Blue BuffaloPetSmart Charities and PetSmart teamed 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 served the United States and may now be in need of the support that a skilled service dog can provide.

Through a fundraising program established at all 1,388 PetSmart stores across the US, PetSmart shoppers can donate to this cause Memorial Day (May 29, 2017) through Independence Day (July 4, 2017) at the checkout registers with a goal to raise US$1 million for Service Dogs for Heroes. PetSmart shoppers who are interested in participating may choose their donation amount at the check-out register. 

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

“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, in a press release.

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 effect 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 in a press release. “Right now there aren’t enough service dogs available for all the veterans in need so this is truly a noble effort.”

PetSmart Charities other activities

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 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.