$10,000 in Grants Unleashed in First Cycle
Portland, ME (March 2006) - The Planet Dog Foundation (PDF), Planet Dog's non-profit arm, is proud to announce the recipients of their first grant cycle. Chenny Troupe, the National Education for Assistance Dog Service (NEADS), Puppies Behind Bars and Western Montana Search Dogs have each been awarded $2,500 by PDF to support their efforts.
The mission of the Planet Dog Foundation is to promote and celebrate programs in which dogs serve and support their best friends. "We received over 100 proposals from non-profit organizations all over the country that share our mission and are in need of funding help," says Kristen Smith, PDF's Executive Director. "It is clear to us that there is a need for philanthropic outreach in this arena and we are excited to help fill the void," adds Smith.
Launched in 1991, the Chenny Troupe (www.chennytroupe.org) is a Chicago-based network of dedicated volunteers and their certified therapy dogs that offers rehabilitative therapy to people with physical and emotional challenges. Chenny Troupe provides interactive, Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT), a goal-directed intervention in which a trained, certified dog is an integral part of a rehabilitation or treatment process. Their structured visitation schedule includes hospitals, rehabilitation centers for victims of serious trauma and programs for at-risk youth and recovery centers.
"The grant from the Planet Dog Foundation will help enable our volunteers and dogs to restore health and hope to our clients," says Janet Rosen Eaton, the Executive Director of the Chenny Troupe. In addition to the grant, PDF will also donate Planet Dog products for their Heeling Hearts benefit and other fundraising events.
For 30 years the National Education for Assistance Dog Service (NEADS)/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans (www.neads.org) has been helping children and adults who are deaf or physically disabled live more mobile, social and independent lives through partnership with a dog individually trained for their lifestyle and assistive needs. At their Puppy Nursery and Early Learning Center in Central Massachusetts, puppies from age 8-16 weeks live and learn obedience and basic training skills, embark on frequent field trips to enhance socialization skills, and do therapy visits at a wide variety of facilities. Part of the PDF grant will also be used to sponsor a puppy in training. PDF's long-term goal is to create a self-sustaining puppy sponsorship program at Planet Dog funded entirely by employees to sponsor a puppy in training each year.
"The puppies in our Puppy Early Education and Training Program and the children and adults they assist will all benefit from the grant from the Planet Dog Foundation," says Joyce Schmitt, the Director of Resource Development. "And both will enjoy the Planet Dog product donation - leash and collar sets for all graduates (about 50 a year)," adds Schmitt.
Since 1997, Puppies Behind Bars (PBB) (www.puppiesbehindbars.com) has been training prison inmates to raise guide dogs for the blind and explosive detection canines for law enforcement. Because the puppies also need to be socialized to city life and acclimated to urban environments, puppies spend weekends with volunteers in New York City where PBB is based. These volunteers couple city socialization trips with visits to the often forgotten homebound elderly as part of the “Paws and Reflect” Elder Visitation Program which the PDF grant will be used to support.
"As the inmates raise their puppies, they work to benefit the outside community and in addition, towards their own rehabilitation," says Gloria Gilbert Stoga, the President of Puppies Behind Bars. "This grant will help spread the unconditional warmth that the pups bring to their inmate puppy raisers to the homebound elderly," adds Stoga. PDF will also make product donations to PBB.
Western Montana Search Dogs (WMSD) (www.westernmontanasearchdogs.org) is a volunteer, nonprofit organization based in Gallatin County Montana that provides trained search dogs to requesting agencies. Their handler/dog teams are specially trained and certified in avalanche rescue, air-scenting, trailing/tracking, water recovery, article/evidence retrieval and human remains recovery. WMSD works in conjunction with many other special search and rescue resources, including ground and air search teams, divers, and oversnow rescue.
"Because we are a volunteer organization with no paid staff and all our services are free of charge, we rely entirely on the efforts of our handler/dog teams as well as financial support from organizations such as the Planet Dog Foundation," says Bonnie Gafney, a member and one of WMSD's certified teams along with Smokey and Auggie (her canine partners). "The PDF grant will be used to purchase standardized GPS Units for our active handler/dog teams and to purchase bear spray for wilderness protection," adds Gaffney.
Planet Dog is a socially responsible designer, manufacturer and retailer of award-winning products for dogs. A percentage of every Planet Dog purchase goes directly to PDF to support the grantmaking program.
"As a small company doing big things, we are supporting like-minded organizations that will most benefit from our support," says Alex Fisher, Planet Dog's co-founder and Chief Creative Officer. "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.
To learn more about the Planet Dog Foundation, please visit www.planetdogfoundation.org.