ASPCA and the Petco Foundation 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
August 16, 2017

petco and aspca logos

NEW YORK –The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the Petco Foundation 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.

 “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 the Petco Foundation 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 the Petco Foundation 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 the Petco Foundation. “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 the Petco Foundation, please visit