Charitable Companies

One Proud Mama


There are times when you are impressed with the adult your child became. Right now I am that proud mama. On Saturday, April 26th at the University Of New Hampshire in Durham, my daughter, Jessica Pollard, along with her friend Amanda Kane, shaved their heads as part of a fundraiser for the St. Baldricks Foundation.


In the 1950s, almost all kids diagnosed with cancer died. Today, thanks to organizations such as St. Baldricks and caring individuals, about 85% of kids with common cancers will live. But there is still need for more research if children with other types of cancer are to survive. It is estimated that one in 300 children will develop cancer.


It was the frat boys of Sigma Phi Epsilon who organized this fundraiser. They raised over $11,000.  Hard to call them boys, when they are truly men, 40 of which are bald as well. I imagine each of these men also has a proud mama. Jessica and Amanda alone raised over $3,200.  The local paper covered the event, and you can read the article online.


The inspiration for Jessica’s head shaving is the incredible Miss Sidney Christensen.  Sidney was born with a rare spinal tumor. One of only 12 ever recorded. She had surgery when she was 9 days old to remove it. It was followed shortly by chemotherapy. Doctors did not think she would ever walk, but the incredible Miss Sidney Christensen now runs and dances. You can read more about Sidney on her St. Baldricks Honorary page.  Sidney is recovering from her last surgery and has been pronounced CANCER FREE.


Of course, the head shaving was recorded.

The "Shaving."


Both Amanda and Jessica donated their hair to Children With Hair Loss. They make and provide wigs at no cost to children with cancer.


My hat is off, although Jessica’s hat may be on at the moment, to all the participants.  You all rock!


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Got Woof!


Woof is the heart and soul of a dog. Woof is compassion. Who’s got woof? Planet Dog’s got woof. In 2006, the Planet Dog Corporation founded the Planet Dog Foundation. I encourage everyone to visit them at Planet Dogs’ core philosophy centers on social responsibility. They want to provide for those organizations that enhance the lives of dogs and their people. The foundation funds programs in which dogs serve and support their best friends. Their motto is “Think Globally, Act Doggedly.”

Storefront Planet Dogs’ home is in Portland, Maine. All the Planet Dog toys are proudly made in the USA. They are available in many sizes. The chew-o-meter rating system makes it easy to choose a toy for aggressive chewers. My golden retriever, Ricky; is an aggressive chewer. As his mom, I appreciate the ease of finding an appropriately sized and rated toy. Toys not properly sized and rated can pose a choking hazard. Planet Dogs’ toys are “Ricky Tested, Pet Safety Moms Approved”.

Orbees_07thm Planet Dog has created an impressive line of toys for dogs of all ages.  The Orbee-Tuff for Puppies has added softness and pliability. An innovative feature of the baby blanket fabric toys is that it takes on the scent of the parents. Planet Dog for Old Souls takes on the needs of the older dog who still wants to play. They have accounted for reduced vision and snout strength, weakened jaw muscles and brittle teeth.

PDFBalls_06 2% of all sales help fund the Planet Dog Foun

dation. The signature fundraising toy is the Glow in the Dark Orbee-Tuff Glow for Good ball. The cost is $9.95 and 100% of the proceeds go directly to the grant program of the foundation. To buy this toy, please visit

Since its beginnings in 2006, the Planet Dog Foundation has totaled more than $400,000 in grants and in kind donations. The grants awarded for 2008 will be $112,000. As Stephanie Volo, Planet Dogs’ Top Dog has said, “Planet Dog, as the leader in the pet industry, has prioritized giving back to the community that sustains us. Through the work of our charitable Foundation, we can support service dog users throughout the country. We also increase awareness and help the industry to learn more about all the amazing skills dogs can share with people in need. It is the Planet Dog Foundation that sets us apart, allowing our customers to help us spread the woof!”  They have several programs in place to fulfill their mission.

 Planet Dog was instrumental in pre-selling the required 2,000 license plates for the Specialty License Plate Initiative to benefit the Animal Welfare Program for Maine. The Animal Welfare Program is a state funded division of the Department of Agriculture. They are responsible for puppy mill seizures and animal neglect and abuse cases.

They are also a proud sponsor of the Humane Society of the United States Shelter Partners Program, which builds awareness about the unacceptable number of animals in shelters due to puppy mills. The program advocates adoption when choosing a pet. Planet Dog provides adoption kits to shelters to promote adoption days. They have provided more than $100,000 worth of toys to shelters.

Officer_Spike_Protecting_A_Great_City The Planet Dog Tribute program allows pet lovers to make a donation in their pet’s memory. The donation goes directly into the grant making program. The tribute to Officer Spikes starts, “Spike lived from February 7, 1994 until January 19, 2008. Spike was a Portland Police Dog from July 1996 until his retirement in 2001.”  To read more about Spike and the other Tribute dogs, visit the Foundations’ website.

