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ARF's Pets and Vets program receives $25,000 grant from Purina

Contra Costa Times - 12/12/2018

Dec. 12--The Pets and Vets program at Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek has been awarded a $25,000 grant from Purina, which it will use to support military veterans and shelter-to-service animals.

Pets and Vets, which was featured in a five-part series in the East Bay Times and Mercury News, connects veterans with post traumatic stress disorder with rescue dogs. The veterans train the dogs as their own service animals.

The grant from Purina is part of the company's fourth annual #DogThanking campaign, which encourages pet owners to share over social media why they are thankful for their pets.

For every post made in November that used that hashtag and tagged @Purina, Purina donated one dollar to ARF. The number of posts fell slightly short of 25,000, but Purina donated the remaining amount to hit the donation goal of $25,000.

"The #DogThanking campaign was an engaging way for pet lovers to thank the pets that make our lives so special while making a difference in the lives of many veterans and shelter dogs," said La Russa, co-founder of Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation and major league Baseball Hall of Fame manager. "We are grateful to Purina for selecting us as their partner to raise awareness and funds for this unique program. This donation helps us rescue more dogs and serve more veterans living with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and other challenges -- truly saving lives at both ends of the leash."

Purina also recognized La Russa and ARF for helping pets across the country find their forever homes, presenting him with its "Better with Pets" award during the National Dog Show Presented by Purina Gala on Nov. 16 in Philadelphia.

The award was established four years ago to acknowledge people and organizations who have made a difference in strengthening the bond between pets and people. La Russa and ARF received this honor specifically for the ongoing support for shelter pets and helping them find homes in the service of veterans -- all at no cost to the veteran.

"At Purina, we are thrilled that pet lovers across the country teamed up with us through #DogThanking to support the great work that ARF does to help improve the lives for pets and our nation's veterans," said Daniel Henke-Cilenti, director of marketing for the Purina brand. "We are passionate about partnering with people like Tony and ARF because of the shared commitment to do more of the things that matter for pets and the people who love them."

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As a long-standing ARF partner, Purina -- through its Dog Chow brand -- also conducted a campaign in 2018 to benefit the ARF Pets and Vets program. The Purina Dog Chow Service Dog Salute paid tribute to the armed forces and the loyal dogs that serve them through a four-month-long campaign that highlighted their stories.

For more information about ARF and the Pets and Vets program, visit www.arflife.org.

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(c)2018 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

Visit the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) at www.eastbaytimes.com

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