WILTON, Conn. & PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Blue Buffalo, PetSmart Charities and PetSmart are teaming up to support and raise awareness for Service Dogs for Heroes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to training and placing service dogs with veterans who have bravely served America and may now be in need of the support a skilled service dog can provide. Through a new fundraising program established at all 1,388 PetSmart stores across the U.S., PetSmart shoppers can easily donate to this important cause Memorial Day (May 29) through Independence Day (July 4) at the checkout registers with a goal to raise $1 million for Service Dogs for Heroes.
Having served in the United States Marine Corp., BJ Ganem, program director and founder of Service Dogs for Heroes, has seen and experienced first-hand the impact that service dogs can have on veterans’ lives. While on patrol in Iraq in 2004, the vehicle BJ was driving was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) causing the loss of his lower left leg.
“I can’t thank Blue Buffalo and PetSmart Charities enough for how they have embraced and supported Service Dogs for Heroes to help us make a truly meaningful and positive impact on the lives and health of these men and women who have bravely served our country,” said Ganem. “Right now there aren’t enough service dogs available for all the veterans in need so this is truly a noble effort.”
A service dog is a type of assistance dog specifically trained to help people who have disabilities such as visual impairment, hearing impairment, mobility impairments and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Donations from this collaborative effort will support Service Dogs for Heroes. Service dogs help veterans in the following key areas:
- Recognizing emotional cues and triggers
- Providing mobility and stability support
- Providing support with vision
- Providing support with hearing
“Pets have an uncanny ability to enhance the human spirit through unconditional love. With the necessary training, service dogs can help veterans restore their physical independence following traumatic injuries,” said David Haworth, DVM, Ph.D., president of PetSmart Charities. “By working with Blue Buffalo and Service Dogs for Heroes to leverage the healing power of pets, we hope to help improve the quality of life and well-being of veterans.”
PetSmart Charities recently expanded its mission to include finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. This new mission includes a year-round grant category specifically for enhancing the quality of life through pets. Grants from this category are designed to fund programs that train pets to become service animals for people when they need them the most.
“We are thrilled to team up with PetSmart Charities and PetSmart stores to increase awareness about service dogs for veterans and help raise funds for the necessary training. The program will run a little more than five weeks at PetSmart stores, and we look forward to meeting our goal of $1 million,” said David Petrie, Vice President Blue Buffalo Foundation.
PetSmart shoppers who are interested in participating may choose their donation amount at the check-out register.
For more information on these efforts, please visit bluebuffalo.com/servicedogs.
About Blue Buffalo Company
Blue Buffalo, based in Wilton, CT, is the nation's leading natural pet food company, providing natural foods and treats for dogs and cats under its BLUE Life Protection Formula, BLUE Wilderness, BLUE Basics, BLUE Freedom and BLUE Natural Veterinary Diet lines. Paying tribute to its founding mission, the Company, through the Blue Buffalo Foundation, is a leading sponsor of pet cancer awareness and of critical research studies of pet cancer, including causes, treatments and the role of nutrition, at leading veterinary medical schools and clinics across the United States. For more information about Blue Buffalo, visit the Company’s website at www.BlueBuffalo.com.
About PetSmart Charities®
PetSmart Charities, Inc. is a nonprofit animal welfare organization with a mission to find lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. In addition to finding homes for almost 500,000 shelter pets each year through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities provides funding to non-profits aligned with its mission through four key areas of grant support: Preventing Pet Homelessness; Helping Shelter Pets Thrive; Supporting the Bond Between People and Pets; and Emergency Relief and Disaster Support. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the pin pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses 90 cents of every dollar donated and has become the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, donating about $300 million to date. PetSmart Charities, a 501(c)(3) organization, has received the Four Star Rating from Charity Navigator, an independent organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, for the past 14 years in a row -- placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.org.
PetSmart, Inc. is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. At PetSmart, we love pets, and we believe pets make us better people. Every day with every connection, PetSmart’s passionate associates help bring pet parents closer to their pets so they, together, can live more fulfilled lives. This vision impacts everything we do for our customers, the way we support our associates and how we give back to our communities. We employ approximately 55,000 associates, operate more than 1,500 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as more than 200 in-store PetSmart® PetsHotel® dog and cat boarding facilities. PetSmart provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and products, as well as pet-focused services such as dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding, PetSmart® Doggie Day Camp® and pet adoption. PetSmart, together with non-profits PetSmart Charities® and PetSmart Charities™ of Canada, invite more than 3,000 animal welfare organizations to bring adoptable pets into stores so they have the best chance possible of finding a forever home. Through this in-store adoption program and other signature events, PetSmart has facilitated more than 7.4 million adoptions – more than any other brick-and-mortar organization. The company’s portfolio of digital resources for pet parents includes PetSmart.com, PetFoodDirect.com, OnlyNaturalPet.com, Pet360.com, petMD.com, Pawculture.com, AllPaws, an online pet adoption platform that helps potential pet parents find the perfect pet to adopt based on their home, family and lifestyle, as well as BlogPaws, the world’s first pet blogger and influencer network. Through these digital platforms, PetSmart offers the most comprehensive online pet supplies and pet care information in the U.S. In celebration of its 30th anniversary, PetSmart launched its Buy a Bag, Give a Meal™ program in March 2017. For every bag of cat or dog food purchased March 1 – Dec. 31, 2017, PetSmart will donate a meal to pets in need and expects to donate more than 60 million meals in 2017*.
*Ends 12/31/17. 5 oz. dog food, 1.5 oz. cat food donated to PetSmart Charities to feed dogs and cats in need. See details at petsmart.com/giveameal. The actual number of meals donated is based on dog and cat food bags sold. The meal donation estimate is based on historic sales for similar time periods. No guaranteed amount. Rescue Bank and Feeding America will help distribute a large portion of the pet food donation in the U.S.
About Service Dogs for Heroes
Service Dogs for Heroes is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) working to be a national leader for education, advocacy, promotion and funding necessary to connect high-quality service dogs to deserving veterans via a network of partner providers creating an effective and efficient resource that places emphasis on the physical and emotional wellness of our nation’s veterans. For more information please visit servicedogsforheroes.org.