Hospital Español Auxilio Mutuo is teaming up with PetSmart to help fund the hospital's canine therapy program, Auxilio y Sonrisas para Nuestros Niños (Assistance and Smiles for Our Children).

"At PetSmart, we know the healing power of pets and the positive impact they have on people," said Julio Reyes, district manager for PetSmart. "We're proud to partner with Hospital Español Auxilio Mutuo to bring PetSmart Paws for Hope to Puerto Rico and help more children heal through the power of pets."

Support from PetSmart will allow the hospital to increase its canine therapy visits from once a month to twice per month. The partnership kicks off today with PetSmart funding the program with a commitment of $11,580 over two years.

"Animal assisted therapy offers a healthy diversion from the usual hospital routine and an opportunity for social interaction, which we know are important components to the healing process," said Jorge L. Matta, Hospital Español Auxilio Mutuo hospital administrator. "We're proud to be able to offer this program to our patients as we know it will assist in their recovery. We thank PetSmart for believing in this program and helping us to strengthen it."

This is the seventh national partnership of its kind between PetSmart and a hospital pet therapy program; existing programs include Phoenix Children's Hospital, Orlando Health, Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego, SickKids Hospital Toronto, St. Louis Children's Hospital and Children's Health Dallas.

In 2012, PetSmart teamed up with Phoenix Children's Hospital to sponsor their first animal-assisted therapy program, PetSmart Paws Can Heal. The initial launch was such a success that PetSmart expanded the program to hospitals throughout the country with the creation of the PetSmart Paws for Hope in 2014. The program creates additional pet therapy teams in hospitals and allows for more daily visits from a therapy animal for each patient. Additionally, the program provides support for the patients and their families. PetSmart plans to expand this program into at least three new hospitals across the country every year, with Seattle Children's Hospital kicking off later this year.

About Hospital Español Auxilio Mutuo

El Hospital Auxilio Mutuo, con 131 años de servicio y ubicado en el corazón de Hato Rey, es el hospital privado más grande y completo de Puerto Rico y el Caribe. Alrededor de 700 médicos forman parte de la Facultad Médica del Hospital, con más de 50 especialidades representadas. Reconocido por su avanzada tecnología y equipo médico, el Hospital tiene capacidad para 653 camas con licencia, cuenta con alrededor de 2,000 empleados y 15 centros especializados, incluyendo Auxilio Centro de Cáncer, Auxilio Pediátrico, Auxilio Cardiovascular, Auxilio Centro de Trasplante y Auxilio Control de Peso, ubicados en 34 cuerdas de terreno. El Hospital Auxilio Mutuo es una institución sin fines de lucro, que reinvierte sus ingresos en la Institución y sus servicios.

About PetSmart

PetSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETM) is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. At PetSmart, we believe pets make us better people. That's why we create more moments for people to be inspired by pets. This mission impacts everything we do for our customers, the way we support our associates, and how we give back to our communities. We employ approximately 54,000 associates, operate approximately 1,387 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and approximately 201 in-store PetSmart® PetsHotel® dog and cat boarding facilities. 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 day care services and pet adoption services in-store. Through and, we offer the most comprehensive online pet supplies and pet care information in the U.S. through our in-store pet adoption partnership with independent nonprofit organizations, PetSmart Charities® and PetSmart Charities® of Canada, PetSmart helps to save the lives of more than 400,000 homeless pets each year. In addition, PetSmart supports organizations that make communities a better place to call home through our philanthropy program, PetSmart Gives Back™. By giving back to the communities where we live and work, PetSmart not only celebrates the power of pets to enrich people's lives—we live it.

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