Pet Care Trust Presents Crystal Apple Awards in Appreciation of Support

Nine pet industry companies were recognized at the Global Pet Expo Industry Breakfast for their contributions to the Pets in the Classroom grant program.

Crystal Apple Awards at Global Pet ExpoNine companies received the Pet Care Trust Crystal Apple Awards during the Global Pet Expo Industry Breakfast on Thursday, March 5, 2015. The awards recognize companies that have helped the Trust provide more than 54,000 Pets in the Classroom grants to teachers and students throughout North America. The companies that received the award include: JW Pet Company, Inc., Kordon LLC, Penn-Plax, Inc., VitakraftSunseed, Inc., Ware Manufacturing, Inc., Zoo Med Laboratories, Inc., Healthy Pet, United Pet Group, and Central Garden & Pet.

The Pet Care Trust, a non-profit organization that promotes the public understanding of the joys and benefits of pets through education, support, and interaction, established the Pets in the Classroom grant program in 2011 with the knowledge that, while they are a valuable teaching tool, many teachers have very limited resources for the support of classroom animals.  With the assistance of numerous companies and organizations within the pet industry, this educational grants program provides teachers with an opportunity to obtain a grant for the purchase of new pets, pet environments, or pet food, and supplies for existing classroom pets.

The Award Presentation recognized several companies whose support has made the grant program possible.   The program, which has several different grant types, allows teachers to receive financial support for pets and supplies directly through the program (the Rebate and Sustaining grants) or to shop at one of the six retail chains who have developed custom programs –Petco, Petsmart, Pet Supermarket, Pet Supplies Plus, Petland stores, and Petland Discount stores– and receive pets and products through them.  These custom programs are supported by a number of manufacturers who have donated thousands of dollars worth of their products to the program. Crystal Apple Awards were presented to these companies:  JW Pet Company, Inc., Kordon LLC., Penn-Plax, Inc., VitakraftSunseed, Inc., Ware Manufacturing, Inc., and Zoo Med Laboratories, Inc.

United Pet Group and Central Garden & Pet were also recognized for supplying most of the habitats, food, bedding and other animal care products that make up the grants that teachers receive through the participating retailer programs.

Healthy Pet of Ferndale, Washington was recognized for providinga major grant to help fund a research study by the American Humane Association that will shed light on how teachers are integrating pets into their lesson plans and what the impact has been on the students (initial results of the study will be announced this spring).

With the help of these companies, Pets in the Classroom has awarded 55,000 grants to teachers, providing 2.5 million kids with daily contact with a guinea pig, bearded dragon, aquarium or other classroom pet.

Pets in the Classroom was happy to express their gratitude for the financial support from the companies through the Awards and is thankful that these companies recognize the importance of the program.

Ted Mischaikov, Chief Executive Officer of Healthy Pet, stated:

“At Healthy Pet, we are committed to a holistic approach to pet care and dedicated to providing products that promote active, happy and natural environments for both pets and people. We understand just how vital it is for our industry and for our children that they can easily and responsibility be introduced to caring for pets. The quality research of HABRI and others irrefutably demonstrates how child development and learning are enhanced by having pets in their midst while studying and interacting. Thus, we find the Pets In The Classroom program to be a holistic approach, with great scientific integrity, which advances active and happy interaction between children and pets and therefore we do and will support the program.  Simply put, Pets In The Classroom make the lives of people and pets even more worth living.”

Brent Weinmann, President and CEO of VitakraftSunSeed Inc., stated:

“We at VitakraftSunseed are thrilled to receive the “Crystal Apple Award” from the Pet Care Trust.  The Pets in the Classroom program has reached so many kids and classrooms around the country and we are pleased to be able to help in some small way.  I have spoken with numerous teachers first- hand who participate in the grant program and they have relayed the many ways that the pets have positively impacted not only the learning process but also the social and behavioral aspects of the class.  VitakraftSunseed is proud to be part of the Pets in the Classroom program and we wholeheartedly encourage other companies to join the effort.”

Gary Sparks, Vice President of Sales at Central Garden & Pet Company, stated:

“The Pets in the Classroom program is an effective way to expose students to the joys and rewards of keeping small animals, reptiles and tropical fish as pets. Central Garden and Pet brands, Aqueon and Zilla, have supported the program since its inception, believing that introducing children to pet-keeping early, is mandatory to maintaining and growing participation in specialty categories.”

Stephen Ware, President of Ware Manufacturing, stated:

“Ware Manufacturing is honored to participate in the Pets in the Classroom program. We believe that the child/pet bonding experience is essential in creating a future generation that embraces pets as an integral part of a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.In this current era of constant “electronic connections” it is more important than ever to encourage daily interaction with pets. Pets in the Classroom is the perfect avenue for children to experience the joy of the human-animal bond, as evidenced by the fact that children will even go out of their way to be quiet for the comfort of their classroom pet.The Pets in the Classroom goal of 100,000 enrolled classrooms touching 5,000,000 children’s lives is one that Ware is proud to support.”

For more information on Pets in the Classroom, please visit

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