John Elway’s Crown Toyota, Tustin Toyota

by Kaitlin Pennell
Sept/Oct 2016
John Elway’s Crown Toyota, Tustin Toyota
Community Effort
The John Elway’s Crown Your Pet Event had tents sprawled out across the front of the dealership’s show room. Community members, customers and volunteers alike came together in support of animal rescue and adoption.
Approximately 7.6 million domesticated animals are entered into the estimated 13,600 animal shelters nationwide for a variety of reasons, according to the ASPCA. But no matter how they ended up at the shelters, they are all united under one wish: to find a forever home.

Thanks to Tustin Toyota and John Elway’s Crown Toyota, more shelter and rescue animals are finding homes through their annual adoption events. The two Southern California dealerships hosted events that promote shelter animal awareness and help animals get adopted into loving families. This year will mark John Elway’s Crown Toyota’s 5th annual Crown Your Pet event, and Tustin Toyota’s second Pet Rescue event.

Fun For All
The Tustin Toyota event had face painting for children, as well as a live deejay for attendees. Pictured on the sign is the hashtag #TustinToyotaTails so visitors could share pictures taken at the event on their social media accounts.
John Elway’s Crown Toyota
The Ontario, Calif., dealership partnered with Rancho Cucamonga Animal Care & Adoption Center to host the Crown Your Pet adoption event in October.

To help find more animals homes, the dealership sponsored the first 20 dogs, cats or rabbits adopted. In addition, the store added spay and neuter pop-up clinics onsite.

Shelley Gagnet, community relations director at the dealership, says her goal each year is to get at least 20 animals adopted to families and to educate the community on the importance of adopting.

“I’ll be really excited when we hit that 20 mark, but the shelter always tells me that it wouldn’t matter if we only had three cats or dogs adopted because that’s three fewer cats or dogs in the shelter,” Gagnet says. “I think it is important to bring awareness to people that if there’s an option to adopt, it’s certainly a great option.”

Tustin Toyota
Last year’s inaugural Pet Rescue Month at Tustin Toyota was held during the last three Sundays in September. Volunteers and various local rescue groups—such as Barks of Love, MeoowsResQ, Lovebugs Rescue and the German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County—flocked to the dealership to support the event. This year, the dealership hosted one consolidated event in October.

The Pet Rescue events came about when technicians at the dealership rescued a kitten who got stuck in the dashboard of a Prius. Tustin Toyota’s director of marketing and organizer for the event, Jillian Romero Chaves, says from this rescue, the dealership wanted to continue helping animals.

Custom Crown
A visitor of the Crown Your Pet Event at John Elway’s Crown Toyota showed support by dressing his pooch in a customized leather jacket. The Ontario, Calif., dealership partnered with a local adoption center to help find homes for animals.


"We thought, 'We rescued one animal, so let’s rescue some more,’” Romero Chaves says. “Pet Rescue Month was a great feel-good event. A lot of animals got adopted, and a lot of positive awareness was raised.”

The events at both dealerships not only helped animals find homes, but also helped employees connect with the community. At Tustin Toyota, for example, the hashtag #TustinToyotaTails was used on Instagram so employees could promote the event, and also so that visitors of Pet Rescue Month could share their experiences with their followers.

“You’re branding yourself differently than what people think of when they think about car dealerships and salespeople,” Romero Chaves says. “Last year we had more than 300 people come by over the course of the month and about 40 volunteers a day, several of whom drive Toyotas, most of which were purchased here. This showed us that we really struck a chord through this event that resonated with our customer base.”  


Celebrity Pup
The adorable Instagram-famous Jiff the Pomeranian made a guest appearance at Tustin Toyota. Jiff has a whopping 2.5 million followers on Instagram, so having him present at the event was great publicity, says Jillian Romero Chaves, marketing director at Tustin Toyota.
Radio Support
Los Angeles-based 102.7 KIIS FM’s Freddy Rivera holds a puppy up for adoption at the Tustin Toyota Pet Rescue event. The dealership partnered with the radio station to host the events.
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