Humane Society Gives the Gift of Pets to Veterans
Our veterans serve our country to protect the ideals we hold dear and ensure the safety of our nation. Regardless of how someone might feel about the missions our military members are sent on, we can all agree that our vets deserve thanks. Anyone willing to put their life on the line for another deserves gratitude for what they’ve done. This is why it is so exciting to hear that the Humane Society is giving away free pets to vets in Wayne County Michigan.
This isn’t the first time that the Humane Society has done this. Last year in Washington they gave a total of 105 pets to veterans over the week surrounding Veterans Day. According to the people at the shelter, 55 pets were adopted in the first day—a record breaking 24 hours for the shelter. They aren’t the only ones who have participated in this program either. Humane Society shelters from Atlanta to Jacksonville to Pennsylvania have instated similar programs at their local shelters.
The natural question may be why every Humane Society hasn’t decided to participate in this program. The problem is that the adoption fee is used for important veterinarian services and maintaining proper care of the animals. This means if the vets aren’t paying these fees the money has to come from somewhere. In each of the counties that have participated in the free pets for vets programs donations were received from local businesses.
While I would love to see an effort to make this campaign national it’s important to acknowledge what it has already accomplished. Veterans often suffer from physical and psychological restraints after serving time. While these free pets aren’t trained to be service animals, the support they provide emotionally is invaluable. Cuddling with a pet releases the same “love chemical” as cuddling with a loved one. This chemical is responsible for a myriad of reactions the most significant of which being increased happiness and decreased physical pain.
Other benefits of having a pet include their ability to help release stress and the way they remind their parents to relax. When you have a cat playing with a string or a dog looking to wrestle with you, you break out of whatever thought pattern you were in or whatever stressful activity you were partaking in and instead allow for a moment for paly. It’s not all about cuddles and games though, pets also help to establish routine. This is something that veterans can struggle with after having their routines determined for them by their superior for so long. It’s also been found that vets should create links with family and their community upon returning to civilian life. This not only ensures that the vet has support but gives them a sense of belonging in their new life. A pet is great first step towards this type of community building.
In reality, you can’t count all the benefits that pets bring to veterans. There’s countless good things that come from it. This is what makes the Humane Society’s ongoing efforts to partner with donors to help waive adoption fees for pets wonderful and something I think we can all cheer for!