New Partnership Between PetSmart and Canine Companions for Independence Helps Wounded Warriors
by PetSmart
11:20 AM, Friday, January 31
A new partnership will help place trained assistance dogs with America’s wounded warriors. PetSmart for Patriots is a joint endeavor between PetSmart and Canine Companions for Independence to provide assistance dogs to military veterans with disabilities. Since 1992, Canine Companions has placed 102 dogs with military veterans, with the number of dogs placed tripling since 2008. Many of the dogs have been placed with men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and returned with spinal cord injuries, limb amputations and deafness.

The program will officially launch at the Canine Companions graduation ceremony on Friday, February 14 in Oceanside, CA. The ceremony will include an official kick off of the program by Bruce Thorn, a combat veteran and Senior Vice President for Store Operations and Services for PetSmart, as well as Calvin Smith, a Marine veteran who graduated from Canine Companions’ program in 2009. Calvin, who was wounded during his second tour of duty in Iraq, will attend with his assistance dog Chesney, a black Labrador with the ability to respond to approximately 40 commands. In addition to the official program launch, 10 persons with a variety of disabilities including a Navy veteran, are expected to receive their new assistance dogs at the ceremony. The ceremony caps off an intense, two week, residential training program for the new human-canine teams.

WHAT:                 Launch of PetSmart for Patriots program at Canine Companions for Independence assistance dog graduation ceremony

WHO:                   Corey Hudson, CEO, Canine Companions for Independence

Barbara Barrow, Southwest Region Executive Director, Canine Companions for Independence

Col. Chris Conlin (USMC Ret.), Southwest Region Board President, Canine Companions for Independence

Bruce Thorn, combat veteran and Senior Vice President of Store Operations and Services for PetSmart

Calvin Smith, combat veteran and program graduate, and his service dog Chesney

WHEN:                 Friday, February 14, 2014 at NOON Pacific time

WHERE:               QLN Conference Center, Exhibit Hall, 1938 Avenida del Oro, Oceanside, CA  92056

Space is limited. Please RSVP to Christina Saull at (202) 518-6480 or Christina.Saull@widmeyer.com.

About PetSmart: PetSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETM) is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. The company employs approximately 52,000 associates and operates more than 1,278 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, over 196 in-store PetSmart® PetsHotel® dog and cat boarding facilities and is a leading online provider of pet supplies and pet care information (http://www.petsmart.com). PetSmart provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and pet products; and offers dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding, PetSmart Doggie Day CampSM day care services and pet adoption services. Through its in-store pet adoption partnership with PetSmart Charities®, PetSmart has helped save the lives of more than 5 million pets since 1994. PetSmart Charities, Inc. and PetSmart Charities of Canada, Inc. (“PetSmart Charities”) are independent, nonprofit organizations that save the lives of homeless pets and reduce shelter intake through spay/neuter efforts. In 2012, nearly 450,000 dogs and cats found homes through the organization's adoption centers in all PetSmart stores and by sponsoring community adoption events. PetSmart Charities is the leader in granting money to help pets in need, with more than $28 million given in 2012 throughout North America.

About Canine Companions for Independence: Canine Companions for Independence provides highly-trained assistance dogs to children and adults with disabilities. Established in 1975, Canine Companions has five regional training centers across the country. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. For more information, visit www.cci.org or call 1-800-572-BARK.
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