When COVID-19 struck, couple Steve and Lisa Glassey’s businesses were heavily impacted.
Rather than waiting for things to get better, they embarked on developing PetSave - an online social enterprise that puts 100 per cent of profit in animal welfare.
As the former CEO for Wellington SPCA, Steve believes the animal welfare system in New Zealand has worsened and wanted to do something tangible to help improve the status quo.
Lisa too has also worked for the SPCA in fundraising along with other charities such as Ronald McDonald House.
Now in its third month of operation, sales are going well with the trend for pet owners to shop online for pet food and supplies. Customers accumulate PetSave points with every purchase which they can redeem on discounts or use to help allocate the company’s annual profits to one of its’ select charity partners.
As part of a world first, PetSave ships the majority of their products in re-usable cardboard pet carriers and although this cuts into the social enterprises profit margin, it’s about "paws before profit".
While at the SPCA, Steve led the SPCA’s response to rescue more than 1000 animals left behind following the Edgecumbe floods.
Nearly half of affected households had insufficient numbers of pet carriers during evacuation according to Steve’s research.
After leaving the SPCA, he co-founded Animal Evac New Zealand with their work covered on TV during the Australian Bushfires in New South Wales where his team carried out dozens of rescues, but also distributed over 150 pet carriers in the township of Bundanoon as the bushfire forced evacuations.
"The lack of pet carriers is a causal factor in evacuation failure during disasters, so saturating the community with as many pet carriers as possible is likely to not only save animals, but people too as they often return in harm’s way to rescue animals left behind."
As part of supporting local, the cardboard pet carriers are made in New Zealand, and have lots of printed information on emergency preparedness to encourage pet owners to be prepared.