Help our heroes afford and care for shelter pets.
Veterans at all stages of their military careers struggle with emotional and physical issues, including those that challenge their ability to fully integrate into civilian life. Some return from deployment with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or other psychological trauma. Others are long separated from service but struggle with depression, substance abuse, or outright loneliness. For these and many other circumstances, a companion pet is often the right prescription to help heal mind, body, and soul. Pets for Patriots helps these veterans find and afford a "last-chance" pet: adult and special needs animals, and large breed dogs - those most overlooked for adoption, who face the greatest risk of euthanasia and yet make wonderful and grateful companions.
Operating nationwide, Pets for Patriots helps veterans combat the primary obstacle to pet ownership - cost of care - by providing access to ongoing discounted veterinary care, financial contributions towards the cost of pet food and essentials, and discounts for various pet products and services. Through Pets for Patriots' Veterans Pet Food Bank Program, veterans receive the help they need to be a hero once more by saving the life of a dog or cat in need. Your donation saves two lives: a shelter animal out of time and hope, and a veteran who regains a sense of purpose in life.
You can help. Just $25 provides pet food/basics for a veteran's adopted pet for two months.
Report from the Field: Nate and Otis
An IED blast nearly shattered a three-tour Navy veteran's mind and body, but an adopted dog named Otis has proved to be the best medicine of all.
Nate is a Navy corpsman who between 2007 and 2010 deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan in support of combat Marines. His dreams for a long military career were shattered by an IED blast in Afghanistan during his third deployment. Knocked out by the explosion, Nate suffered shrapnel wounds, a fractured spine and other injuries. In spite of it all, he regained consciousness, got up and treated the other injured Marines in the truck.
Nate returned to the United States in March 2011, and underwent a number of surgeries to treat his injuries from the IED blast. It was during this time that Nate was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. To aid his recovery, Nate applied for a service dog from a nonprofit organization. He bought a new home and had a fence built around the house in anticipation of getting a dog, but his application was denied since the demand for service dogs far exceeded their supply. The combat veteran started to think that perhaps the right companion dog could help him heal.
In early 2013, Nate toured the kennels of a locally participating Pets for Patriots shelter. All the dogs were jumping up and down and barking excitedly, except for one: a large, young American Bulldog-Labrador Retriever mix with one blue eye and one brown eye. Nate decided to take this dog for a walk, and when they reached the shelter parking lot, the dog, found as a stray, instinctively headed straight for Nate's car. It seemed that Otis knew that he was destined to be with Nate even before Nate did.
Update from the Field: Kara and Tank
An Air Force veteran, Kara, suffered crippling isolation after returning from Afghanistan until an adopted dog named Tank helped her reclaim her life. Kara has always cared for others. During her deployment to Afghanistan, she volunteered in the emergency room at Bagram Air Base, witnessing firsthand the teamwork involved in caring for wounded service members. Unknown to her at the time, she would return to civilian life with such profound emotional trauma that many days she could barely get out of bed. Her world had become a crippling isolation that consumed her.
Counseling and medication failed to relieve Kara's emotional pain. Having experienced the mood-enhancing benefits of two dogs she had early in her recovery, she decided to look for a shelter dog she could train to be more sensitive to her psychological needs. Tank was an adult German Shorthaired Pointed who had his own challenges socializing with others. In so many ways, he was the perfect fit for Kara; as she worked with Tank to overcome his anxieties, she became less anxious and more open to the world around her. "Tank opened my life back up," Kara said, adding that before adopting him, even a trip to the grocery store was terrifying and exhausting.
Pets for Patriots exists to give the gifts of fidelity, joy, and companionship to person and pet through honorable companion pet adoption for United States military veterans.
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