Dogtopia® Partners with Paws With A Cause® for 11th Annual Charity Dog Wash Benefitting Veterans and Service Dogs

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National fundraiser to be held at 32 Dogtopia locations across the U.S.

Dogtopia®, an award-winning, dog daycare, boarding and spa franchise, announced today the company has partnered with Paws With A Cause®, a non-profit organization that provides Assistance Dogs to veterans and people with disabilities for its 11th Annual Charity Dog Wash. On Sunday, June 7, Dogtopia locations across the country will host Charity Dog Wash events, with proceeds benefitting programs that provide disabled veterans with Service Dogs to assist with physical needs, increase independence and improve quality of life.

“We are thrilled to partner once again with Paws With A Cause to further their mission of enhancing the quality of life for veterans through custom-trained Assistance Dogs,” said Amy Nichols, CEO of Dogtopia. "Our team members and franchisees from coast to coast look forward to this event each year and we are so proud of the funds we have raised to support our men and women in uniform and the dogs that change their lives.”

Dogtopia has set a goal of raising $30,000 for Paws With A Cause at this year’s event. Dog owners are invited to bring their four-legged family members in for a bath given by Dogtopia’s skilled team members and volunteers. Many events will also feature food, pet friendly vendors and fun for the whole family. A $15 donation per dog wash is requested.

“At Paws With A Cause, we rely on donations to help fund our programs, increase awareness and ultimately, match our nation’s heroes with disabilities to Service Dogs suited to their particular needs,” said Michael Sapp Sr., Paws With A Cause CEO and Co-founder. “Dogtopia’s Annual Charity Dog Wash has provided us with a great fundraising opportunity, as well as the chance to share our success stories. When people see and hear about the impact that our programs have on the lives of veterans and their families, they understand the importance of their donations.”

Paws With A Cause client SFC Jacob Finger’s (U.S. Army, Ret.) success story highlights the positive impact that a Service Dog can have on the life of a veteran. A Colorado native, SFC Finger joined the U.S. Army at the age of 18 at the urging of his sister. He served in Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. Following those tours of duty, he served stateside in Fort Stewart, Ga., and Fort Carson, Co., before being sent to Kuwait to guard the Iraqi border after the attacks of 9/11. In April 2003, he was deployed to Iraq under Operation Iraqi Freedom.

While stationed in Iraq, SFC Finger experienced daily artillery attacks by IEDs and secondary arms fire from AK47s, which led to multiple concussions, extensive nerve damage and other injuries. During a routine patrol in 2006, his vehicle was destroyed in an IED attack — a blast that caused his head to go through the bulletproof windshield.

Finger received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in armed combat during one of those attacks. His time in Iraq also earned him a Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, four Army Commendations and other distinguished awards.

Upon returning to the U.S., .SFC Finger was officially diagnosed with PTSD and depression. In 2010, he suffered his first seizure — it was the first of many seizures that would leave SFC Finger disoriented in public, oftentimes injured and vulnerable, and unable to function in daily life. After undergoing multiple tests and ruling out conditions such as epilepsy, a PTSD specialist concluded that his seizures were caused by brain damage and provoked by PTSD “triggers” — such as crowds, flashing lights and loud or sudden noises. Determined to stay out of an assisted living facility, SFC Finger worked with a neurologist at the University of Colorado on a plan to build up tolerance to his PTSD triggers.

In May 2014, SFC Finger was paired with his Service Dog, Dixie, through Paws With A Cause. Dixie has given him confidence, independence and increased quality of life that his health care providers did not think would be possible. When SFC Finger feels that a seizure is coming on, he can get to a safe place, with Dixie by his side. She stays with him, placing her head on his lap or chest, and offers reassurance during those times. When he’s recovered enough to stand, Dixie braces SFC Finger until he is able to regain his balance. Her command to “retrieve” also helps him avoid seizures that can be triggered by suddenly bending down or standing up. SFC Finger, a single father of a 15-year-old son, wants to instill hope in others who are dealing with seizures and traumatic brain injuries. The donations from Dogtopia’s Annual Charity Dog Wash will help train more Service Dogs like Dixie for more veterans like SFC Finger.

Dogtopia’s Annual Charity Dog Wash is the company’s largest fundraiser of the year. Since the launch of its first Annual Charity Dog Wash in 2005, Dogtopia has raised more than $130,000 for various nonprofit organizations benefitting military dogs, veterans and Service Dogs. For more information about Dogtopia Charity Dog Wash events near you or to donate, visit http://www.k9support.org. Supporters can also donate by texting Dogtopia to 50155.

About Dogtopia:
Dogtopia is a dog daycare, boarding and spa franchise committed to providing exceptional care to canines and their families across the U.S. and Canada. The company was founded by Amy Nichols in 2002 based on the belief that combining a strong vision, a passion for dogs and a second-to-none executive team would lead to success. With that success, Dogtopia began franchising in 2005. Currently, there are 34 U.S. and Canadian locations with 16 additional currently under development. The Dogtopia system includes both franchise and company-owned stores and is poised to grow rapidly in the U.S. and Canada over the next several years. Dogtopia is the proud recipient of Inc. 500/5000 List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies (2008 – 2014), Entrepreneur Franchise 500 (2014, 2015), Pet Product News International Retailer of the Year (2013), Pet Age Business of the Year, Bronze, 2014, Smart CEO Future 50 (2014, 2015), FranchiseRankings.com #2 Best Pet Franchise (2014) and Franchise Times Next 300 (2013, 2014). For more information, visit http://www.dogdaycare.com or follow us on Twitter: @dogtopia.

About Paws With A Cause®:
Paws With A Cause enhances the independence and quality of life for people with disabilities nationally through custom-trained Assistance Dogs. PAWS® increases awareness of the rights and roles of Assistance Dog Teams through education and advocacy. They have placed more than 2,600 Assistance Dog teams. Learn more at PawsWithACause.org or @pawswithacause.

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