Free Dog -Friendly Event Benefits Assistance Dogs Nationwide

Media representatives may contact the Canine Companions for Independence marketing office at 1-866-CCI-DOGS (224-3647) or marketing@cci.orgfor more information.

SANTA ROSA, California - Communities around the country are grabbing a leash and coming together with dogs big and small at DogFest Walk n’ Roll, a dog- and family-friendly event benefiting Canine Companions for Independence. The events consist of a short walk with your pet dog, or roll in a wagon, wheelchair or stroller, demonstrations of the skills an assistance dog uses to help its partner, and a fun festival. Dogs and humans alike will love this tail-wagging event!

The 29-city fundraiser is a place for communities to grab their dog’s leash and get outside for a walk, roll and family-friendly dog festival. Participants can choose to raise money to help provide more assistance dogs to children, adults and veterans with disabilities.

“We have over 430 people on our waitlist,” states Canine Companions CEO Paul Mundell, “and want to help more people get matched with a highly trained dog.”

Last year, Canine Companions DogFest events raised over $1.4 million and have raised over $2.5 million since its inception in 2013.

“DogFest is not just about the fun,” says DogFest San Diego Chair Sondra Thiederman. “Families get to meet Canine Companions puppies and assistance dogs, see the life-changing work these dogs do and can support the mission of Canine Companions with their own dogs at a truly exciting event. I choose to volunteer to chair my local DogFest because I get to make a difference and have a blast at the same time.”

In addition to the walk, attendees can take part in a free community festival, featuring canine activities like photo booths, agility courses and dog-safe temporary tattoos. The festival also showcases retail and activity booths from local businesses and organizations. At select events, corporate partners will provide activities and giveaways, including national partners PetSmart Charities® -- the leading funder of animal welfare grants in North America -- and Eukanuba™ Dog Foods.Nickelodeon®’s PAW Patrol™ characters will be present for photo opportunities at the San Diego and Orlando events.

Events are open to the public and free of charge, registration required. Remaining events in 2016 are:

DogFest DFW - October 1 DogFest Cincinnati - October 15
DogFest Denver - October 1 DogFest Seattle - October 15
DogFest Sacramento - October 1 DogFest East Bay - October 22
DogFest Wasatch - October 1 DogFest New Jersey - October 22
DogFest Incline Village - October 2 DogFest OKC - October 22
DogFest Portland - October 2 DogFest Richmond - October 22
DogFest Philly - October 8 DogFest Jacksonville - October 22
DogFest Silicon Valley - October 8 DogFest San Diego - October 29
DogFest Wine Country - October 8 DogFest Orlando - November 19

The cost for Canine Companions for Independence to breed, raise, train and place an assistance dog is funded entirely by private donations. Events including DogFest offset those expenses for the non-profit and have helped provide assistance dogs to the more than 5,100 individuals with disabilities.

To get involved, register for these free events, volunteer, start your own fundraising page or donate to an existing team, please visit cci.org/DogFest.

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About Canine Companions for Independence®
Canine Companions for Independence provides highly-trained assistance dogs to children, adults and veterans with disabilities, free of charge for the recipient. Established in 1975, Canine Companions has trained over 5,000 assistance dog teams. Canine Companions has six training centers across the country including Northern California, Southern California, Florida, New York, Ohio and Texas, and over 3000 volunteers nationwide. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. The result is a life full of increased independence and loving companionship.

DogFest Walk ‘n Roll is Canine Companions’ national signature event. Primarily volunteer-run, DogFest supports the mission of Canine Companions through peer-to-peer fundraising and a family- and dog-friendly festival event. Learn more at cci.org/DogFest and on social media at #DogFestWalknRoll or call 1-800-572-BARK.

About PetSmart Charities®
PetSmart Charities, Inc. is a nonprofit animal welfare organization that saves the lives of homeless pets. Each year nearly 500,000 dogs and cats find homes through our adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and sponsored adoption events. Each year millions of PetSmart shoppers contribute to pets in need by making donations directly to PetSmart Charities on a pin pad at the registers in PetSmart stores. PetSmart Charities administers and efficiently uses 90 cents of every dollar of the generous donations by issuing grants and providing additional support to help pets in need.

PetSmart Charities grants more money to directly help pets in need than any other animal welfare group in North America, with a focus on funding adoption and spay/neuter programs that help communities solve pet overpopulation. PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization, independent from PetSmart, Inc. PetSmart Charities has received the Four Star Rating for the past 13 years from Charity Navigator, an independent nonprofit that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization.
Follow PetSmart Charities on Twitter: @PetSmartChariTs
Find PetSmart Charities on Facebook: facebook.com/PetSmartCharities
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See PetSmart Charities on YouTube: YouTube.com/PetSmartCharitiesInc

About EUKANUBA™
With over 45 years of research, EUKANUBA™ offers a complete food lineup, delivering exceptional customized nutrition by lifestage, breed size as well as health and performance requirements. EUKANUBA™ is a pet food brand of Mars Petcare. You can visit us on the Web at eukanuba.com or at Facebook.com/Eukanuba.

Copyright © 2016 Canine Companions for Independence, Inc. All rights reserved.