Pets for Patriots knows all about the joys of loving a dog. In fact, they made a game-changing connection between two seemingly disparate communities: rescue animals and veterans. By bringing the two together, they’re saving lives and offering a fresh start to both dogs and their human companions.
Pets for Patriots connects veterans with last-chance shelter dogs and enables them to save animals’ lives through adoption.
The organization started in 2009 when founder Beth Zimmerman had a realization. “There are two populations with complimentary needs,” Beth tells Rover.com. “Animals in desperate need of a loving home, and veterans who, for a variety of life circumstances, would benefit from a new pet friend.”
She launched Pets for Patriots to make that connection between veterans and animals in need of love and care.
“Dogs and cats—companion animals—are natural healers,” Beth explains. “This is particularly true for people who are coping with the multiple challenges of military and post-military life.
“Think of PTSD, depression, chronic loneliness, or wanting the peace of mind when deployed to know one’s family is comforted by a trusted companion.”
Pets for Patriots connects veterans with animals in need of care to build a relationship that’s healthy for both parties. The power of that newfound companionship can have a profound impact:
“Many veterans in our program who are coping with severe psychological circumstances tell us that their pets actually give them a reason to live, a purpose for getting up every day and re-establishing a routine, reconnecting with other people in a healthy way and helping to break the cycle of debilitating isolation,” Beth explains. With a trusted dog offering unconditional love and affection—a non-judgmental partner who’s on their side—their quality of life can be improved exponentially.
But it’s not just a benefit for humans. Pets for Patriots improves the lives of both people and pets. Veterans receive a loving companion and strengthen their support network, while animals receive a wonderful home and a better life.
“These animals,” Beth says, “who were homeless and unwanted through no fault of their own, really do help veterans transition from military to civilian life—and cope with the inevitable life challenges of those long since separated from service.”
Beth and her team at Pets for Patriots work with hundreds of adoption partners throughout various communities to make the best match between veterans and pets.
From shelters to rescues, humane societies to municipal animal controls, they work alongside professionals in the pet and adoption industries to place the right pets with the perfect people, relying on experts to help facilitate connections.
Asked about Pets for Patriots’ greatest achievements, Beth says, “It’s the lives we save every day through companion pet adoption for United States military veterans. Nothing comes close!”
Since starting out, Pets for Patriots has facilitated over 650 adoptions. Each adoption comes with a beautiful and unique story of the lives touched by this new companionship: the veteran suffering from depression who finds support from a shelter dog; the four-legged friend who offers solace to an officer coping with PTSD.
There are many more stories to hear. Learn more about the real people and pets transformed through the work done by Pets for Patriots on their blog—and tell us which stories inspire you in the comments!
Want to become a part of this community? There are many ways to contribute—whether as a volunteer, by offering financial support, or by sharing this post to get the word out.