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Last-Chance Pets Find Patriot Companions

PHOTO: Last-chance pets are finding forever homes with our nation's heroes, with the help of some match-making from Pets for Patriots. Photo courtesy of Pets for Patrios.
PHOTO: Last-chance pets are finding forever homes with our nation's heroes, with the help of some match-making from Pets for Patriots. Photo courtesy of Pets for Patrios.
March 17, 2014

PHOENIX - Last-chance pets are finding forever homes with U.S. military veterans, with the help of some match-making. Beth Zimmerman's nonprofit organization, Pets for Patriots, is working with veterans to help them find, afford and adopt last-chance dogs and cats from shelters. According to Zimmerman, there are well-documented mental and physical benefits of pet ownership, and they've discovered some unexpected additional benefits in the program.

"We've had many veterans who have PTSD, depression, substance abuse, other types of psychological conditions either reduce, or in some cases, come off their medications entirely," she said.

Zimmerman said animals that are certain to die or face long-term homelessness in a shelter are singled out for the program, so they are usually older animals, and tend to be large, mixed-breed dogs. There are five participating Arizona shelters, including the Arizona Humane Society.

Zimmerman described the situation as a perfect match, but there are stumbling blocks - mainly money. Pets for Patriots helps veterans with animal adoption fees, veterinary care and sometimes food.

"We have overwhelming demand from communities across the country where we have not yet launched our program, and we'd love to be in as many of them as possible," she said.

Pets for Patriots arranges adoptions for active-duty military, as well as retired, and they accept cash donations online. Veterans also can go to the website to start the adoption process or find a participating shelter. It's at PetsForPatriots.org.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