While we usually see soldiers as a symbol of strength and bravery, they, too, experience weaknesses from time to time. A large number of veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) immediately after their deployment. They find it hard to reintegrate back to civilian life and need all the support and encouragement they could get.
That was why to ease their transition back to a normal life, the Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation decided to initiate a program called Pets and Vets. It aimed to pair a veteran with a fitting rescue dog who would serve as their service canine.
The organization would be responsible for the training and pairing, all without charging any cent! Pets and Vets was launched back in 2011, and it is safe to say that it is indeed a success until today. The program not only saved the lives of rescues suffering in crowded shelters, but it also became a stepping stone for veterans who retired from the service.
The service dogs are proven to help their handlers with anxiety, depression, and panic. They also serve as excellent companions, making the veterans’ day to day lives as normal as possible. During the training, these puppies learn how to recognize PTSD signs, so every time their owners experience intense emotions, they are ready to offer comfort.
There are also classes and seminars that the Animal Rescue Foundation offers to both the veterans and their canines. These would teach them the basics of their new partnership and help them move forward with their newfound friend. There are already dozens of canine graduates from the program who are doing a job well done with their owners.
Hopefully, the organization could accommodate more dog candidates in the future. Watch one of the Pets for Vets graduates and his story here.
"Finnegan, because of you, Ethan is able to get back in the world … and for that I will be forever grateful." –Suzi, wife of Ethan (Pets and Vets graduate)
— ARF (@ARFtweets) October 7, 2019
Courtesy of @ARFtweets