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Catch a “Leading Star” This Holiday Season

December 6, 2010

Pet Supplies “Plus” and Leader Dogs for the Blind Team Up to Help the Blind and Visually Impaired

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – This holiday season, customers can catch a “Leading Star” when they visit their local Pet Supplies “Plus” store – the nation’s third largest pet retail chain has teamed up with Leader Dogs for the Blind in developing the Leading Star program, a company-wide promotion that provides customers with the opportunity to help puppies become certified Leader Dogs for the Blind Service Dogs, which give blind and visually impaired individuals the ability to lead independent lives.

The Leading Star program makes it easy for Pet Supplies “Plus” customers to help a puppy become a certified Leader Dog.  Beginning Monday, November 29, 2010 through December 31, 2010, participating stores will accept donations from customers through Leading Star Puppy Pledge Cards, which will be available at all checkouts (for a list of participating Pet Supplies “Plus” stores, please visit http://petsuppliesplus.com/news_events.htm).  All funds raised will go to the Puppy Raising Program, which consists of volunteers who teach the puppies what they need to know to become a successful Leader Dog.  Completed Puppy Pledge Cards will become part of the store’s holiday display.

Participating Pet Supplies “Plus” stores will host some very special guests on December 11, 2010, from 11 AM to 1 PM, when customers can meet a Leader Dog Puppy in Training and his or her Puppy Raiser.  Customers are encouraged to visit with the puppy and the Puppy Raiser, who will be available to answer customer’s questions about what it is like to raise and train a puppy to become a Leader Dog.  For stores without a Puppy Raiser nearby, a member of the Lions Club will be on hand to answer customers’ questions about Leader Dogs for the Blind.

“Leader Dogs for the Blind is proud to have a longstanding partnership with Pet Supplies Plus and we are incredibly grateful for their support,” said Gregory Grabowski, President & CEO, Leader Dogs for the Blind. “We are excited that Pet Supplies Plus customers will have the chance to learn more about our incredible dogs and how they help people who are blind to achieve greater independence. This is a great chance to celebrate the special bond that guide dogs share with their partners and for dog lovers to make a gift to Leader Dogs for the Blind as they shop for their own four-legged heroes.”

“Our Corporate and participating franchise locations are extremely pleased to be able to offer our customers a simple way to support the efforts of the Leader Dog for the Blind Foundation, through the Puppy Pledge Card Program,” said Marie Skladd, Event Marketing Director for Pet Supplies “Plus”.  “’Plus’ customers can play with the puppies!!!”

Leader Dogs for the Blind was founded by three Detroit area Lions Club members in 1939.  Since then, the organization has provided guide dogs to people who are blind and visually impaired, giving them the opportunity to enhance their mobility, independence and improve their quality of life.  Leader Dogs is also the only facility in the Western Hemisphere that teaches deaf-blind students to work with a guide dog.  Volunteers and Puppy Raisers house, socialize and train the puppies until they are 20 months old, when they are eligible to become certified as a Leader Dogs for the Blind service dog.  Each year, 270 students come to the Rochester Hills, Michigan facility for a 26-day residential training program that pairs each of them with a newly certified Leader Dog.  The dogs become the students’ lifelong companions, opening the door to independence, safety and self-worth.  Because of generous donations, and programs like Leading Star, guide dog services are provided free of charge for those who need them.

Founded as a single pet store in Redford, Michigan, in June 1988, Pet Supplies “Plus” is the third largest retail chain the pet industry with 240 stores in 21 states.  For more information, call 248-374-1900, extension 106, or visit www.petsuppliesplus.com.


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