Planet Dog Foundation Awards Grants to Seven Canine Service Organizations
Portland, ME, June 2009 — The Planet Dog Foundation (PDF), Planet Dog's non-profit arm, is proud to announce the recipients of their latest grants. Grants ranging from $3,000- $7,000 have been awarded to Assistance Dogs of the West; Gabriel's Angels; Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota; NEADS; Susquehanna Service Dogs; Teacher's Pet and Working Dogs for Conservation.
The mission of the Planet Dog Foundation is to promote and celebrate programs in which dogs serve and support their best friends. "In order to assist with the financial security of our current partners, we chose organizations we have supported in the past for this grant cycle," says Kristen Smith, PDF's Executive Director. "Of the thirteen grantees that applied, we are proud to be re-funding seven," adds Smith.
· Assistance Dogs of the West: This Santa Fe, NM organization trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities. The program PDF is funding recruits at-risk teens in danger of failing or dropping out of school, or who have had trouble with the law. These teens are taught dog training skills, and then engage in comprehensive training for the assistance dogs. Teens are provided with invaluable lessons in empathy, trust and responsibility, and given the reward of unconditional love, a marketable job skill, and an alternative to the risky behaviors they were involved in before. This is the second PDF grant to ADW. www.assistancedog.org
· Gabriel’s Angels: Based in Mesa, AZ, Gabriel’s Angels provides therapeutic visits to abused, neglected and at-risk children in crisis centers, homeless and battered women’s shelters, treatment centers, and residential facilities for orphans and abandoned children. These children get the benefit of playing and petting dogs with a calm, loving temperament, and often open up about the trauma and abuse they have experienced with a dog in the room. PDF will also provide collars and leashes for all participant dogs, and items for the children. This is the third PDF grant to Gabriel's Angels. www.petshelpingkids.com
· Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota: HSDM, in Minneapolis, MN, provides hearing and service dogs throughout the Midwest. PDF is funding their Autism Assist program, placing specially trained dogs with children with autism. These dogs help keep children from “bolting”, open up communication skills for often very withdrawn children, foster social interaction and provide comfort and relief to the child’s family. PDF has been funding this program since its inception. www.hsdm.org
· NEADS: The PDF grant will continue to support Massachusetts-based NEADS for the 4th year in a row. The grant will fund their Canines for Combat Veterans program, which provides assistance dogs to wounded veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. These dogs provide mobility assistance, but their calming and consistent presence also helps alleviate the symptoms of PTSD from which most veterans suffer. www.neads.org
· Susquehanna Service Dogs: Based in Harrisburg, PA, SSD trains and places service, balance, hearing, psychiatric and autism dogs for children and adults. They are an industry leader and offer one of the few programs that places assistance dogs with children younger than 16. This is the third PDF grant to SSD. www.keystonehumanservices.org
· Teacher’s Pet: Based in Rochester Hills, MI, this program uses at-risk youth in danger of failing or dropping out of school to help train shelter dogs to be more adoptable. They take dogs out of shelters, and the kids engage in a 12-week curriculum providing the dogs with basic commands, house manners, and socialization with other dogs. Many of the lessons parallel the kids’ lives, and a marked improvement in school performance and behavior is seen in every participant. The dogs have a 100% adoption rate, and hundreds of teens have improved school attendance and performance. This is the second PDF grant to Teacher's Pet. www.teacherspetmichigan.org
· Working Dogs for Conservation: This program based in Three Forks, MT uses highly motivated dogs, adopted from animal shelters, to locate the scat of a variety of species throughout the Western Mountains which helps identify habitats for animals often on the move to escape predators and environmental hazards. They also find rare plants. The PDF grant supports veterinary care, basic needs and “off-duty” activities. In honor of PDF, they have named a rescued dog Orbee after Planet Dog's award-winning toy, and have trained him as a successful tracker. This is the second PDF grant to Working Dogs for Conservation. www.workingdogsforconservation.org
Since January, 2006, the Planet Dog Foundation has donated more than a half a million dollars in cash grants and product donations to non- profit organizations across the country. In addition to awarding grants, the Planet Dog Foundation also extends its support to non-profit organizations nationwide through product donations. "Planet Dog has been sending product donations to about 25 non-profit organizations each month," says Smith. "Unfortunately, we cannot meet the financial needs of every grant applicant so we are thankful to be able to support them in other ways," adds Smith. To learn more, visit www.planetdogfoundation.org.
Planet Dog, PDF's corporate partner, is a socially responsible, globally recognized designer and developer of innovative, high quality, award-winning dog products. "As a small company doing big things, we are proud to support like-minded organizations that will most benefit from our support," says Alex Fisher, Planet Dog's Founder. "From the beginning, we knew we wanted to build a socially responsible company that not only enhanced the lives of dogs and their people, but one that also improved the world around us by giving back," adds Fisher.
“We’re doing what no other pet product company is doing," says Catherine Frost, Planet Dog's Brand and Product Champion. “We offer innovative, top-quality products that dogs love, all while supporting service dog programs, encouraging pet adoption and protecting Planet Earth. Our goal is for our actions to speak louder than woofs,” adds Frost. To learn more about the Planet Dog, visit www.planetdog.com.