Market Overview

Children's Health and PetSmart Partner to Fund Canine Therapy Program


PetSmart is teaming up with Children's Health to help fund the health-system's pet therapy program, which will provide thousands of patients with access to canine comfort teams across the entire health system. PetSmart Paws for Hope at Children's Health kicks off today. PetSmart is funding the program with a commitment of $425,000 over five years.

“At PetSmart, we know the power of pets and their ability to help kids heal,” said David Lenhardt, president and chief executive officer of PetSmart. “Partnerships, like this one with Children's Health, make a world of difference to those in the hospital. I look forward to watching this program grow as it continues to positively impact even more lives.”

Support from PetSmart will allow Children's Health to grow its volunteer canine therapy program from only three hours each week to a professionally staffed, full-time program. The funding has already enabled the addition of two new full-time facility dogs, Van and Blair, and the training of 18 new pet therapy volunteers.

“Our pet therapy teams play a very special role here at Children's Health. The impact the volunteers and therapy dogs make when they walk into a patient's room is truly remarkable,” said Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of Children's Medical Center Foundation. “Interacting with a therapy animal bestows positive physical and mental benefits to patients. We are very grateful to PetSmart for its support, and for its recognition of this vital program that comforts so many of our young patients, families, guests and staff."

This is the sixth national partnership of its kind between PetSmart and a hospital pet therapy program; existing programs include Phoenix Children's Hospital, Orlando Health, Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego, SickKids Hospital Toronto and St. Louis Children's Hospital.

In 2012, PetSmart teamed up with Phoenix Children's Hospital to sponsor its first animal-assisted therapy program, PetSmart Paws Can Heal. The initial launch was such a success that PetSmart expanded the program to hospitals throughout the country with the creation of the PetSmart Paws for Hope in 2014. The program creates additional pet therapy teams in hospitals and allows for more daily visits from a therapy animal for each patient. Additionally, the program provides support for the patients and their families. PetSmart plans to expand this program into at least three new hospitals across the country every year, with Hospital Auxilio Mutuo in Puerto Rico and Seattle Children's Hospital kicking off later this year.

About Children's Health System of Texas

Founded in 1913, the not-for-profit Children's Health is the seventh-largest pediatric health care provider in the country, receiving more than 760,000 patient visits annually at its two full-service campuses in Dallas and Plano, multiple specialty centers and 18 primary care locations. Children's was the state's first pediatric hospital to achieve Level 1 Trauma status and is the primary pediatric facility affiliated with UT Southwestern Medical Center. Children's Research Institute at UT Southwestern is a joint venture that builds upon the comprehensive clinical expertise of Children's Medical Center and the internationally recognized scientific excellence of UT Southwestern; its mission is to perform transformative biomedical research to better understand the biological basis of disease. For more than 100 years, Children's has been committed to making life better for children. To learn more, please visit

About PetSmart

PetSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETM) 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 54,000 associates, operate approximately 1,387 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and approximately 201 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 CampSM day care services and pet adoption services in-store. Through and, we offer 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.

Children's Health
Heidi Harris Cannella, 214-456-8330 or 817-235-6964
Erin Gray, 623-516-3908

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