Pets and Vets Program Benefits from Purina Contribution


The Animal Rescue Foundation Pets and Vets Program is quite incredible really. Taking homeless dogs and training them appropriately – with additional training from a veteran in need of a service dog for PTSD. That dog is paired with the veteran, which not only finds that pup an important home but also makes more space available in the shelter. I am honored to have been a very small part of this, only in that I promoted in my platforms, and spoke with LaRussa in a Facebook live. #savingdogssavingpeople

This is the Facebook live I conducted with LaRussa (and Purina Pro Plan amazing dog trainer  Lourdes Edlin) 

Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) announced today it will build on the support of U.S. military veterans and shelter-to-service animals through its Pets and Vets program thanks to a $25,000 donation from Purina and the actions of thousands of pet owners across the nation.

ARF co-founder Tony La Russa (left), stands with veteran and Pets and Vets program graduate David Fuller, and his service dog Katie (right), in the main ring at the National Dog Show Presented by Purina.

The contribution was made as a result of Purina’s fourth-annual #DogThanking campaign, an initiative that encourages pet owners to share over social media why they are thankful for their pets in celebration of Thanksgiving and the National Dog Show Presented by Purina. This past November, when pet owners posted using the hashtag #DogThanking and tagged @Purina, Purina donated one dollar to ARF for every original post submitted. While the number of posts fell slightly short of 25,000, Purina donated the remaining amount to hit the donation goal of $25,000. All funds donated benefit ARF’s Pets and Vets program that matches veterans with rescue dogs and oversees the training and transition into psychiatric service dogs.

“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.”

To recognize the work of La Russa and ARF helping pets across the country find their forever homes, Purina presented 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 forever 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.”

As a long-standing partner of ARF’s, 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 our armed forces and the loyal dogs that serve them through a four-month-long campaign that highlighted their stories and concluded with a donation of $500,000.