Any qualifying non-profit organizations that support people and dogs that support them can apply for a grant through the Planet Dog Foundation. Grant eligibility criteria are available on their website. This is a partial list of the 2008 grantees.

1.   Children’s Hospital Boston Pawprints Dog Visitation Program. They have therapy dog visitations for hospitalized children and their families. Their website is

2.   Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota. The Autism Assist Program trains dogs for children with autism spectrum disorder. Their website is

3.   Working Dogs for Conservation Foundation. Dogs are chosen from shelters. They are specially trained in conservation efforts. Their website is

4.   Gabriel’s Angels. They train therapy dogs for abused, neglected and at risk children. Their website is www.

5.   International Hearing Dogs. They train dogs for the hearing impaired. Their website is

6.   People. Animals. Love. They train therapy dogs to visit care facilities. Their website is

7.   Service Dog Project, Inc. They train large breed dogs to work with people with mobility issues. Their website is

8.   NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans. They train dogs for people who are deaf or physically disabled. Their website is Sheila O’Brien, Executive Director of NEADS said, “The Planet Dog Foundation is an active and enthusiastic supporter of NEADS. We are deeply grateful for their support. They were instrumental in helping NEADS develop a unique harness for our Assistance Dogs. The dog wears the harness as they help with the balance and mobility challenges of our clients. Both our civilian and military clients use this harness. This is just one example of their support of our programs, mission and our clients; who are the beneficiaries of canine assistance.”

Both paws up and a hearty woof woof to Kristen Smith, the Foundations’ Director; and everyone at Planet Dog. I applaud the heart and soul you have given to the Planet Dog Foundation.



The Million Petizen Rally

There are companies within our industry whose goals include helping companion animals in need. This will be the first in a series to recognize those companies with the heart of a dog.

The Million Petizen Rally is looking to raise one million dollars for four charities. This goal is the latest for Thom Somes "The Pet Safety Guy", who has dedicated himself to the care and well being of companion animals everywhere.

This is not a multi-billion dollar corporation, but rather a family run business. Thom, Cindy, son Parker and Rio are the First Family of Petizen. Their journey began in 1994, when a student of Thom's Human First Aid class posed a question. "Hey, this class was great, but what would I do if my pet was in trouble?"Dsc05402

Thus, Pet Tech was born. Pet Tech Pet First Aid, CPR and Care classes and Instructor Trainings have been taught throughout North America to over 15,000 adults, both pet professionals and pet owners. Pet Tech's mission statement is "Helping to improve the quality of pet's lives, one owner at a time." Their training and education has, over the years; helped to save thousands of pet's lives.

In 2001,while reading a Dear Abby letter from a grieving pet owner, who lost her beloved pet due to a preventable accident; Thom was inspired to write "Knowing Your Pet's Health". After receiving a copy of this book, Dear Abby wrote Thom. "I'm sure your booklet will save the lives of companion animals that might not survive. I commend you for providing such a readable and easy to understand guide."

The second edition has formed the base of the Million Petizen Rally. In addition to helping create and maintain a thriving lifestyle through more knowledgeable and capable owners, the First Family of Petizen will donate a portion of the sale of the book to each of four charities. To learn more about this wonderful book, go to

The first charity is Dogs for the Deaf, ,541-826-9200. Through four programs,Hearing Dogs, Miracle Mutts, Harmony's Hounds and Career Change Dogs; they have placed over 3,000 dogs. all dogs are chosen from adoption shelters. They have been helping people and companion animals for over 30 years.

The second charity is Alley Cat Allies, ,240-482-1980. It is THE national non-profit clearinghouse for information on feral and stray cats. For more than 10 years, Alley Cat Allies has been dedicated to advocating non lethal methods to reduce the outdoor cat population.

The third charity is United Animal Nations, , 916-429-2457. Since 1987, they have focused on bringing animals out of crisis and into care through a variety of programs, including emergency animal sheltering and disaster relief services, financial assistance for urgent veterinary care and humane education. Their programs are the Emergency Animal Rescue Service, The Lifeline Grant Program, The Premarin Awareness Campaign and the Humane Education Ambassador Reader.

"As an organization committed to helping animals in crisis, United Animal Nations has promoted Pet Tech as an excellent source of pet first aid and training for years, particularly for our Emergency Animal Rescue Service volunteers," said Nicole Forsyth, president and CEO of UAN. "We commend Pet Tech for its' ongoing commitment to helping people care for the pet's they love, and we are thrilled to be chosen as a beneficiary of the Million Petizen Rally."

I encourage everyone to visit the above charities to learn more about their programs. The fourth charity is to be announced via the Petizen's Choice Award. You can help to choose this charity by visiting for details on how to vote.

With both paws up and a heart woof woof, thank you to Thom, Cindy, Parker and Rio for creating something special that benefits pet owners, companion animals and the charities that look out for them both.