Christmas came a few weeks early for Guide Dogs of Texas (GDTX), when the nonprofit received a $195,000 grant from the Petco Foundation. Funds will benefit the organization’s programs that support clients who rely on a service dog to provide them with freedom, mobility and independence. The grant is a result of fundraising efforts sponsored by Petco and Natural Balance Pet Foods during National Guide Dog Awareness Month in September.
“Guide Dogs of Texas is honored to receive a portion of proceeds of the National Guide Dog Month awareness campaign hosted by two great companies – Petco and Natural Balance Pet Foods,” said Larry Tuttle, GDTX president and CEO. “Petco’s corporate presence in the San Antonio community makes this gift even more meaningful. We are privileged to share in the success of National Guide Dog Month fundraising and to be able to use this donation to increase mobility for Texans who are visually impaired.”
During National Guide Dog Month in September, pet owners were encouraged to visit their local Petco store and make a donation at the register or to purchase specially marked bags of Natural Balance Pet Foods at Petco or at participating independent pet stores across the country. Customers could also make donations online at Petco.com. The month-long fundraiser supports several guide dog schools throughout the country, including GDTX.
“Guide dogs are provided for free to enhance the lives of visually impaired people, but each dog takes up to two years to train and costs more than $40,000,” said Charlie Piscitello, senior vice president of human resources for Petco and president of the Petco Foundation. “Both Petco and the Petco Foundation are proud to present this important grant and to support the incredible work done by Guide Dogs of Texas, and many other similar organizations, in order to provide these life-changing animals to people who need them.”
Ron Montgomery, Natural Balance senior account supervisor, said Natural Balance was happy to support GDTX. “Every seven minutes someone in America becomes blind or visually impaired. Natural Balance is committed to the cause of guide dog programs that empower the visually impaired with the gift of a guide dog,” Montgomery said. “We are dedicated at both the national and local levels to raise money and awareness in support of the transformational power of guide dogs.”
Funding from the Petco Foundation will allow GDTX to continue its work with clients who, after being paired with a guide dog, come to the San Antonio-based center for an intensive, three-week, one-one-one training period with a guide dog mobility instructor before returning home with their service dog. GDTX currently serves 28 clients. Another 14 visually-impaired Texans are on a waiting list.
Guide Dogs of Texas is the only guide dog school in the state and is one of 11 accredited schools in the nation. It provides guide dogs to visually impaired Texans to enhance their freedom, mobility and independence. For more information, visit www.guidedogsoftexas.org.
About Petco and the Petco Foundation
Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that provides the products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,100 stores nationwide, including more than 30 Unleashed by Petco locations, a smaller format neighborhood shop, and www.petco.com. The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has raised more than $80 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support approximately 7,000 local animal welfare groups across the country to help find homes for more than 250,000 animals through in-store adoption events every year.
About Natural Balance
Since 1989, Dick Van Patten and his partner Joey Herrick have been supplying the public with premium quality dog and cat foods. Today Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc has grown into an international company providing pet foods throughout the United States, Canada, The Pacific Rim and Europe. The Natural Balance ultra premium line of pet foods for dog and cats, includes: Ultra Premium Dry and Canned Dog and Cat food, Dog Food Rolls in 3 varieties: Lamb, Beef and Turkey, Treats for Dogs, Organic Dog Food, Allergy Formulas, Eatables for dogs, gourmet canned dog foods made in a USDA approved plant that makes food for people, and Zoological Formulas made for lions, tigers, cheetahs, polar bears, snakes and carnivorous birds. Natural Balance is headquartered in Pacoima, CA and is available at Petco and local independent pet stores. For more information on Natural Balance please visit www.naturalbalanceinc.com.