Pets are an important part of our family. For those in the military, the bond is just as tight. Over the past several years a variety of organizations have been created aimed at helping keep military families with their pets, rescuing pets from war zones and training and matching service dogs and therapy pets with our veterans.
In honor of Veterans Day, here’s a look at a few of the programs that are available. If I’ve left out your group, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the end of the story, I have information on two disabled vets I’ve blogged about and how you can help them.
Pet services for military families
Dogs on Deployment (DOD) was founded by a dual career military couple to help provide temporary foster care for pets of deployed military personnel. Shawn Johnson (U.S. Navy) and his wife Alisa (Marines) founded DOD after he was deployed and she was sent to long-term training at the same time and they had to leave their beloved dog behind. They realized that while they had relatives to care for their dog, many members of the military did not. DOD also provides online pet resources for military pet families.
Military dog rescue
An overlooked veterans group is the Military Working Dogs – dogs that put their lives on the lines for our troops in war zones. Once their career is over, many are euthanized or face an uncertain future. Save-A-Vet works to rescue and adopt out those that are deemed adoptable and place unadoptable veteran dogs in sanctuary. The group also provides housing and relief for disabled veterans that care for those dogs.
The Puppy Rescue Mission works with active military members that have rescued dogs and cats from war zones and helps bring those pets back to the U.S. The organization assists the members of the military and their families set up fundraising. Then, works on getting the Battle Buddies (dogs) or Felines in Fatigues (cats) out of the war zones and brings them home. See my earlier post here.
Bensenville-based Pits for Patriots trains qualified, rescued pit bulls and to be service dogs for veterans and first responders in need. The organization also educates the public about “the loyalty, devotion and commitment of pit bulls.” (See article.)
One of the organizations that trains service dogs to help veterans with PTSD and mobility issues is This Able Veteran. The organization was founded by dog trainers and along with selecting and training dogs, they also train other dog trainers to properly train service dogs to assist those with PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injuries and mobility problems.
Guardians of Rescue offers a variety of programs that are connected with the military. Paws of War takes pets left behind in war torn countries or in shelters and matches them with veterans suffering emotional issues like PTSD to offer them therapeutic relief. Home Again: Operation Support Our Troops helps those who’ve returned from deployment adopt a pet from a local shelter or helps returning military bring a pet home they rescued in a war zone.
Circle of Change uses interaction between veterans and troubled dogs to help build the confidence of veterans while rehabilitating dogs. Through the program, veterans learn how to train and handle the dogs to help the dogs get a better life while building confidence of the veterans. The program is based in the Rockford area.
Pets for Vets takes two things very near and dear to my heart – shelter dogs and veterans – and gives them both a second chance. The organization selects dogs from shelters, trains them to fit in with a veteran’s lifestyle and pairs them with a vet suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Training includes desensitization to wheel chairs and crutches as well as recognizing panic and anxiety disorders. (Chicago Chapter)
In August, I blogged about Stephen Simmons and his dog and cat duo – Puppi & Burma (slide show). Simmons suffers from PTSD and has been dealing with it through what he calls adventure therapy in the Oregon mountains with his dog and cat. A Kickstarter campaign to fund a picture book of his advantures raised money for a first printing and those books are now being sent out. Since then, Simmons has found out that he’s been refused VA benefits again for PTSD. A Website of Puppi and Burma merchandise has gone live and Simmons is working on another appeal of his case.
Friday, I did a post about Christian Carlson and his son Christian Junior. Christian is a disabled veteran battling MS and his son has Type 1 Diabetes. The Carlson family though their organization – Please Help the Strong – is raising funds for two service dogs. (Check out my blog post for details.) During November which is Diabetes Awareness Month, donations are being matched dollar by dollar up to $2,000.
Fill in the box below to subscribe to my feed. Do you have Gmail? If so, make sure you go into your “promotions” box and drag one of my emails over to your “primary” box. That way, you’ll never miss one of my posts!