As we gear up to fully reopen our Pet Adoption Center to the public on Saturday, September 17th, all of us at North Country Animal League (NCAL) are also excited to unveil our new logo, branding and website. This rebrand aligns with the evolution of NCAL’s identity in recent years as we embrace the changing needs of the community and increase opportunities for both adults and children to learn about and engage with animals. The new branding will be rolled out in upcoming months with the aim to better represent our programs and services, and provide an enhanced experience for our community.  

The timing of NCAL’s rebrand launch aligns with our much anticipated grand reopening since the pandemic. When the first wave of the pandemic hit in March 2020, NCAL’s Pet Adoption Center remained operating as an essential business to serve local animals in crisis. During this time, NCAL facilitated curbside adoptions and animal intakes. In July 2020, the Pet Adoption Center partially reopened under a limited access phase where potential adopters visited by appointment only. We have maintained this limited access phase as we navigated our way through the pandemic and a canine distemper outbreak that closed our canine kennels for nearly six months. 

 “It has been a difficult time for animal welfare organizations worldwide,” says Tracy Goldfine, NCAL’s Executive Director. “NCAL has faced our own set of challenges – a higher need for medical care and behavioral support for incoming animals, a lower demand for adoptions, staffing shortages, and an increased need for community-based services. Right when our Pet Adoption Center was preparing to fully reopen this summer after two years of operating with restrictions and limited public access to our shelter, there was a distemper virus outbreak in our canine population. While this further delayed our reopening, euthanizing any of the affected dogs was not an option as our priority is always to remain committed to the well-being of the animals in our care and those in our community. NCAL has responded and adapted to these unprecedented challenges thanks to our dedicated staff members and support from our community. Now that we are fully staffed and our canine kennels are cleared of distemper, we are thrilled to be in a position to fully reopen our doors to the public in September!” 

During our extended limited access phase, we spent time looking to NCAL’s future – taking a fresh and forward approach in our management and volunteer structures, embracing changes and revisiting animal care best practices, and expanding programs and services to meet increased needs in our community as a result of the pandemic. In addition, we considered how our brand presented NCAL to the public and how a rebrand could help better communicate our work. NCAL’s current logo has been in use since 1995, a year after we were founded during when NCAL operated solely as an animal shelter. Though our primary focus remains as an animal shelter, in recent years NCAL has expanded to become a campus for animal welfare and humane education. NCAL’s mission of promoting compassionate and responsible relationships between humans and animals now extends to an array of programs that nurture learning and connection with animals. Since 2018, our humane education programs have engaged hundreds of local youth, teaching them to be responsible caretakers of animals, fostering their sense of compassion and respect for all living beings, and giving them the tools to become empowered advocates and changemakers. Also among NCAL’s new programs are horsemanship and riding programs offered to the community through the North Country Equine Center. Formerly the Stowe Equestrian Center, the North Country Equine Center was acquired by NCAL in November 2019. Since reopening under NCAL in 2020, the center has welcomed hundreds of youth and adults to connect with horses. 

A rebrand would need to represent the various ways the organization has grown. We sought the expertise of Burlington-based company, Methodikal, who guided us through a collaborative creative process to identify NCAL’s goals and brand identity. What emerged was the need to have a primary NCAL logo and two sub logos, one for our Pet Adoption Center and one for our Equine Center. The new logos follow a similar color palette to the previous logo and embrace the shorthand name, NCAL (pronounced “en-cal”), that North Country Animal League has come to be known as locally over the past twenty-seven years. NCAL has also worked with Deep Dish Creative to refresh our website and highlight the Pet Adoption Center and Equine Center as two entities under a larger umbrella of North Country Animal League. This new website will be launched on Monday, August 29th. The next stage of the rebrand project will involve updating signage on NCAL’s campus, as well as selling new branded merchandise in the retail store within the Pet Adoption Center. 

“The rebrand process gave us the opportunity to take an in-depth look at who we are and better represent that to the community. We are excited to share our new branding and website, which we feel better represents present-day and future NCAL,” says Goldfine. “We hope to see many new and familiar faces at our grand reopening on Saturday, September 17th from 1:00-5:00pm! Come enjoy cider and donuts as you meet our cats, dogs and horses, take a tour of our Pet Adoption and Equine Centers, and learn about the different ways you can get involved!”