What is a service animal?

Service dog

At Pets for Patriots, we get calls from service members, veterans and their caregivers requesting our help to secure service dogs, usually for PTSD. But when we ask if the individual would be better served by a well-mannered companion dog or cat, we're always asked, "What's the difference?" We're so glad you asked. First, a little context. According to the Defense Department, more than 46,000 U.S. military personnel have been wounded in action in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars since March, 2003. The incidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), depression … [Read more...]

Military suicide: one death is too many

Depressed soldier

The U.S. military recognizes September as Suicide Prevention Month to boost awareness of warning signs and knowledge of how to help those in crisis. One service member commits suicide every two days and one attempts suicide every two hours. On average, 18 veterans per day take their own lives. Nearly one thousand former soldiers receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs attempt suicide every month. 2 Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death among Americans and the second leading cause of death in the military.  The statistics are shocking, but research shows that public … [Read more...]

Almost homeless WWII veteran needs help

Harold Utsler

Harold Utsler is a WWII veteran on the verge of being homeless after being stranded by his family at a Texas airport. A deservedly proud man, at 90 years old Harold is asking for help. When Pets for Patriots first posted news of Harold's predicament in early August, many people expressed astonishment that an elderly veteran would be facing homelessness. The Veterans' Administration estimates that on any given night, 107,000 veterans are homeless and another 1.5 million are at risk due to a variety of factors, such as lack of support networks, poverty or poor living conditions. Inevitably, … [Read more...]

About military working dog adoptions

MWD in Iraq

Our recent post about Rocky, a retired, disabled military working dog who was saved by our appeal, exposed a lot of misconceptions about the fate of military working dogs once they're retired from service. Most of these animals are eligible for adoption and are placed into appropriate and loving homes. Until recently, it was legal and common practice to abandon or put down military working dogs, known as MWDs, at the end of their useful service. Historically viewed as "surplus equipment," they weren't seen as having value beyond the military purpose for which they were trained. That mindset … [Read more...]

Luke and Astro looking for love

Best friends forever

Luke and Astro are two shelter dogs hoping to find a love connection with a military veteran. While they long for their forever home, they're being cared for by Quincy Animal Shelter, just south of Boston, and are eligible for an ongoing 20% discount off veterinary care if adopted by a member of our charitable program.   Luke is a young Boxer/Pit Bull mix who loves to play fetch and lead an active lifestyle. If you like to go jogging or take long walks - or even really long walks! - he just might be the perfect companion for you. He would do well in a household with kids over 16 years … [Read more...]

Retired disabled military dog Rocky dies if not adopted; UPDATE: Rocky is saved!

Give now to help others last chance pets like Rocky

                    Pets for Patriots is a small charity, but we were able to mobilize 42,393 people* to save Rocky, a three-tour Iraq war canine veteran (*as of 8:15pm ET 8/18/11). Your donations are needed to save more pets like Rocky: dogs and cats who will never become an overnight internet sensation or have major news media vying to tell their tale. These "last chance" pets - adult and other at-risk shelter dogs and cats - face near-certain death if not adopted. We connect them to veterans and service members who need a new pet … [Read more...]

Dogs deliver therapy to PTSD/TBI veteran

My pit bull puppies

A disabled Army veteran coping with PTSD and TBI shares her story about how dogs have changed his life. He would like to see the Veterans Administration provide benefits to support pets adopted by veterans for their own self therapy. His story speaks to the heart of what we do at Pets for Patriots in connecting last-chance pets with veterans. Many of our adopters talk about being imperfect or misunderstood, and feel a kinship with unwanted animals that are often described in similar terms. We believe this strong identification with the predicament of an "unwanted" animal is what accounts for … [Read more...]

Shelter dog meets Hall of Fame rocker

Picture of Dennis Dunaway and Barley

This is the unlikely tale of a legendary Hall of Fame rocker and a decidedly less famous, but equally disarming, shelter dog named Barley. Cindy and Dennis Dunaway are best known for their work with the original Alice Cooper Band. Cindy created their costumes, which trail-blazed the glam rock style, while Dennis played bass and helped pen some of rock’s biggest hits, such as “School’s Out.” Dennis, along with the other members of the original Alice Cooper group, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March. But we’re not here to discuss glitter and gold records. We’re here to … [Read more...]

Big changes at Pets for Patriots

Wet Nose Blog

I realize that you haven't heard from me in a while, and are probably wondering about all the great things that are happening at Pets for Patriots. Well, that's about to change. Starting next week, you'll receive a weekly e-newsletter with program updates and real-life stories of pets and veterans whose lives are transformed through our honorable pet adoption program. Til then, a quick update: OUR VERY FIRST PARTY!In late May, we held our inaugural Be A Pet's Hero fundraiser in Washington, DC. The event was a great success, thanks in large part to the tremendous work of an all-volunteer, … [Read more...]

Rescued dog rescues Vietnam veteran with PTSD

Picture of Bob and rescued dog Trust

Robert (Bob) Quimby didn't know anything about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He didn't know he was affected by what he had seen in Vietnam at all - until one day his boss asked about his combat experiences: "I walked back to my desk and had my first flashback because that wall that had been built up broke down." In 1987, after 13 years working at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Bob resigned and the VA labeled him unemployable. Bob - a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient - says he cried the first time he heard that word. Bob was diagnosed with PTSD in 1989 and has lived … [Read more...]

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