HALT Program to receive $5,000 grant from the PetSmart Gives Back Initiative

By September 30, 2013News

We are so happy to share that HALT has been chosen to receive a donation from the PetSmart Gives Back program! Check out the story below!

KNOXVILLE, TN – Small non-profit programs often find it difficult to compete with larger organizations for grant monies.  But when a program thrives for 25+ years, puts together rescued dogs and at-risk teens, improves the self-esteem of the teens and boasts a 100% adoption rate for the dogs, others begin to notice.  And that’s just what happened!  On Wednesday, September 25, 2013, the PetSmart Gives Back Initiative will present a $5,000 check to the HALT (Humans and Animals Learning Together) Program at the PetSmart Turkey Creek location.

The PetSmart Gives Back Initiative is a new program at PetSmart that provides local District Managers the ability to donate to organizations in their community that enrich the lives of people through pets or organizations that support a diverse and inclusive community.

“H.A.L.T. is a program that made its way into my heart about 8 years ago. I adopted my dog Maggie from the program, and have been volunteering ever since. The teens going through this program have all kinds of stress and sadness in their lives for various reasons. To see firsthand what the unconditional love of a dog can do for these kids is absolutely amazing. Even the toughest and most shut off kids end up with a smile when their 4-legged partner come bounding towards them wagging its tail and licking their face.

In its 26 years, H.A.L.T. has had over 1380 teens go through the program, and we have rescued 348 dogs from shelters and adopted them into their forever homes. This program is dependent on private donations and our dedicated volunteers to make it a success. Receiving this donation from PetSmart Charities community outreach program means the world to us. This enables us to help more teens and rescue more dogs in the future. We are truly grateful, and we thank Trey and Chris for choosing to nominate H.A.L.T. for this generous donation.” – Jeannine Jones, Board President

At the conclusion of classes, the teens are asked to write letters to the dogs’ new adoptive families.  Here’s what one teen had to say:

“Dear adopter of Sadie… I want to thank you for helping save and protect Sadie from harm and danger… she is an amazing dog and just needs a great caretaker… I believe God has chosen Sadie and will put her in a good home with a caring family… I hope she touches your heart as she did mine… please love her as much as I do… I have struggled with depression, insecurity and poor self-esteem. Sadie put a smile on my face, brightened my day and kept my faith in wanting to become a veterinarian…. please love her and treat her well… Thank you for helping me save Sadie’s life.”

The agencies notice a big difference in the teens as well.

“One of the kids has been dealing with grief. It was so powerful for her to realize that she took part in “saving a life” of an animal and that she could really train a dog to make a difference.”

Begun in 1987, the HALT Program rescues five dogs from a local shelter twice yearly and pairs them with at-risk teens from residential centers.  The teens are responsible for teaching basic obedience commands to the dogs over the course of four weeks.  While the dogs are learning basic manners, the teens are learning about patience, teamwork, self-esteem and responsible pet ownership.

About PetSmart

PetSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETM) is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. The company employs approximately 52,000 associates and operates more than 1,301 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, over 196 in-store PetSmart® PetsHotel® dog and cat boarding facilities and is a leading online provider of pet supplies and pet care information (http://www.petsmart.com). PetSmart provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and pet products; and offers dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding, PetSmart Doggie Day Camp SM day care services and pet adoption services. Through its in-store pet adoption partnership with PetSmart Charities®, PetSmart has helped save the lives of more than 5 million pets since 1994. PetSmart Charities, Inc. and PetSmart Charities of Canada, Inc. (“PetSmart Charities”) are independent, nonprofit organizations that save the lives of homeless pets and reduce shelter intake through spay/neuter efforts. In 2012, nearly 450,000 dogs and cats found homes through the organization’s adoption centers in all PetSmart stores and by sponsoring community adoption events. PetSmart Charities is the leader in granting money to help pets in need, with more than $28 million given in 2012 throughout North America.