A little orange tabby cat named Buck is one of Baltimore’s latest celebrities, and is lending his adorable image to billboards for a brilliant anti animal abuse campaign that stresses love and tenderness, even from the toughest of tough guys. Show Your Soft Side billboards encourage Baltimore’s youth to get the message that cool guys, tough guys, athletes and other men love and respect animals, and only punks in the worst understanding of the word hurt them.
The campaign was created through the Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force. Show Your Soft Side maintains an active Show Your Soft Side Facebook page.
How did Buck end up on a billboard? Here’s his story:
A couple of months ago, one of the staff at 1st Mariner Arena found a 5-6 week old kitten dumped in the parking lot. The kitten was starving and scared, so climbed up into a car when arena staff tried to catch it so it could be taken to safety. The whole place launched into action, and they put the car in neutral and rolled it into the loading dock so they could catch the kitten when he climbed out.
They finally got the kitten and rushed him to BARCS (Baltimore Animal rescue and care Shelter) to be checked out, but couldn’t bear to leave him there to an uncertain fate, so decided to adopt him as the official Arena kitty. Buck, as he was named, is Top Dog and CEO (Cat Exec Officer) of 1st Mariner. The kitty is now living large; he has 174 moms and dads, and they’ve gone head over heels over the little guy. He spends his days in the exec offices and/or box office, and, for a while, went home every night (and weekends) with one of his many moms and dads. One staffer has adopted him now, but he still spends workdays at the arena.
The good people at the arena contacted Show Your Soft Side and offered to donate a second 90′ x 100′ billboard to promote the campaign. Buck is using his local celebrity in service to the campaign, and will soon be looming larger than life on the side of the arena.
General Manager Frank Remesch has been at the forefront with Buck since the day of his rescue. He also turned over the Arena to BARCS during Hurricane Sandy. When the storm came through, arena staff were the only ones in the city to come to BARCS’ aid. BARCS sits on a flood plain and there were serious concerns about how they would fare. Frank opened the Arena and took in all the animals till the danger was over. Arena management and staff are devoted animal lovers who live their principles by helping animals, and working to help make animal abuse, neglect, dumping an issue in their city.
It’s easy to see, looking at Buck’s portrait by Leo Howard Lubow, how the little cat managed to wrap an entire arena staff around his little paw. Hopefully, his billboards will allow him to do the same with the entire city, along with out of towners who see him when they visit the arena.
For more on the Show Your Soft Side campaign at our site, click HERE.
For updates and photos and the campaign, along with pet related issues and fun, visit Show Your Soft Side on Facebook.
(Photography by Leo Howard Lubow)
The campaign’s mission is explained thus:
Show Your Soft Side” is a campaign developed to combat the alarming incidence of animal abuse in Baltimore. Many of the more horrific cases have been perpetrated by teens, thus leading the Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission to look for ways to change the mindset of young people who often view the maiming and torturing of defenseless dogs and cats as a sign of “toughness” or “manhood”. The campaign puts forth a very different message – a message that subtly shows that “being a man” has many facets to it, including a “soft side” when it comes to animals. The goal is to reach kids early because research shows that kids who abuse animals soon graduate to even more violent crimes. Featuring acknowledged hard men of Baltimore with their pets, the campaign’s posters, billboards and print ads make the point that only a punk would hurt a cat or dog.
Thank you to Sandra L. Riesett of Outlaw Advertising and BARCS for the backstory on Buck and his billboard..