NOVEMBER 20, 2019 — ST LOUIS, MO – St. Louis Children’s Hospital and PetSmart Charities know pets have the remarkable ability in a hospital environment to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, improve our mood and bring us unconditional love. That’s why, with the help of a $75,000 grant from PetSmart Charities, the St. Louis Children’s Paws for Hope program will continue to provide a healthy diversion from the usual hospital routine for children and their families.
In correlation with the grant announcement, Children’s is also celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Paws for Hope pet therapy program on November 20 with a special event featuring the therapy dogs.
Children’s has 34 active pet therapy dogs who have met with more than 110,000 kids and families over the last 25 years. With this grant, Children’s will expand the program by increasing the number of dogs and volunteers to serve new and expanded areas of the hospital.
“We are thrilled to have the support and to celebrate this wonderful, longstanding program and partnership with PetSmart Charities,” said Malcolm Berry, Chief Development Officer at St. Louis Children's Hospital. “These dogs change the whole feel of the hospital and lift everyone’s spirits while providing therapy people can’t provide. We’re grateful to PetSmart Charities for bringing happiness to Children’s through a very special breed of volunteer!”
Across North America, PetSmart Charities has granted more than $2.3 million to support animal -assisted therapy programs. Funding from PetSmart Charities supports best practices that enhance the human-animal bond. Since 1994 PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare, has donated nearly $400 million to improve access to veterinary care, to help preserve families, to positively impact communities, and to connect people and pets through initiatives like the Paws for Hope program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
“For 25 years, the Paws for Hope program has transformed the way children receive care at St. Louis Children’s Hospital by providing a calming and encouraging outlet for patients,” said Jenny Aho, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities. “We are thrilled to support this work in an expanded effort to share the healing power of pets.”
St. Louis Children’s Hospital
PetSmart Charities, Inc. is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps to find forever homes and families for nearly 600,000 shelter pets each year. PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to nonprofits aligned with its mission. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting nearly $400 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart Inc., PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, a third-party organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, for the past 16 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.org.