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JoAnna Lou
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One Ball Can Make a Difference
Planet Dog Romp-a-Thon raises money for service dogs

Currently, Planet Dog donates 2 percent of all proceeds to its charitable arm, The Planet Dog Foundation. This year the company hopes to raise even more money through the 2010 Planet Dog Romp-a-Thon.

The initiative challenges retailers and consumers to help sell 20,000 Orbee-Tuff Glow for Good Balls by the end of the year. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of every ball will be donated to the Planet Dog Foundation. The balls can be purchased at any retailer that sells Planet Dog products or directly through their website.

While the Foundation awards several grants each year, it is overwhelmed by the number of requests. Planet Dog created this fundraising challenge to help educate retailers and consumers about the contributions of working dogs and the support they need.

Recently the Foundation announced $25,000 in grants to five canine service organizations. 

$7,500 to Texas Hearing and Service Dogs, which trains shelter dogs to become service dogs. This organization pioneered the practice of working with shelter dogs and is actively working to encourage rescuing needy dogs for training rather than breeding. The grant will fund the Honor Dogs Program, a prison inmate program that places dogs with minimum female offenders. 

$7,500 to Thirteen/WNET TV New York Martha Speaks at the Library Children's Literacy Program, a collaboration between the New York Public Library System and channel 13 WNET, the PBS affiliate in New York City. The grant will fund the program’s expansion to six new cities across the United States. 

$4,000 to Paws & Think, Inc., which serves at-risk youth, at-risk canines and children and adults with disabilities and special needs in central Indiana. This all-volunteer, community-based organization works in partnership with schools, detention centers, youth agencies, humane societies, shelters and others to pair the youth with stray, surrendered or neglected dogs to train them to become service dogs for people living with a disability or as pets, thereby avoiding euthanasia.  

$3,500 to Therapy Dogs, Inc., which provides registration, support and insurance for members who are involved in volunteer animal assisted activities to form a network of caring individuals who are willing to share their special animals in order to bring happiness and cheer to people young and old alike. The grant will help fund Tester/Observer Training Seminars in eight cities, equipping 200 trainers who would potentially train, evaluate and certify some 6,000 new therapy dog teams nationwide.  

$2,500 to HOPE Animal - Assisted Crisis Response, a national all-volunteer, non-profit, crisis response organization with specially trained and certified handler/canine teams. Agencies call upon HOPE AACR teams to provide comfort and support to people affected by disasters including earthquakes and floods, or senseless violence in a school or workplace.  

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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