Reviewed by Kellen Bryant, Esq.
Did you know that National Pets for Veterans Day is celebrated on October 21st each year? It is a day to spread awareness of the emotional needs of veterans and assist them in transitioning back into civilian life. The organization, Pets for Vets, was founded on October 21, 2009, by Clarissa Black, an animal behaviorist and trainer looking to help the veterans with issues related to their service.
An estimated one in five veterans suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”), and two-thirds do not receive any treatment. This psychological disease could manifest as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Unfortunately, untreated PTSD may often lead to suicide.
According to the ASPCA, between 6 and 8 million dogs and cats are abandoned at shelters in the United States annually. Nationally, five out of ten shelter dogs and seven out of ten shelter cats are euthanized, because there is no one to adopt them from the shelter. These dogs and cats could be excellent companion animals to the veterans in their adjustment back to civilian life.
The idea is based on the practice of animal-assisted therapy. Studies have shown that caring for a pet can promote responsibility and routine. The need to walk the dog will encourage outdoor activities and sun exposure, known to uplift mood. The companionship of a pet can alleviate loneliness, stress, anxiety, and reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride. The impacts may not just be emotional and psychological, but also physiological.
Pets for Vets provides a whole list of services through its network expanding from Maine to Colorado. Its mission statement is: “Helping Veterans and Saving Pets.” A vet could submit an application, where questions would be asked to find the best match for him or her. After a search for the right pet, the furry companion will then receive training at one of the skilled trainers’ homes. Although most of the matches were with dogs, Pets for Vets has placed a rabbit for a vet once!
Pets for Vets uses its registered Super Bond® process to find the best match for our nation’s veterans and pets. Anyone interested in donating and volunteering should contact their local chapters.
Many of the attorneys in our organization proudly serve our veterans. Whether it is providing legal services or connecting you with local veteran resources, they are happy to help. Contact one of our members today for more information.