Petco Love and the ASPCA Partner to Grant $1.5 Million to Dogs Playing For Life to Expand Life-Saving Playgroups Nationwide

Dogs Playing For Life provides improved quality of life for at-risk dog populations

Petco Love and the ASPCA Partner to Grant $1.5 Million to Dogs Playing For Life to Expand Life-Saving Playgroups Nationwide

San Antonio (Aug. 16, 2017) — Petco Love and the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) are teaming up to provide a substantial grant of $1.5 million to Dogs Playing For Life to expand and elevate its innovative playgroup enrichment training to shelters across the country.

This partnership will begin in Los Angeles County – building on the success the program has already seen at both the Downey Animal Care Center and the Carson Animal Care Center, with plans to eventually extend to all LA County Animal Care Centers.

Even as shelter statistics have continued to improve, large-breed and pit-bull type dogs remain at-risk in shelters due to persistent and pervasive misinformation and misconceptions that prejudice people against them.

Dogs Playing For Life is a creative program that provides socialization and enrichment for shelter dogs in the form of structured playgroups and is aimed at improving the lives of our country’s most at-risk dogs. It also enables shelter staff to better understand each dog’s personality and share that information with potential adopters, increasing the likelihood that participating dogs find safe and loving homes.

"Dogs Playing For Life's inventive approach will improve the quality of life of shelter dog populations and help defeat life-threatening stereotypes"

“Playgroups give this large-breed dog population the opportunity to do what they were made to do – run around, socialize, learn from each other, and show their personalities,” said Aimee Sadler, founder of Dogs Playing For Life. “This grant from the ASPCA and Petco Love will have a great impact on the number of shelters and dogs who participate in our training and daily playgroup activities. We’re grateful to be supported by two organizations with such a long history of innovation and advocacy in animal welfare.”

“Dogs Playing For Life’s inventive approach will improve the quality of life of shelter dog populations and help defeat life-threatening stereotypes,” said ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker. “We commend Dogs Playing For Life’s innovation and commitment, and are proud to work with Petco Love to support this program’s expansion nationwide. This initiative has significant potential to help vulnerable canine populations, and we look forward to seeing the impact it has across the country.”

“It is amazing how something so simple – large dog playgroups – can be so transformational,” said Susanne Kogut, Executive Director of Petco Love. “These playgroups not only showcase the positive, fun nature of these dogs, they force many people to rethink popular misconceptions that these dogs are not friendly with others. Additionally, playgroups create a better atmosphere for caring shelter staff who see these dogs romping happily in play instead of sitting alone in their kennels. Our goal is that dog playgroups become standard in shelters throughout the country, just like free-roaming cat adoption rooms have become commonplace. We are excited to partner with the ASPCA and Dogs Playing For Life to change the face of animal sheltering throughout the nation and to help further the goal of creating lifesaving communities.”

To learn more about Dogs Playing For Life, please visit

For more information about the ASPCA, please visit

For more information about Petco Love, please visit

About Dogs Playing For Life

Dogs Playing For Life is a non-profit organization founded and led by Aimee Sadler, a prominent dog trainer. It has worked with over 175 shelters in the United States and Canada and is spearheading an industry-wide effort to incorporate enrichment and daily playgroups to help elevate the standard of care and quality of life for shelter dogs. The two primary open admission shelters that have implemented Dogs Playing For Life in its entirety now maintain a canine live release rate in excess of 95 percent.

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Petco Love

At Petco Love, we believe that every animal deserves to live its best life. Since 1999, we’ve invested more than $185 million in lifesaving animal welfare work to make that happen. With our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners, we inspire and empower communities to make a difference by investing in adoption and medical care programs, spay/neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. Through our Think Adoption First program, we partner with Petco stores and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions. So far, we’ve helped more than 5 million pets find their new loving families, and we’re just getting started. Visit to learn more about how you can get involved.

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