During the summer of 2015, I joined an amazing organization. Pets for Vets pairs veterans with shelter animals to help them cope with the difficulties of day-to-day life after leaving their term of service. Often these folks come home with physical and mental challenges that make living life back home difficult, sometimes lonely and often leave them feeling isolated. While the pets (dogs, cats, rabbits and birds) provided by Pets for Vets are not service animals, they can still provide a high degree of stability and comfort to people struggling to just get along.
The goal of Pets for Vets is to help heal the emotional wounds of military veterans by pairing them with a shelter animal that is specially selected to match that individual’s personality. As a professional trainer, I foster the selected dog in my home for 4-6 weeks ensuring the dog is house and crate trained and can meet the requirements outlined in the AKC Good Citizen Exam. This means the dog will sit, stay, come when called, walk nicely on a leash and greet new people appropriately. The CGC is the gold standard of basic obedience and is a measure of the dog’s ability to follow basic commands.
The other half of the equation is saving a shelter dog giving him or her a new lease on life. Dogs are selected for their temperament, and trainability with the goal being to find dogs that are between the ages of 2 and 5, are calm and very oriented to people and human attention.
Many studies have been done concerning the healing power of the human-dog bond and pairing needy dogs with veterans returning from conflict gives us the opportunity to help two deserving groups.
If you’d like to learn more about Pets for Vets, please visit their website at www.petsforvets.com.
The chapter I train for is the Central Indiana group and we are always looking for a few good volunteers as well as donations. It takes about $1500 to place each dog, so individuals and businesses can sponsor a dog and veteran match. You can also like us on Facebook by clicking this link. https://www.facebook.com/petsforvetsindy/