A national program that helps temporarily homeless families keep all members of their family together – including their four-legged family members – celebrated its grand opening in Akron today. PetSmart Promise, a collaboration between PetSmart and Family Promise, has provided a new dog and cat kennel facility at the Family Promise of Summit County day center for temporarily homeless families. These on-site kennels will provide pets in transition a safe, comforting place to call home while their families get back on the road to independent housing.

“PetSmart is pleased to be able to work together with Family Promise of Summit County to bring this unique program to Akron,” said Jim Morris, regional vice president for PetSmart. “At PetSmart, we know the impact pets have on our lives, and being able to help a homeless family keep their pet during a time of transition is priceless for us. We look forward to continuing to roll out this program across the United States.”

Morris was joined by Jeff Wilhite, the executive director of Family Promise of Summit County, and other VIPs, including Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and Summit County Executive, Russell Pry, at a ribbon cutting ceremony today. Family Promise’s facility is equipped with commercial grade kennels, which can house up to four dogs, and cat condos, which can house up to four cats at one time. A local PetSmart store provides the dogs with food and all the necessary accessories, while the families staying at the day center care for their pets on a daily basis. The day center, which recently opened in a new location, is also working with a nearby nonprofit that assists homeless military veterans to house their pets as well.

“Our new facility means that families who are facing homelessness don’t have to make the heartbreaking decision to stay in a shelter and give up their beloved pet or live on the street to keep the family together,” said Wilhite. “By working together with PetSmart, we’re able to give these families hope in their time of transition. It’s a great example of members of the community working together to find a solution to a problem many may not even know exists.”

Akron is one of five PetSmart Promise on-site kennel facilities opening this year. Others are planned for Cincinnati, Ohio; Montgomery, Alabama; Mat-Su, Alaska; and Morristown, New Jersey. PetSmart first established a pilot program with Family Promise of Greater Phoenix in 2012 and will continue to expand for years to come until all 182 Family Promise day centers around the nation are able to participate.

In addition to the on-site facilities, PetSmart Promise will offer a menu of options for Family Promise facilities, based on individual needs and limitations. These options include:
  • PetSmart PetsHotels®: complimentary use of boarding space in existing PetSmart stores, for families utilizing nearby Family Promise centers. Six PetSmart PetsHotels are currently being tested as part of the PetSmart Promise program: Houston, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Boston, Mass.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Colorado Springs, Colo.;
  • Installation of fish tanks in Family Promise centers across the nation, teaching children and families utilizing the center about the care and responsibility required when owning a pet. 80 aquariums have been installed as part of the program over the past year; and
  • Creation of a foster network of Family Promise employees and volunteers to house pets when a Family Promise pet housing facility or PetSmart PetsHotel is not available

To learn more about the PetSmart Promise options for Family Promise facilities, please visit: http://www.petsmartgivesback.com.

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 53,000 associates and operates more than 1,340 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, 200 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® and PetSmart Charities® of Canada, PetSmart has helped save the lives of more than 5.7 million pets since 1994. PetSmart Charities, Inc. and PetSmart Charities of Canada (collectively “PetSmart Charities”) are independent, nonprofit organizations that save the lives of homeless pets and reduce shelter intake through spay and neuter efforts. In 2013, nearly 440,000 dogs and cats found homes through PetSmart Charities’ 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 $34 million given in 2013 throughout North America.

About Family Promise

Family Promise is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence. The organization is based in Summit, New Jersey, where they were founded in 1988 on the belief that Americans are compassionate people who want to make a difference. Today Family Promise comprises 182 Affiliates in 41 states, with more in development. Family Promise programs involve more than 160,000 volunteers and they provide assistance to more than 50,000 family members annually. Family Promise celebrated their 25 th Anniversary as a national organization in 2013. Since their founding, they have served about 500,000 people, including tens of thousands of homeless families who found temporary homes at Affiliates nationwide.

Copyright Business Wire 2010