Zoetis and veterinary practices across the United Kingdom are calling on dog owners to help raise vital funds to purchase a new assistance dog for the nonprofit organization Hounds for Heroes, by having their dogs vaccinated for the highly contagious illness Kennel Cough.  Zoetis UK launched the year-long Pounds for Hounds initiative on Remembrance Day, 11 November 2012.  

Hounds for Heroes, established in 2010 by Gulf War Veteran Allen Parton, provides specially trained assistance dogs to injured and disabled men and women of both the UK armed forces and civilian emergency services. 

Allen spent five years in a hospital after a tragic wartime head injury wiped out his memories, leaving him unable to walk, speak or write.  He couldn’t even remember his wife or children.  When Allen was partnered with assistance dog Endal, it changed his life and brought his independence back.  Endal could respond to over 100 commands as well as problem solve, and once saved Allen’s life by putting him in the recovery position and going for help.

“The mental and physical help provided by a trained assistance dog is phenomenal – Endal literally saved my life,” said Allen. “There are nearly one million injured men and women in the country today and if money were no object, we would ensure that every single one of them had access to a Hounds for Heroes dog.  It costs £20,000 to train and provide lifetime funding for one of these dogs and it is initiatives such as Pounds for Hounds that help us get that much   closer to our goal.”

“Zoetis understands the importance and impact of the human-animal bond, and we wanted to help raise awareness and funding for the Hounds for Heroes initiative,” said Scott Wheway, Assistant Product Manager at Zoetis.  “Through Pounds for Hounds, we are mobilizing veterinary practices throughout the United Kingdom and together calling on dog owners to help raise £20,000 for a new assistance dog by having their dog vaccinated for Kennel Cough. This highly contagious disease is easily spread from dog to dog and can be caught when dogs are in close contact with each other.”

Zoetis is donating 25 pence to Hounds for Heroes for every dog vaccinated with its Kennel Cough vaccine until 11 November 2013. Zoetis has also invited veterinarians and their clients to support Pounds for Hounds, placing contribution collection boxes at veterinary practices.  Additionally, Zoetis has previously donated £20,000 to purchase and train one of the charity’s newest canine recruits, a puppy named Vanguard.

“Pounds for Hounds makes it possible for Zoetis to join with veterinarians and dog owners to support the Hounds for Heroes organization, which plays such an important role in enhancing the quality of life of men and women who have sustained wartime injuries,” said Wheway. He added that because of the Pounds for Hounds campaign, we have also seen a significant increase in Kennel Cough awareness among veterinarians and dog owners in the UK, which has resulted in over 22,000 dogs being vaccinated for Kennel Cough and means we have achieved over 20% of our fundraising goal*  for Hounds for Heroes. “This has truly been a win-win situation.”

To learn more about Pounds for Hounds, click here. For further information about Hounds for Heroes visit www.houndsforheroes.com.  If you live in the UK and are interested in having your dog vaccinated for Kennel Cough, contact your local veterinary practice.

*As of March 21, 2013