PHOENIX, Oct. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- This year, PetSmart has nearly doubled its support of teachers across North America by offering more than 10,000 grants to Pets in the Classroom, a program that provides teachers with financial support to purchase and care for small animals in their classrooms. By expanding its footprint within schools, PetSmart is giving children the opportunity to enhance classroom learning.
"Pets play a valuable role in children's physical, social, emotional and cognitive development and can also enrich school curriculum," said Kathy Mitchell, PetSmart government affairs director and Pet Care Trust board member. "That's why we are proud to help even more teachers incorporate pets into their classrooms that can stimulate learning and bonding with the animals."
Pets in the Classroom was established by the Pet Care Trust knowing that, while classroom pets can be a valuable teaching tool, many teachers have limited resources for the support of classroom animals.
According to a study funded by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute and Pet Care Trust that incorporated teacher feedback and classroom observations, classroom pets help children learn compassion, empathy and respect for all living things and reduce stress levels. The benefits were amplified for children with special needs.
"I am so grateful for the Pets in the Classroom program. My students feel a sense of pride knowing that they are completely responsible for the care of our dwarf hamster. They really see her as an addition to the classroom -- even my students who have various emotional, learning, or physical concerns understood she needs love and gentle care from everyone to thrive," said Michelle Jacobs, a fifth grade teacher. "I've seen so many positive interactions and behavior changes because of this wee little classmate."
The Pets in the Classroom program is now accepting applications for the 2019 – 2020 school year. Teachers who already have a classroom pet can also apply for a sustaining grant to help support costs of pet care. For more information on the Pets in the Classroom grant program, including the online application, visit www.PetsintheClassroom.org.
PetSmart, Inc. is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. At PetSmart, we love pets, and we believe pets make us better people. Every day with every connection, PetSmart's passionate associates help bring pet parents closer to their pets so they, together, can live more fulfilled lives. This vision impacts everything we do for our customers, the way we support our associates and how we give back to our communities. PetSmart employs approximately 55,000 associates and operates more than 1,600 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as more than 200 in-store PetSmart Pets Hotel® dog and cat boarding facilities. The retailer provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and products, as well as services such as dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding, PetSmart Doggie Day Camp™ and pet adoption. PetSmart, PetSmart Charities® and PetSmart Charities® of Canada work with more than 3,500 animal welfare organizations to bring adoptable pets into stores so they have the best chance possible of finding a forever home. Through this in-store adoption program and other signature events, PetSmart has facilitated more than 8 million adoptions, more than any other brick-and-mortar organization. In May 2017, PetSmart acquired Chewy.com, a leading online retailer of pet food and products in the U.S., which operates as an independent subsidiary.
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