May 29, 2017, WILTON, Conn. and PHOENIX, Ariz. – 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 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.