largely up to shoppers. It’s certainly a concept that holds promise, and enticing to those who care about the estimated 6-8 million animals who enter U.S. shelters each year, half of them only to face a death sentence. They could use the help. If Pet Rescue Rx should bear fruit, we can only hope – and perhaps even allow ourselves to trust – that Buckley will keep his promise.
Note: Pet Rescue Rx hopes to become licensed in all 50 states. At this writing, it is getting close to halfway there.