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Beltrami Humane Society, Lueken’s Village Foods partner for pets

From left, Beltrami Humane Society Director Brandon Mustful updates the Humane Society display in the Lueken’s Village Foods pet food aisle along with Jarrod Whaley, grocery manager, and Nick Moe, advertising manager. The Humane Society and Lueken’s have partnered to give each adopted pet a free bag of pet food. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — People who adopt a cat or dog at the Beltrami Humane Society can start out with a free bag of pet food through a partnership with Lueken’s Village Foods.

The idea came from Nick Moe, advertising manager at Lueken’s, and Jarrod Whaley, grocery manager.

“(Whaley) had the idea that he wanted to redo our pet food aisle,” Moe said. “We were trying to think of different ways we could really bring it to life. He’s an avid animal lover, and I’ve had pets in the past.”

The two came up with the idea of offering a coupon for a free bag of pet food with every adopted pet. In the pet food aisle at both Lueken’s locations, shoppers can view pictures of some of the Humane Society’s pets available for adoption on a colorful display, designed by Jane Reese, marketing manager. The display also explains the pet food partnership.

Each adopted pet at the Humane Society goes home with a coupon for a bag of pet food, up to a $12 value. The pet owner brings in the coupon and the adoption papers, which are stamped upon redemption of the coupon.

“The people at Lueken’s contacted me, and I was, like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it,’” said Brandon Mustful, Beltrami Humane Society director. “We already have a volunteer who posts pictures like that at different places, but to have it up really visible at Lueken’s is really great. It gets a lot more traffic that way.”

Mustful emails Lueken’s photos of the animals and lets the business know when animals have been adopted so their pictures can be removed from the display.

 “We’re still not done with the revisions we want to make with the pet food aisle, but this is a project that took off quick,” Moe said. “I thoroughly enjoy it. I think the Humane Society does so much good.”

Mustful said Lueken’s has already been a big help with the bins in the front of the stores in, which people can leave donated pet food and cat litter.

The Humane Society benefits from other initiatives with businesses and organizations in the community.

For example, “Kat’s book Nook is a great helper for us,” Mustful said. “She basically fosters cats so people can see cats in a better environment than just in a kennel.”

Once a month, the bookstore hosts a “kitty play date” with four or five kittens on Saturday, he said.

“A lot of businesses in Bemidji are starting to partner with the Humane Society,” Moe said. “Lueken’s, as a company, has always loved helping the community. … (Owner) Joe Lueken has been an advocate for this community for years.”

Laurie Swenson
Laurie Swenson is a reporter/copy editor for the Bemidji Pioneer. She has been with the Pioneer since 2004.