St. Louis Children’s Hospital is teaming up with PetSmart to help fund the hospital’s pet therapy program that will provide thousands of patients with access to canine comfort teams.  PetSmart is funding the program at a commitment of $250,000 over five years.

“At PetSmart, we know the power of pets and their ability to help patients heal,” said David Lenhardt, president and chief executive officer of PetSmart. “Partnerships, like this one with St. Louis Children’s Hospital, make a world of difference to the sick children. I look forward to seeing them expand their pet therapy teams to positively impact even more young lives.”

Support from PetSmart will allow St. Louis Children’s Hospital to grow their Therapy of Unique Canine Helpers (TOUCH) Dog Program to double the number of dogs participating and hire a part-time coordinator to oversee the program.  

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“We are grateful for the incredible generosity from PetSmart, which enables us to significantly enhance our TOUCH Dog Program,” said Joan Magruder, St. Louis Children’s Hospital president. “This partnership is a great example of what happens when members of the community band together to make a difference in the lives of sick children.”

This is the fifth national partnership of its kind between PetSmart and a hospital pet therapy program; existing programs include Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Orlando Health, Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and SickKids Hospital Toronto.

If you are interested in having your dog become a therapy dog and volunteering at places like St. Louis Children's Hospital, please contact Support Dogs, Inc. at 314.997.2325 or visit www.supportdogs.org for more information.