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Dogtopia Foundation Ambassador Receives Award From M&M'S Brand, Proudly Part Of Mars, Honoring 20 Trailblazing Women

Dogtopia Celebrates Retired CSM Gretchen Evans on M&M'S Flipping the Status Quo Recognition

PHOENIX, March 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- This International Women's Day (March 8), M&M'S announced the 20 trailblazing winners of its Flipping the Status Quo program. Among them was Retired Command Sergeant Major and Dogtopia Foundation ambassador Gretchen Evans. Evans has been a driving force behind the Foundation's mission to provide service dogs for veterans in need, embarking on a national tour as part of the nonprofit's Dogs Save Lives campaign to raise funds and awareness for the cause. As part of Evans' recognition, she has chosen to honor the Dogtopia Foundation and donate the grant money she received to help them further their mission of connecting veterans and service dogs.

"I am honored to be chosen by M&M'S as a woman 'flipping the status quo' and thrilled that Dogtopia Foundation will receive funding for its important mission," Evans said. "This recognition will help give hope to veterans with mixed abilities. Connecting those veterans to service dogs is one way to help them overcome obstacles and physical and mental health challenges."

In January, consumers nominated women who were flipping the status quo in their everyday lives. Of the women nominated, M&M'S looked for those who are:

  • Positively impacting the community around them.
  • Creating an environment where everyone feels welcomed and appreciated.
  • Having fun while paving new paths for the women who will follow.
  • Changing conversations by developing out-of-the-box processes and ways of working.
  • Redefining what happiness and success looks like for women everywhere.

Evans is a towering example of all these qualities following a 27-year military career, which ended abruptly in Afghanistan when a rocket blast threw her headfirst into a concrete bunker, leaving her with a traumatic brain injury and total hearing loss. Evans was feeling hopeless and without purpose when America's VetDogs introduced her to Aura, a service dog who would become her ears and loyal companion on a journey of healing. Evans credits Aura with saving her life and is now on a mission to amplify the importance of service dogs for veterans as an ambassador for the Dogtopia Foundation. She has traveled to numerous cities, including Boise, Colorado Springs, and San Antonio, to share her story and spread the message about this important cause, which affects so many of America's heroes.

"We could not have asked for a more inspiring and impactful person to represent Dogtopia Foundation and our Dogs Save Lives campaign," Neil Gill, President and CEO of Dogtopia, said. "She is incredibly deserving of this award from M&M'S as she has been 'flipping the status quo' for veterans in need for quite some time. There is no doubt that she has saved many lives by getting the message out about the value of service dogs for veterans."

M&M'S is proudly part of Mars, a global, family-owned business that's transforming, innovating, and evolving to make a positive impact on the world.

You can see Evans among the full list of Flipping the Status Quo winners at

With more than 220 open locations across North America, Dogtopia is the nation's fastest-growing and largest dog daycare brand in the booming pet services industry, ranked at #56 on Entrepreneur Magazine's Annual Franchise 500 list and #325 on Franchise Times' Top 500 Franchises list. The ultimate destination for improving the physical and mental well-being of dogs and pet parents, Dogtopia helps our furry friends live long, healthy, and happy lives with services that address canine wellness in a holistic manner. At Dogtopia, dogs enjoy an open-play environment where dogs are separated by both size and temperament, comfortable rubberized flooring to ease joints and paws, and spa and overnight stay services. Dogtopia's offerings are all-inclusive with top-quality meals prepared according to each pet parent's request, or pet parents can bring their own food. Dogtopia's webcams also provide pet parents with peace of mind and the ability to check in on their pups when they are away.

The Dogtopia franchise family is composed of both single-unit and multi-unit operators, including husband and wife teams, father and daughter/son duos, siblings, and many experienced multi-unit franchisees. For more information about Dogtopia and franchise opportunities, visit

The Dogtopia Foundation's mission is to enable dogs to positively change our world, which is achieved by supporting programs, research, and initiatives focused around three worthy causes: Service Dogs for Veterans, Therapy Dogs for Students, and Employment Initiatives for Adults with Autism. One hundred percent of all donations are given directly organizations that help returning veterans, young school children, and adults with autism reach their full potential. To learn more, visit

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