New Partnership Between PetSmart and Canine Companions for Independence Helps Wounded Military Veterans

  New Partnership Between PetSmart and Canine Companions for Independence
  Helps Wounded Military Veterans

                  PetSmart for Patriots officially kicks off

Business Wire

PHOENIX -- February 14, 2014

A new partnership will help more wounded veterans get access to and
information about a potentially life changing assistance dog. PetSmart for
Patriots is a joint endeavor between PetSmart and Canine Companions for
Independence, in support of Canine Companions’ Wounded Veterans Initiative to
help partner assistance dogs with the military veterans who need them. Since
1992, Canine Companions has placed 102 assistance dogs with military veterans,
with the number of dogs placed tripling since 2008. Many of those dogs have
been placed with men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and returned
with spinal cord injuries, limb amputations and deafness.

"This program is very personal to me--as a combat veteran, I know how hard it
is to come back and transition to civilian life. It is that much harder to
transition when you've been injured," said Bruce Thorn, PetSmart Senior Vice
President of Store Operations and Services. "To be able to have a service dog
who loves you unconditionally and is able to help you live a better life, is
priceless."

PetSmart is teaming up with Canine Companions not only financially, but also
to raise awareness of assistance dogs among veterans. In the next 6-12 months,
veterans with disabilities will be able to visit any PetSmart store and learn
about Canine Companions and what they need to do to get their own assistance
dog. In addition, a number of patriotic themed services in PetSmart stores
will roll out in the summer of 2014 to honor the nation’s brave men and women
in uniform. A portion of proceeds from special Grooming packages, PetsHotel®
services and Training activities will benefit Canine Companions.

Through Canine Companions, veterans with a wide array of physical
disabilities, including non-visible injuries, may qualify to receive highly
trained assistance dogs completely free of charge. Thanks to PetSmart’s
efforts, more veterans will learn about this life-changing program and may
ultimately benefit from it. Many veterans who are not in a wheelchair or are
not amputees think that they don’t qualify for an assistance dog. There are
veterans who have been through a traumatic brain injury and/or have a
non-visible injury (like a back injury) who can still greatly benefit from an
assistance dog.

“Canine Companions is pleased to team up with PetSmart to help expand the
reach of our Wounded Veterans Initiative and ensure that all dog lovers –
whether they’re veterans or not – are aware of the important work that
assistance dogs can provide,” said Corey Hudson, CEO, Canine Companions for
Independence and a Navy veteran. “Over 50,000 servicemen and women in the U.S.
military have been wounded since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Hearing
loss is the most prevalent service-related disability for military veterans
and an assistance dog can significantly improve these veterans’ lives.”

The program officially launched at a Canine Companions graduation ceremony
today in Oceanside, Calif. The ceremony included an official kick off of the
program by Thorn, as well as an inspiring speech by Calvin Smith, a Marine
veteran who graduated from Canine Companions’ program in 2009. Smith, who was
wounded during his second tour of duty in Iraq, attended with Canine
Companions Service Dog Chesney, a black Labrador with the ability to respond
to over 40 commands. The ceremony capped off with 10 persons with a variety of
disabilities, including a Navy veteran, receiving their new assistance dogs.

PetSmart for Patriots is one of several national programs PetSmart runs under
its community relations program, PetSmart Gives Back. PetSmart supports
organizations that make communities a better place to call home and enrich
people’s lives through the power of pets. Its other programs include:

  *PetSmart Promise – which supports homeless families in keeping their pets
  *PetSmart Paws for Hope – which promotes healing through therapy dogs at
    hospitals
  *P.U.P. (Pop Up Park) – which is a portable community dog park

About PetSmart

PetSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETM) is the largest specialty pet retailer of
services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets and is a leading online
provider of pet supplies and pet care information (http://www.petsmart.com).
The company employs approximately 54,000 associates and operates more than
1,314 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and over 196
in-store PetSmart^® PetsHotel^® dog and cat boarding facilities. PetSmart
provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and pet products; and
offers dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding, PetSmart Doggie Day Camp^SM
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 PetSmart Charities’ 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 http://www.cci.org or call 1-800-572-BARK.

Contact:

Widmeyer for PetSmart
Christina Saull, 614-323-0306
Christina.Saull@widmeyer.com
or
Canine Companions for Independence
Katie Malatino, 760-901-4307
kmalatino@cci.org
 
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