Press Release


Kristen Smith (207)761.1515 ext. 101

Portland, ME (June 25, 2012) - The Planet Dog Foundation (PDF), Planet Dog's non-profit grant making organization, is proud to announce the recipients of $25,000 in new grants it has awarded to eight canine service organizations. The PDF grants will help fund assistance dog, therapy dog and canine search and rescue programs across the country and support a wide variety of non-profit programs that are helping children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities; injured service members; natural disaster survivors and many more people in need.

The grant recipients are: Austin Dog Alliance, of Austin, TX; Central Lakes Search and Rescue, of Garfield, MN; Champlain Valley Search and Rescue K-9 Unit, of Keeseville, NY; Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, of Norfolk, VA; Freedom Service Dogs of Englewood, Colorado; New Jersey Search and Rescue, of Mahwah, NJ; Service Dogs of Virginia, of Charlottesville, VA; and Susquehanna Service Dogs, of Harrisburg, PA.

The Planet Dog Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Planet Dog, the globally recognized designer and developer of innovative, high-quality and award-winning dog products that enhance the lifestyle people share with their canine companions. Planet Dog is proud to donate 2% of all purchases of Planet Dog products to PDF.

PDF provides cash grants to programs throughout the country that train, place and support dogs helping people in need. Since 2006, PDF has contributed over $875,000 dollars in cash and in-kind product donations to exemplary canine service programs.

"There is a great need for funding to support service dogs and the amazing ways they are helping children and adults across the country," says Kristen Smith, the Executive Director of the Planet Dog Foundation. "We received high caliber proposals from over 100 organizations and although we cannot fund all of them, we are proud to be able to donate $25,000 in support of eight exceptional programs," adds Smith.

In addition to awarding grants, PDF also extends its support to non-profit organizations nationwide through product donations. "Unfortunately, we cannot meet the financial needs of every grant applicant so we are thankful to be able to support them in other ways," says Smith.

Below is more information about the latest PDF grantees. To learn more about PDF and other programs the non-profit supports, visit

The mission of the Austin Dog Alliance is to improve the health and well being of individuals and families through programs incorporating the powerful connection between dogs and humans. The $3,500 PDF grant will help them to implement animal assisted programs in nursing homes, hospitals and rehabilitation centers; provide Bow Wow Reading Dog pet therapy teams at schools and libraries; provide programs for children and their families who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder and other special learning needs; and provide professional and positive dog training classes and education programs. They have 75 active teams and all of the dogs in their program are rescued from kill shelters, placed in foster homes and adopted out. They select dogs for adoption that show an affinity for therapy dog work and train and certify adopter teams to do pet therapy through their program.

Central Lakes Search and Rescue will use the $1,000 PDF grant to help fund the provision of low-cost training and certification for volunteer civilian handlers and Law Enforcement K-9 teams. They are holding a workshop in September featuring 3 Master trainers who will train and test for Tracking, Area Search and Cadaver disciplines. This training will have 20 handler participants, and those most in need will receive a subsidy with the help of funding from PDF.

The $800 PDF grant to the Champlain Valley Search and Rescue K-9 Unit will help fund training with the National Association of Search and Rescue SARTECH to obtain certificates in Trailing, Area Search and Human Remains on land and water. The teams are made up of all volunteers so the PDF grant will help cover expenses to keep their SAR teams as highly educated as possible.

The $500 PDF grant to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters will support their popular trading card program and offer other support for the program’s volunteers. Their Buddy Brigade, a volunteer program with 60 active certified pet therapy teams, visits 5,200 hospitalized and some outpatient children each year.

Freedom Service Dogs rescues their dogs from shelters and trains them to assist people with disabilities. All dogs are provided free of charge to their partners and dogs that cannot be placed as service dogs are utilized as therapy dogs and are made much for adoptable through the training process. The $7,500 PDF grant will help them rescue over 150 dogs within the next year and place more than 30 with partners. This is the fourth grant they have received from PDF for a total donation to date of $30,000.

New Jersey Search and Rescue is based in New Jersey, but works across the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania area. The $2,700 PDF grant will be used to help fund a Human Remains Detection (HRD) Seminar that will be open to tri-state K9 teams. The seminar will provide specialty training and every participant will be certified in HRD, allowing them to assist in more searches in their home groups. Certifications from the training will last 3 years.

Service Dogs of Virginia raises, trains and places dogs to assist people with disabilities, including assistance dogs, autism dogs and diabetic alert dogs. The $5,000 PDF grant will help fund their dogs in various stages of training for diabetic alert. Their Executive Director sits on an international panel as a leading expert on training diabetic alert dogs. Opus, one of their diabetic alert dogs, earned Honorable Mention for the 2011 AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence.

Susquehanna Service Dogs raises, trains and places service dogs with children and adults to help them lead more independent lives. Their dogs are trained for mobility, hearing, autism or psychiatric disabilities. They have successfully placed over 200 dogs in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. The $4,000 PDF grant will support a new litter of puppies. They have a 50% success rate for their litters going on to become service dogs and the others are placed as therapy dogs. The funding will cover stud fees, vet bills, puppy formulas and medicines, vaccinations, socialization and foster family support. This is the third PDF grant for a total donation to date of $12,000.

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