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Update: A second accuser emerges with misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavenaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: We take you to a state where more than 60,000 kids are chronically absent from school; and we'll let you know why the rural digital divide can be a two-fold problem.

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Last-Chance Pets Find Patriot Companions in VA

PHOTO: Last-chance pets are finding forever homes with our nation's heroes, with the help of some match-making. Courtesy of PetsForPatriots.org
PHOTO: Last-chance pets are finding forever homes with our nation's heroes, with the help of some match-making. Courtesy of PetsForPatriots.org
March 10, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. - Last-chance pets are finding forever homes with our nation's heroes, with the help of some match-making. A nonprofit organization, Pets for Patriots, works with U.S. military veterans in Virginia and several other states to help them find, afford and adopt last-chance dogs and cats from shelters.

Executive Director Beth Zimmerman pointed to well-documented mental and physical benefits of pet ownership, and said they have discovered some unintended additional benefits in the program, too.

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

Pets that are certain to die in a shelter or face long-term homelessness in a shelter are singled out for the program, she explained, so they are usually older animals and large, mixed-breed dogs.

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," she said, "and we'd love to be in as many of them possible."

Nine shelters in Virginia are participating in the program. Pets for Patriots arranges adoptions for active duty military, as well as retired - and the nonprofit accepts cash donations online. Veterans can go to the website to start the adoption process or find a participating shelter near them at www.PetsForPatriots.org.


Deborah Courson Smith/Diane Ronayne, Public News Service - VA