Portland, ME (July 2006) - Planet Dog is proud to announce that the Planet Dog Foundation (PDF), its non-profit arm, has been awarded the 2006 Cleo Award from My Wonderful Dog (MWD). The annual award honors outstanding dedication and service to My Wonderful Dog, a non-profit service dog training organization also based in Portland. Planet Dog is a socially responsible designer and retailer of award-winning products for dogs.
My Wonderful Dog provides highly trained assistance dogs to individuals with disabilities living in Maine. Over the years, it has evolved into a program that reaches out to many different communities: the dog lover, at risk youth, the disabled and even the women inmates at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham. My Wonderful Dog is devoted to educating the community about the role that these amazing animals can play in making lives more fulfilling and whole.
The Cleo Award was created in honor of Cleo, My Wonderful Dog Founder Elsa Larsen's first dog companion, who passed away in October 2002. Cleo was the catalyst for Larsen's involvement in training dogs to provide independence for those with disabilities. After years of alcohol abuse, Larsen gave up alcohol, joined A.A. and brought Cleo into her life.
"The relationship that Cleo and I developed over time taught me to appreciate the tremendous bond that is created with our animal companions," says Larsen. "They touch and heal us in a way that is so powerful," adds Larsen.
The Planet Dog Foundation also appreciates and admires the contribution these devoted animals make to our society through their selfless acts. Its mission is to promote and celebrate programs in which dogs serve and support their best friends. This unique grant-giving, non-profit organization celebrates all "working" dogs that enhance and save human lives: service dogs, therapy dogs, bomb sniffing dogs, police dogs, etc.
The primary objective of the Planet Dog Foundation is to act in support of canine-service programs. Whether it is providing financial resources, helping to raise awareness about programs, volunteering time or building long-term relationships with like-minded organizations, the Planet Dog Foundation wants to be a part of it.
In 2000, Planet Dog and My Wonderful Dog formed a partnership which included a $5,000 grant from Planet Dog's non-profit to help launch the service dog training organization. Since then, the Planet Dog Foundation has continued its ongoing support through cash and product donations, sponsorships of events like the Dog Fest Film Festival and outreach at the Planet Dog Company Store in Portland. This November, the Planet Dog Foundation will hold a Silent Auction and donate all proceeds to My Wonderful Dog.
"It is an honor to be recognized by one of our grantees, for our support over the past five years," says Smith. "We are proud of the partnerships we are building with local and national organizations to work together in support of canine service programs," adds Smith.
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.