Nashville, Tenn. (March 29, 2021) - The Nashville Predators Foundation empowered by SmileDirectClub (the "Predators Foundation") today announced that Retrieving Independence - a nonprofit that breeds, trains and places service dogs with people who are living with physical, mental or emotional disability - will be the recipient of the second SuperGrant of the 2020-21 season. This SuperGrant, totaling $47,000, will be awarded tomorrow night as the Predators face the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena.
Founded in 2012, Retrieving Independence has built their service dog training program through the help of volunteers and their partnership with the Tennessee Department of Corrections, which allows the nonprofit to work with inmates at Tennessee prisons to train and socialize dogs for placement. Using this SuperGrant, Retrieving Independence will purchase safety crates and a second vehicle that transports multiple people and up to four dogs, allowing them to continue working with the inmate trainers once they are released.
"Retrieving Independence is so honored that the Predators Foundation and SmileDirectClub support our mission to transform lives through the unconditional love and service of an assistance dog," Retrieving Independence CEO Jessica Petty said. "This SuperGrant provides us with the gift of dedicated transportation and the peace of mind that the dogs will travel safely in their five-star crash-tested crates. With greater mobility, we are able to expand our services and training program within Tennessee prisons, as well as better serve the recipients living with a disability seeking a life of greater independence through a trained service dog!"
At the start of the Retrieving Independence program, every inmate completes 30 hours of intensive training before joining a two-person team and receiving a puppy that will live, work and train with them for 14 to 20 months under the direct supervision of Retrieving Independence trainers and staff. Following their graduation ceremony, each dog is placed with a person in need of seizure or diabetic alerts, mobility assistance or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder support. Currently, the program operates out of two locations - Turney Center Industrial Complex and the Debra K. Johnson Rehabilitation Center.
Last week on the @PredsFoundation Instagram, fans had the opportunity to vote on the names of two puppies that will complete the Retrieving Independence training program. The winning names will be announced this week. Additionally, for those watching from home tomorrow night, an interview with Retrieving Independence CEO Jessica Petty will air on FOX Sports Tennessee's Smashville LIVE! pregame show at 6:30 p.m. CT.
Further information on Retrieving Independence and getting involved as a volunteer can be found at RIServiceDogs.org. Also, fans can follow @PredsFoundation on social media or click here for details surrounding the SuperGrant program.