There’s no better relationship than the one between man and dog and one veteran nonprofit understands that better than most. Pets for Vets, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, pairs rescue dogs with veterans in search of a service dog or companion.
Founded by animal trainer Clarissa Black in 2009, Pets for Vets aims to improve the lives of both dogs and veterans by creating a “lifetime match.”
“Our goal is to give back to the brave servicemen and women who have given everything to our country, while finding homes for deserving shelter pets. By matching the right pet with the right Veteran, everyone wins! Shelter animals receive a second chance at life and Veterans receive a second chance at health and happiness,” says the organization’s website.
Pets for Vets rescues dogs from shelters all across the country, trains or retrains them to be service animals or companions, and then pairs the animal with a veteran in need.
“When a Veteran is matched with the right pet, both lives change for the better,” the website says. “The Veteran saves the animal and welcomes him/her into a loving home. The pet provides the Veteran with unconditional love and support, easing stress, depression, loneliness, and anxiety. Together, they share a Super Bond™ that provides them both with a whole new ‘leash’ on life.”
Companion or service animals help vets manage:
- And more
Black got the idea to create the nonprofit while visiting a Veterans Affairs facility in California with her dog Bear, a malamute mix.
“Many of the veterans’ faces would light up as they interacted with Bear,” she told American Lifestyle Magazine. “A few veterans even asked if they could take him home. In that moment, I wondered why therapy is only one hour, once a week, inside the walls of the VA. My hope was that having a trained companion animal on a permanent basis could be life changing. I wanted this to be my way to say thank you to those who had given so much for our country.”
Black is full of stories about how dogs and other pets have transformed the lives of veterans who have had stress, anxiety and social disorders.
The, she says, is the ultimate goal of Pets for Vets. For more information, visit petsforvets.com