Have you ever heard of National Pets for Veterans Day? It is on October 21st. Not only does this day act as a time to recognize the men and women who have served the country, but, more specifically, it is a time to raise awareness of the mental health benefits of providing veterans with pets to care for, as well as, highlighting the benefits to rescued animals in need of a home.
The transition back into civilian life can be difficult for members of the armed forces. Many veterans return home with the invisible scars of mental and emotional trauma. They may have difficulty reintegrating into typical society, finding it difficult to understand the problems and patterns of loved ones back home.
At the same time, many animals are waiting in shelters to find their forever homes, having been abandoned. Many of these animals have experienced traumas of their own. Sometimes, these animals are not found suitable for homes with young children or civilians who do not understand how to properly meet their needs. These same animals, however, can often provide unconditional love and support to veterans in a way that other humans cannot match. Veterans benefit from this connection and support. Animals in the program benefit from finding a forever home and companionship with a new owner.
This is why the Vets for Pets program was created. Any veteran who lives in a Vets for Pets chapter area and can care for a pet is eligible to apply. Trainers in the Pets for Vets program match animals and veterans depending on their respective temperaments, wants and needs, and expectations of a companion.
When trainers find a match, they bring an animal to live in one of their homes in order to shepherd the animal through the learning process of both basic obedience training and any specialized training necessary for the intended veteran companion. For example, an animal may need to become comfortable with movement aids or a synthetic limb. The animal may also learn to recognize behaviors related to a panic or anxiety disorder.
Our office is here to support veterans. For veterans affairs issues or connecting you to veteran resources in the community, we are happy to help. Contact us today.