SAN DIEGO — More than 1,000 PETCO stores nationwide will encourage families to Think Adoption First during National Pet Adoption Weekend Nov. 7 and 8 when they partner with their local animal shelters to hold adoption events. In addition, the National Pet Adoption Weekend kicks-off PETCO's annual Tree of Hope fundraiser for the PETCO Foundation and PETCO's partnership with the IAMS® annual Home 4 the Holidays® pet adoption drive.

"Last year PETCO raised more than $3 million through the Tree of Hope campaign in PETCO stores, and the PETCO Foundation was able to help more than 5,000 animal shelters," said Jim Myers, Chief Executive Officer for PETCO. "Through our National Pet Adoption Weekend and Tree of Hope campaign we hope to boost the number of animal adoptions and monies raised to make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of animals."

The Tree of Hope fundraiser allows PETCO customers to purchase snowflake card ornaments for $5, $10 or $20 donations through Dec. 24. Customers may also purchase PETCO Foundation "Peace on Earth, Good Homes for Pets" T-shirts or sweatshirts while supplies last. In addition, IAMS will donate $1 to the PETCO Foundation for every bag of IAMS cat or dog food sold at PETCO stores from Nov. 7 to Dec. 24 in support of the 2009 Home 4 the Holidays goal to find homes for 1.5 million animals by the end of the holiday season.

Every PETCO customer who adopts an animal through one of PETCO's sponsored animal adoption events or its charitable partners are invited to join PETCO's Think Adoption First program. When proof of a pet adoption is brought into a store and a P.A.L.S. loyalty program membership is activated, customers will receive a free brochure that features exclusive savings on food and supplies. In addition, new pet parents will receive a year-long series of educational e-mails regarding the health and well-being of their new pet, as well as special offers of up to 25 percent in savings each month.

Of course it makes sense for PETCO and IAMS to invest in a cause that supports animals, but they are also investing in the communities they serve by giving individuals who participate in the program long term incentives and support. Both these companies recognize the value of investing in local communities and are making a BIG difference for the pets and their owners. An investment that I am sure will be returned ten fold.