ST. LOUIS, Sept. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of National Service Dog Awareness Month, Purina Dog Chow is launching its third annual "Service Dog Salute" campaign. A service dog can be life-changing in helping veterans with PTSD and other post-combat challenges. Unfortunately, due to the cost and time it takes to train a service dog, less than 1% of veterans in need can obtain one. Dog Chow is on a mission to help change that. The Service Dog Salute campaign supports the care and training of more service dogs for America's military veterans — so that every hero in need can find a canine hero of their own.
Psychiatric service dogs are not the same as emotional support, therapy or companion dogs. Like service dogs for the blind, deaf and physically disabled, psychiatric service dogs for veterans must be specifically trained to help their handler perform tasks they cannot otherwise perform on their own. The training process can take from one to two-and-a-half years to learn to perform tasks such as:
Over the next year, Dog Chow will follow the journey of several service dogs in training that are currently preparing to serve a veteran in need.
To help spread the word about the benefits of service dogs and how dog owners can help, radio and TV personality and avid military advocate Bobby Bones is joining forces with Dog Chow's Service Dog Salute campaign for a second year.
"Service dogs provide so many benefits for military veterans, but it can cost over $20,000 on average to train one service dog – and less than 1 percent of veterans who need one can get one," said Bobby Bones. "When our veterans come home from service, they may not be equipped to live their life without these dogs. I'm honored to be a part of a program that is helping more veterans get the service dogs they need."
Dog Chow continues to help fund organizations that train service dogs for veterans with PTSD. From September 1, 2020, through Thanksgiving (November 26, 2020), for every purchase of a specially marked bag, Dog Chow will make a donation to its two partnering veteran service dog organizations, up to a total of $100,000. The donations will be split equally between the Pets & Vets program at Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) and Got Your Six Support Dogs. Over the last three years, Dog Chow has donated over $700,000 to support the training of more service dogs for military veterans.
"As a veteran, I am sensitive to the many issues fellow veterans face as they transition after their service; those who faced combat often have the greatest challenges" said Steve Degnan, Chief Human Resources Officer for Nestlé Purina North America. "It's a privilege to be able to help my fellow service members, and I am proud that Dog Chow supports our nation's military veterans in such an important and needed way."
Purina and Dog Chow are also working with members of Congress in support of federal legislation to provide training and service dogs for veterans. The PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act (HR4305) will create a pilot program in the VA to give veterans access to treatment derived from working with service dogs. The bill has been approved by the House, but still awaits passage in the Senate. To support this legislation, Dog Chow is asking supporters to visit DogChow.com/service to send an email to their state senators urging them to pass the bill.
If you or a veteran you know could benefit from a service dog, or to learn more about Dog Chow's efforts, visit DogChow.com/service.
About Nestlé Purina PetCare
Nestlé Purina PetCare creates richer lives for pets and the people who love them. Founded in 1894, Purina has helped dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by offering scientifically based nutritional innovations. Purina manufactures some of the world's most trusted and popular pet care products, including Purina ONE, Pro Plan, Fancy Feast and Tidy Cats. Our more than 8,000 U.S. associates take pride in our trusted pet food, treat and litter brands that feed 49 million dogs and 66 million cats every year. More than 500 Purina scientists, veterinarians, and pet care experts ensure our commitment to unsurpassed quality and nutrition.
Purina promotes responsible pet care through our scientific research, our products and our support for pet-related organizations. Over the past five years, Purina has contributed more than $150 million towards organizations that bring, and keep, people and pets together, as well as those that help our communities and environment thrive.
Purina is part of Nestlé, a global leader in Nutrition, Health and Wellness. For more information, visit purina.com or subscribe here to get the latest Purina news.
About Dog Chow
Purina Dog Chow is always crafted in the USA and has provided healthy and great-tasting dog foods since 1926, when Purina's founder, William Danforth, returned from volunteering in WW1 and created the brand's first dog food, named Dog Chow, as a nod to the "chow lines" that sustained service members during the war. Over the years, Dog Chow has continued to provide financial and in-kind support to help where needed, and its commitment to honor the men and women who serve in our armed forces continues today.
About Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation
Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) is an award-winning, nationally recognized leader for its unique mission of "People Rescuing Animals…Animals Rescuing People®." Founded in 1991, ARF has rescued more than 43,000 cats and dogs, and couples this focus with innovative programs strengthening the human-animal bond. ARF's Pets and Vets program matches veterans in need with specially selected rescue dogs and takes them together through psychiatric service dog training, truly Saving Both Ends of the Leash®.
About Got Your Six Support Dogs
Got Your Six Support Dogs is committed to providing specialized service dogs to veterans and first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and/or sexual trauma. Their mission is to help these men and women regain their lives through the healing power of dogs. For more information about Got Your Six Support Dogs or to donate, please visit http://gotyoursixsupportdogs.org/.
About Bobby Bones
Bobby Bones, VP, Creative Director of iHeartCountry, is host of the nationally syndicated radio show, The Bobby Bones Show, which is the #1 Country morning show. The show recently garnered its second Country Music Association Award for National Broadcast Personality of the Year and fourth ACM Award for National On-Air Personality of the Year and earned Bones the title of youngest ever inductee into the prestigious National Radio Hall of Fame. The "media multitasker" also launched his own podcast, BobbyCast, which features candid long-form interviews with top artists and industry figures. Bones is set to star in a new travel TV show titled Breaking Bobby Bones, coming soon to National Geographic. Additionally, Bones won Season 27 of ABC's Dancing with the Stars and is the official in-house mentor on ABC's American Idol. He also serves as Host & Executive Producer of Opry, a weekly TV program airing highlights from the Grand Ole Opry stage on Circle Network. An avid philanthropist, Bobby Bones and The Bobby Bones Show is known for using its massive platform to not only spread joy, but raise millions of dollars each year for various causes including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, veteran initiatives, and much more. Visit https://bobbybones.iheart.com for more information.
SOURCE Purina Dog Chow