PetSmart® Supports NBC’s TODAY’s “Puppy with a Purpose”


New Black Lab Puppy Named Charlie through National Online Voting Introduced this Week on the Show, Trained for Next 16 Months by America’s VetDogs to Serve a Military Veteran; PetSmart Supports with $25,000 Donation, Outfits Puppy’s In-Studio Home

PHOENIX and NEW YORK CITY – Aug. 23, 2016
– North America’s leading pet specialty retailer, PetSmart, and America’s beloved national morning show, NBC’s TODAY, has announced their collaboration on “Puppy with a Purpose,” TODAY’s 16-month series where a puppy is raised and trained to serve those in need and its progress is featured as part of the daily show. 

The pet-centric content series on TODAY was launched last year with “Wrangler,” who went on to be a guide dog. This year, the “Puppy with a Purpose” is a two-month-old male black lab who will be trained by America’s VetDogs to serve as a service animal for a disabled military veteran. Yesterday, the puppy’s name was chosen through national online voting and revealed this morning. Charlie is the winner! 

As part of the collaboration, PetSmart has donated $25,000 to America’s VetDogs, TODAY’s partner that provides custom-trained service dogs to veterans and first responders with disabilities.   PetSmart has also outfitted the puppy’s in-studio home on TODAY and delivered all the puppy essentials Olivia Poff, the dog’s raiser, will need for the puppy’s first life stage.  PetSmart will continue to provide pet supplies as Charlie matures, and will also support the “Puppy with a Purpose” series with expert resources including tips on puppy care, safety, grooming and ways to include pets in celebrations. 

“Last year, we watched Wrangler every step of the way as he flourished into an amazing guide dog and we just knew we wanted to join in and support this important work on TODAY,” said Eran Cohen, chief customer experience officer, PetSmart. “We love pets and we know they make us better people, and the value of a service dog to a person in need is even more crucial to that person’s quality of life.  We are proud to support this program and look forward to watching Charlie develop into a loyal and caring companion to a chosen military veteran in about 16 months.”

Aligned with the American theme for a dog serving a military vet, PetSmart chose several puppy essentials for Charlie and his trainer, Poff, including a comfy cuddler bed, sized perfectly for the new puppy stage; a monogrammed cozy fleece blanket; feeding bowls; red and blue collars, comfort harnesses and leashes; crate set-up including mattress insert; a range of puppy toys across the chew, active, cuddle and puzzle categories; at-home grooming supplies from iconic human brands, Burt’s Bees and CHI, which is exclusively available at PetSmart; and puppy solutions like flea & tick treatments and multi-vitamins.  

Tune in to TODAY’s “Puppy with a Purpose” every weekday and watch as PetSmart continues to support Charlie.  Check out our puppy product collection at www.petsmart.com/todaypuppy.

About PetSmart
PetSmart, Inc. is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. At PetSmart, we love pets, and we believe pets make us better people. Every day with every connection, PetSmart’s passionate associates help bring pet parents closer to their pets so they can live more fulfilled lives. This vision 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 1,466 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and 203 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, PetFoodDirect.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 500,000 homeless pets each year. 
Follow PetSmart on Twitter: @PetSmart 
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See PetSmart on YouTube: www.YouTube.com/PetSmart

ABOUT America’s VetDogs
Since 2003, America’s VetDogs (VetDogs.org) has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to veterans with disabilities from all eras. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders, including fire, police, and emergency medical personnel.  America's VetDogs is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded by the Guide Dog Foundation. VetDogs relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to help those who have served our country live with dignity and independence. It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but America’s VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.