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Huntsville Hospital Foundation Receives $70,441 Grant from PetSmart Charities to Bring Second Facility Dog to Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children

PetSmart Charities grant funds second facility dog to provide comfort, joy to patients

Huntsville Hospital Foundation Receives $70,441 Grant from PetSmart Charities to Bring Second Facility Dog to Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children
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Huntsville Hospital Foundation and PetSmart Charities know that pets have the remarkable ability to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, improve our mood and bring us unconditional love.  That’s why, with the help of a $70,441 grant from PetSmart Charities, the Foundation’s Canines for Coping program is growing to add a second facility dog to serve pediatric and adult patients at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children.

The donor-funded Canines for Coping program consists of a professionally trained service dog that brings comfort and support to patients at the community hospital. The program launched in July 2019 with the addition of Asteroid, a lovable golden retriever. Asteroid and related expenses are covered by the Lifesaver Club, Huntsville Hospital’s employee giving program. Because of patient volume and an overwhelmingly positive response to the program, a second facility dog is now needed.  The generous PetSmart Charities grant will cover the cost of the additional dog and its intensive training, which prepares it to provide services based on medical goals, to be present during medical procedures and to assist with bereavement.

“The Canines for Coping program has been an incredible asset to our hospital and patients, and we are thrilled to be able to add a second dog to serve more patients,” said Elizabeth Sanders, vice president, Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children. “PetSmart Charities visited our hospital and saw the impact and also the need. Thanks to their generosity, we will soon have another lovable animal to provide joy, comfort and support to our patients, ultimately improving their outcomes and hospital experience.”

The second facility dog has been applied for, and will be provided through Canines Assistants in Georgia.

“We are thrilled to support the expansion of the Canines for Coping program,” said Kelly Balthazor, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities. “This invaluable program not only provides a healthy diversion from the usual hospital routine for patients while they receive care, but also shares the many benefits of the healing power of pets.”

Across North America, PetSmart Charities has granted more than $2.3 million to support animal assisted therapy programs. Funding from PetSmart Charities supports best practices that enhance the human-animal bond. Since 1994, the leading funder of animal welfare has donated nearly $400 million to improve access to veterinary care, to help preserve families, to positively impact communities, and to connect people and pets through initiatives like this program with Huntsville Hospital Foundation.


About Huntsville Hospital Foundation
Huntsville Hospital Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, established in 1978 as the fundraising arm of Huntsville and Madison Hospitals. It strengthens relationships between the hospitals and the community. The Foundation accepts gifts—both individual and corporate—on the hospitals’ behalf, and works to fund present and future equipment and program needs. For more information, visit

About PetSmart Charities®
PetSmart Charities, Inc. is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps to find forever homes and families for nearly 600,000 shelter pets each year.  PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to nonprofits aligned with its mission. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores.  In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting nearly $400 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart Inc., PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, a third-party organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, for the past 16 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization. To learn more visit