Donation Will Fund Hospital Program for Next Five Years, Ensuring Crucial Dog Therapy Access for Patients and Families
CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago is teaming up with PetSmart® to ensure the continuation of the hospital's canine therapy program that provides patients with access to canine comfort teams during their hospital stay. PetSmart has committed more than a quarter of a million dollars over five years through its PetSmart Paws for Hope program in support of Lurie Children's, which provides canine therapy to 1,000 patients and their families each year.
"At PetSmart, we know the healing power of pets, and we have seen firsthand the positive impact they have on people, especially kids," said Michael Massey, president and chief executive officer for PetSmart. "Canine therapy offers a healthy diversion from the usual hospital routine and an opportunity for pet social interaction, which we know are important components of the healing process. We're proud to partner with Lurie Children's on this life-changing program."
Support from PetSmart will allow Lurie Children's to continue its canine therapy program for the next five years. Through bedside interactions and visits around the hospital, the program now reaches more than 1,000 patients, siblings and parents at Lurie Children's each year.
"We are so grateful for this new collaboration with PetSmart," said Francia Harrington, president and chief development officer of Lurie Children's Foundation. "More patients and families will experience the joy that comes from a special dog and handler team visit - a comforting distraction during a hospital stay. Known to brighten every hospital room they walk into, our therapy dogs deliver immense emotional and physical benefits to our children."
This is the ninth PetSmart Paws for Hope partnership of its kind where PetSmart provides funding support to hospital pet therapy programs. Existing partnerships are in place at Phoenix Children's Hospital; Orlando Health; Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego; SickKids Hospital Toronto; St. Louis Children's Hospital; Children's Health Dallas; Hospital Español Auxilio Mutuo in Puerto Rico; and Seattle Children's Hospital.
In 2012, PetSmart teamed up with Phoenix Children's Hospital to sponsor its first animal-assisted therapy program. This initial effort was such a success that PetSmart expanded the program to hospitals throughout North America with the 2014 launch of its formalized give-back program, PetSmart Paws for Hope. The program creates or funds existing pet therapy teams in hospitals, allowing for more daily visits by therapy animal teams for patients and their families.
About Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago is a state-of-the-art hospital located in downtown Chicago on the campus of its academic partner, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The hospital is ranked as one of the nation's top children's hospitals in U.S. News & World Report. The hospital relies on philanthropic support to care for more than 174,000 children each year. Learn more at luriechildrens.org.
PetSmart, Inc. is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. At PetSmart, we believe pets make us better people. That's why we create more moments for people to be inspired by pets. This mission impacts everything we do for our customers, the way we support our associates, and how we give back to our communities. We employ approximately 53,000 associates, operate approximately 1,404 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and approximately 202 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 day care services and pet adoption services in-store. Our portfolio of digital resources for pet parents - including PetSmart.com, Pet360.com and petMD.com - offers the most comprehensive online pet supplies and pet care information in the U.S. Through our in-store pet adoption partnership with independent nonprofit organizations, PetSmart Charities™ and PetSmart Charities™ of Canada, PetSmart helps to save the lives of more than 400,000 homeless pets each year. In addition, PetSmart supports organizations that make communities a better place to call home through our philanthropy program, PetSmart Gives Back™. By giving back to the communities where we live and work, PetSmart not only celebrates the power of pets to enrich people's lives-we live it.
Lurie Children's Hospital
Katie Fanella, 312-227-7285
Erin Gray, 623-516-3908