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Invisible dogs raise awareness

By Jared Page | Posted - Oct. 30, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Costumed canines were everywhere and nowhere Sunday afternoon at The Gateway.

A few dozen volunteers with Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of Utah walked around the downtown shopping center holding wire leashes attached to costumes and collars.

For one afternoon, at least, the 1970s-era "invisible dogs" were back in style.

By the numbers
In the United States:

  • 78.2 million dogs are pets
    39 percent of households own at least one dog
  • The proportion of male to female dogs is even
  • 21 percent of pet dogs were adopted from an animal shelter
  • 78 percent of pet dogs are spayed or neutered

The "dog" walkers' goal was to call attention to the hundreds of thousands of real but unseen dogs waiting to be adopted in animal shelters across the nation.

"There are so many wonderful, adorable dogs up for adoption at shelters and in rescue groups," said Temma Martin of Best Friends Animal Society. "We feel that

At its heart, the Best Friends' Invisible Dogs campaign was an adoption program, Martin said. The spectacle of a group of invisible dogs out for a Sunday stroll was created to encourage shoppers to ask questions.

"When they ask, 'What are you doing?' We're going to ask them to start seeing invisible dogs and to check their local shelters for a pet to adopt," Martin said.

Prospective pet owners often don't realize the extent of options available — including pure-bred dogs — at animal shelters, she said.

Martin encourages those looking to add a furry family member to visit Petfinder, an online searchable database of animals that need homes.

For more information about Best Friends Animal Society's Invisible Dogs campaign, visit



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Jared Page


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