Reporting for duty: how companion pets help military veterans

Dog at soldiers feet

Companion pets help people, military veterans included, in various ways and through many life stages. Among well-established physical benefits are lower cholesterol, blood pressure and triglyceride levels, while emotional impacts include fewer feelings of loneliness and depression. While not every circumstance is unique to military service, there are distinct junctures in a veteran's life when a companion pet might be just what the doctor ordered: Transitioning from service to civilian life Upon separating from service, many veterans feel lost without the structure, discipline and routine … [Read more...]

Navy sailor beats the blues with help of adult dog

Brandon and Maximus

They say if you want a best friend in politics, get a dog. One Navy sailor found the same to be true, with a twist: he saved an adult dog and, in the process, changed both of their lives forever. A dream and a dog Virginia Beach, Virginia is now where Brandon calls home while serving as a proud United States Navy Sailor stationed at Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval station. In March, 2011 Brandon set sail from his original hometown of Marion, Ohio to attend basic training at the U. S. Navy Great Lakes Training Command about 30 miles north of Chicago, Illinois, and then … [Read more...]

How to make sure your pet is safe when you deploy

Woman and dog

You entrust a friend to make sure that your pet is safe and sound while you deploy, only to discover upon your return that your beloved Fluffy or Fido has been surrendered to a shelter, sold or given away. Because "friends" like this exist, military pet parents have a unique responsibility to make proper, legally binding arrangements to assure the health and safety of their pets - and to have confidence that their four-legged family members will be there when they return from deployment. Deployment boarding There are reputable organizations whose sole focus is providing short- and long-term … [Read more...]

Adopted Retriever mix fetches a Navy nurse

Kaitlin and Cooper

It was an adopted adult Retriever mix with "puppy dog" eyes that helped one Navy nurse feel more at home with her new life in the military. Kaitlin serves in the Navy out of Portsmouth, Virginia and is the proud "mom" of honorably adopted Cooper, an enthusiastic and loving six year-old Retriever mix. A recent college graduate, Kaitlin joined the Navy after completing her schooling in May of 2012. She currently works as a nurse at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth and “loves every minute of it.” While she finds it hard to think of one specific event as her most memorable in the military … [Read more...]

Each suffering a loss, Navy man and shelter dog find each other

Chris and Sophie

Chris currently serves in the Navy and tells how his recent Pets for Patriots adoption of a surrendered shelter dog changed his life after suffering the loss of his beloved senior dog. He is writing to our executive director, Beth Zimmerman. Hi Beth,  Here is our picture from the day I picked Sophie up.  My first dog, Samantha, was with me for 12 years. I adopted her as an Ensign and she's been with me no matter where I was stationed in the world. She was in Norfolk with me for 9 years, then in San Diego for one-and-a-half years, one year in Bahrain, six months in Monterey, and then 15 … [Read more...]

OEF/OIF veterans with PTSD and companion pets needed for study

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 11.16.12 AM

A study through Walden University is looking for OEF/OIF veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who are willing to participate in a study of the human-animal bond. Pets for Patriots is honored to assist in this effort as part of our mission to foster a bond between at-risk shelter animals and United States military veterans. Our sole involvement is helping to make people aware of this study.  Study goals The purpose of the study is to explore the experiences of the human-animal bond in a sample of U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom military members with … [Read more...]

The PCS-ing cat and dog: part 2

PCS-ing cat and dog part 2

By Dr. Rebecca Jackson, DVM  In the previous post about the PCS-ing cat and dog, we looked at what all pets need to successfully relocate overseas. In this one, we will look at what only some pets will need.  Some pets will need: A FAVN blood test An import form (varies by country) Flea and tick preventative applied at the time of health certification Dewormer given at the time of health certification FAVN blood test Some countries require your pet have a FAVN blood test prior to entry to check their rabies antibody levels. Now here is the tricky part: each country has different … [Read more...]

The PCS-ing cat and dog: part 1

PCS and your pet part 1

By Dr. Rebecca Jackson, DVM When a United States Armed Forces service member receives a Permanent Change of Station order, there also comes an unwritten list of “things to do prior to moving.” There is outprocessing, organizing the move, preparing the family, saying your good-byes … the list goes on and on. And, of course, don’t forget your pets!  These days, the regulations involved in moving or traveling with the family pet overseas are becoming more complex. Relocating can be incredibly stressful for both you and your pet, but don’t worry: this article and its sequel will help you … [Read more...]

The nose knows: how detector dogs work

ag sniffing beagle

It's all in the nose for detector dogs, but how they work and why they're so good at it are essential to the military, transportation and other sectors that must defend against unseen threats. Dogs, like humans, have an areas of the brain that processes all kinds of sensory input - sights, sounds, smells - but their noses are longer and more spacious, making them masters at inhaling odors. They have between 20 and 40 times more odor receptors in their snouts than people, which means that in most cases they can detect an odor at much lower concentrations than humans.  Detection dogs, … [Read more...]

Pets for Patriots 9/11 Challenge

Screen Shot 2012-09-09 at 3.49.57 PM

Pets for Patriots is laying down the gauntlet with our first 9/11 Challenge: for 2,000 people to pledge $11 a month to support our troops and the influx of post-9/11 veterans entering our charitable program. More 9/11 veterans need a four-legged buddy Mario is a three-tour Iraq war veteran. After graduating high school in the wake of September 11th, he joined the Army because, in his own words, "I definitely wanted to do something and be a part of the military." During his third tour, he nearly died and was medically retired. Lost and depressed, Mario turned to Pets for Patriots for help … [Read more...]