Imagine living without sight, relying solely on your other senses – and trusting others – to find your way. It’s a reality for many people, but one that can be aided with the help of a guide dog.
To celebrate these special animals, actress Nicollette Sheridan has teamed up with PETCO and Natural Balance Pet Foods to raise money for National Guide Dog Awareness Month, which runs through the end of September. For every specially marked bag of Natural Balance purchased at a PETCO or participating retailer, one dollar will be donated to guide dog charities. (You can make an additional donation of any size at PETCO as well.) The goal is to raise $1 million by the end of the month.
“I just thought this was such a special, wonderful way to help out,” Sheridan tells PEOPLEPets.com. “To be able to give somebody the gift of guidance through life with a furry companion that is just filled with love and compassion and kindness, that’s a really beautiful thing.”
In recent weeks, Sheridan has met with guide-dog trainers, learning about the work they do and the tasks it takes to turn a puppy into a seeing-eye dog. “Those dogs are incredibly bright and highly intuitive,” she says. “But it takes two years to train the puppies, and a total of $40,000. A lot of people can’t afford that miracle of independence.”
Many of the charities involved – like Guide Dogs for the Blind and Guide Dogs of America – give dogs to the visually impaired free of charge. “We need to urge others to help change these peoples’ lives,” she says.
For her part, Sheridan brings her 5-year-old golden retriever, Oliver, to retirement homes, where he “puts smiles on so many faces,” she says. “He’s a character, and full of personality. He comes everywhere with me.”
He has also imparted important lessons to his owner. “He’s taught me to communicate better without words,” Sheridan says. “Body language and expression go a long way.” And so do donations! Visit petco.com/naturalbalance to learn about more ways you can help.
Read about other celebrities making a difference on PEOPLEPets.com:
Lea Michele’s Secret Side Gig? Animal Rescue!
Country Singer Eric Church Saves Two Homeless Cats