A service dog is defined as a type of assistance dog trained to help people with disabilities, such as visual impairment, hearing impairments, mental illnesses like PTSD, seizure disorder, mobility impairments, and health conditions such as diabetes. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.
"To date we've been able to help nearly 200 military heroes by pairing them with a service dog that has been trained for their specific needs."
Helping Heroes grants made to organizations throughout the country to support placement of service and therapy dogs to veterans with physical and emotional disabilities.
The Petco Foundation announced nearly $300,000 in grant funding to provide service and support dogs to our nation's veterans with physical and emotional disabilities.
Through its annual Helping Heroes campaign, the Petco Foundation's investments will support the training and placement of dogs supporting veterans with hearing, vision or physical disabilities, or emotional disabilities - including PTSD.
The first eight organizations to receive these grants are:
"A staggering number of veterans returning from combat suffer from PTSD - the invisible wounds of war," said Shari Duval, president and founder, K9s For Warriors. "To date we've been able to help nearly 200 military heroes by pairing them with a service dog that has been trained for their specific needs. We are so grateful for this funding, which will help our organization continue to empower these veterans to return to civilian life with dignity and independence."
According to the HABRI Foundation, research in animal-assisted therapy shows that pets can play an important role in addressing symptoms of PTSD. In fact, the simple act of bonding with a pet elevates levels of the hormone oxytocin, also known as the "bonding hormone," which is said to lower levels of anxiety and depression, helping to over-come anxiety and decrease heart rate.
"These grants are a continuation of our commitment to support the heroes serving our country. With approximately $1M committed to various programs to aid and honor military working dogs and disabled veterans, we are honored to invest in the future of our veterans returning home in their time of need," said Susanne Kogut, executive director, Petco Foundation. "These dedicated dogs provide very specific services to veterans to give them a new sense of freedom and independence. More importantly, however, we believe it is the love and companionship that these dogs provide that really makes the most difference in their daily lives."
The Petco Foundation will continue to announce Helping Heroes grant recipients through early 2016. Since 2012, the annual campaign has celebrated service and therapy animals nationwide, helping to raise approximately $7M for organizations across the country, made possible through donations from customers in Petco stores and corporate sponsor, Natural Balance.
For more information about the Petco Foundation, visit www.petcofoundation.org
At the Petco Foundation, we believe that every animal deserves to live its best life. Since 1999, we've invested more than $130 million in lifesaving animal welfare work to make that happen. With our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners, we inspire and empower communities to make a difference by investing in adoption and medical care programs, spay/neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. Through our Think Adoption First program, we partner with Petco stores and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions. So far, we've helped more than 4.2 million pets find their new loving families, and we're just getting started. Visit petcofoundation.org to learn more about how you can get involved. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by using the hashtag #PetcoFoundation.
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