It's adorable, and it's finding pets forever homes.

By Jennifer Aldrich
March 13, 2020

Everyone has different opinions when it comes to pizza. I'm just a plain cheese girl (extra, if possible), and I always need to pair it with an ice-cold Diet Coke. But there's a new combination coming from a pizzeria in Amherst, New York that everyone can agree on: A pie and an opportunity to adopt an animal in need.

The plan started when Kimberly LaRussa, the event coordinator at Niagara SPCA, saw an article about a pizza shop putting flyers for lost dogs on their boxes. "I said, 'Oh, that's really cool.' I thought it would be really neat to put adoptable dogs on pizza boxes to find them homes," LaRussa explains. The first person LaRussa thought to contact about the idea was Mary Alloy, owner of the Just Wing & Pizza Co. franchise in Amherst. 

A flyer attached to a box of pizza from Just Pizza & Wings Co. It features Solstice, a dog at Niagara SPCA.
| Credit: Courtesy of Kimberly LaRussa

Alloy, who's owned the business for 12 and a half years, helps out with many organizations in her community, including the Niagara SPCA. "I've always told [LaRussa], if there's anything you need, just call me," Alloy says. "She texted me and said, 'What would you think about putting adoptable dogs on your pizza boxes?' and I said, 'Sure.'"

Customers began receiving the new and improved containers on Friday, February 28. The women say the promotion has been beneficial to both the restaurant and the animal shelter. "Our business has gone up about 20%," Alloy says. "People are loving it."

Mary Alloy shows off Cinnamon, a dog available for adoption through Niagara SPCA.
| Credit: Courtesy of Kimberly LaRussa

LaRussa notes that more than 10 animals have been adopted since the start of the project. A week ago, they also started including cats on the flyers. "It's been really great to see," LaRussa says. "When I go on our website, and it's time to print more flyers, I don't have as many animals that need to be adopted. Just yesterday, I dropped off flyers for a cat and a dog, and they've already been adopted." The boxes have brought so much awareness, that LaRussa says other pizzerias in the area have contacted her and want to get involved as well. The Little Bakery, a local bakeshop, began including flyers of adoptable animals with their loaves of bread.

As far as a timeline for how long Alloy's pizzeria will use the flyers, well, there isn't one. "We're just going to do it forever," she says. "We never expected this. "It was just, 'Oh, we'll make the copies and put them on boxes.' We never expected it to be like this. There are other places that are following our lead now. It's just great."


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