Pets for Vets Launches

Courtesy photo    Local members of “Pets for Vets” hope to heal the hurt that some veterans suffer and save dogs from euthanasia with the organization’s outreach program.

An organization known as “Pet for Vets” reaches out to veterans who suffer from physical and emotional injuries relating to their time in the service. “Sometimes it is very difficult to transition from military to civilian life,” said Debbie George, a member of the organization’s Alameda chapter. Medical studies have shown that companion animals can significantly improve both mental and physical health. These animals can reduce stress, depression and anxiety that many serving in the military experience. 

Pets for Vets rescues shelter dogs facing euthanasia and selects them for veterans. Trainers will rehabilitate the dogs, teaching them manners to fit in to the veterans’ lifestyles. Then Pets for Vets attempts to match the veterans’ personalities with the dogs.   

“We hope that the pets will help heal the emotional wounds some veterans suffer and provide a second chance for shelter animals by rescuing, training and pairing them with America’s servicemen and women who could benefit from having a companion animal,” George said.  
Pets for Vets believes that companion animals can make for lifesaving therapy or friends that many returning servicemen and women need to recover. 

The organization cites stories of its success: one veteran no longer dependent on medication after only one month after receiving a Pets for Vets companion dog; another able to finally turn the lights out at night shortly after receiving a companion dog. Working with and learning to train his companion dog, helped another veteran take his mind off what he endured in Iraq. 

The program is open to veterans living in a “Pets for Vets” chapter area, which includes Alameda. Interested vets can start the process by filling out an application at petsforvets.com/apply. Veterans must provide copies of DD-214s and letters from their health care providers. Learn more at the organization’s website, petsforvets.com/norcal.