Our canine companions have been making our lives better for centuries. Dogs have been trained to do amazing and difficult feats; dragging us out of burning buildings, digging us out of avalanches, caring for our flocks, guarding our treasures, finding missing children and protecting our families. They have unquestioningly endured hardships and willingly faced bodily harm on our behalf. Their heroic actions and unwavering devotion have made them the stuff of legends.
The 1900's brought more dogs into traditional service dog roles and also added new tasks for our benevolent friends. Dogs have followed us into battle since the Roman Empire but 9/11 highlighted service dogs who recovered people trapped and injured and required the largest deployment of dogs in U.S. history. On a different landscape, dogs are trained to perform skills to assist the homeless, jobless, disabled, disparate, isolated and ignored. Because dogs possess a keen sense of our needs and a pure and sincere devotion to help, they became instrumental in innovative and successful therapy programs. They transform lives by opening doors, ringing doorbells, sensing seizures, providing companionship and winning independence for their beloved master. There is no living creature on this earth that has earned our respect and awe more that the dog.
And in the new millennium dogs have company. The practice of using a dog's intelligence and unconditional love to enhance the lives of individuals has expanded to companion animals of every size and shape. Fluffy rabbits with big ears listen when children who are victims of abuse or violence feel safe telling their story to no human. Pot bellied pigs restore the confidence of returning soldiers suffering with post traumatic stress disorder. Cats encourage verbal engagement in speech therapy for autistic children with the best explanation being provided by a young boy; "Cats have autism too so they understand us."
Today, a movement has begun to harness animals' special powers and anything is possible. Our animal companions' willingness and capacity to improve our lives is limited only by our imagination and contingent only on our support.
To create awareness and raise the funds needed for this remarkable journey to continue, the Petco Foundation and Natural Balance are partnering together to bring a "Helping Heroes" campaign to life. Expanding from Service dogs and Military dogs to include new animals and programs will maximize the impact and reach of this ground breaking fundraiser.
Beginning September 28th and continuing though October 20th, customers will be able to donate at the registers of their local Petco store and learn more about "Helping Heroes" in their own communities.
In addition, our wonderful partners at Natural Balance have committed to donate $1 for each 25 lb. bag of Legume and Duck food sold, up to $50,000! Even if you don't usually buy Natural Balance, consider purchasing a bag and donating the bag to the Food Bank bin at the front of your local Petco store. Everyone wins!
With everyone's help we can engage the tremendous power of these sentient creatures and reach people previously denied the opportunity to live life to the fullest.