It’s National Pets for Veterans Day on October 21st. The day was established in 2009, by Clarissa Black, with the goal of raising awareness about the benefits that pets can provide to veterans including companionship, emotional support, and therapy. Clarissa black is an animal behaviorist and trainer looking to help veterans with issues related to their service. There are many different kinds of animals that make good pets for veterans.
Returning to civilian life after serving in the military may be very difficult for veterans. An estimated one in five veterans suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and almost two-thirds of those do not receive any treatment. Many veterans return home with the invisible scars of mental and emotional trauma.
There are many animals in shelters who need homes, having been abandoned or abused by their previous owners. Most of these animals have also experienced trauma. These animals can often provide unconditional love and support to veterans in a way that other humans cannot. The veterans benefit from emotional connection and support and the animals benefit by finding a forever loving home and companionship with a new owner.
The service animals are taught to get the attention of the person when they’re in distress. The dog may lick them, nudge them, or the cat will lay on them. Dogs often pull their owner over to a safe place when they see a stranger that might be a threat. Dogs can also help with balance problems and aid in recovering from injury. Dogs also take care of their owners by making sure they take their medications and have enough food. All animals can help with depression and anxiety by providing companionship, amusement, distraction, and plenty of cuddles.
Three ways pets improve life for veterans
Pets have been proven to decrease depression and anxiety, as well as provide companionship for those who are living alone. The presence of a pet can also reduce nightmares and increase sleep quality. Pets can be trained as service animals for those with disabilities to increase their independence. In the case of veterans, pets often provide stability and unconditional love through the process of healing from trauma and combat stress.
- Getting Out: Caring for your pet is a very soothing activity. It also encourages owners to be active. To walk or exercise them and to keep them entertained. It also means that veterans have to enter society for supplies; food, litter, bedding, toys. Getting out of the house for exercise or shopping for essentials is a great way to improve mood and help fight depression and feelings of isolation.
- Physical comfort: There is something immensely relaxing about cuddling your pet. Whether it’s stroking them or just enjoying their company there is no better shoulder to cry on than a furry one. Pets can only listen. Having someone to talk to who won’t judge and that enjoys affection is a great way to feel grounded and connected.
- Protection: Anxiety and PTSD are both very common in veterans, having a pet (Especially a big dog!) to protect you from people, home invaders, burglars or even just to make them feel safer out and about.
- Service Dogs: Some organisations; such as Service Dogs UK train their dogs to respond to PTSD episodes and symptoms and help bring their humans back to a relaxed state.
How to raise awareness for pets for veterans through your business
- Run an event – a sponsored dog walk is a fantastic way to raise money for the cause and also to raise awareness of your business.
- Pinterest – You can create boards about pets for veterans, share pins of resources about ways you can help, and post pictures of positive changes that pets are making to veterans’ lives!
- Facebook – You can share the fundraiser for veterans in a community group or event.
- Interview a veteran about how having a pet has improved their life and post their response on your website/blog with the hashtag.
- Offer a discount or special deal for veterans on a few of your products. Or add a donation at checkout that goes to a relevant charity.
Pets provide stability and unconditional love through the process of healing from trauma and combat stress. They can help with depression and anxiety by providing companionship, amusement, distraction, or plenty of cuddles. Pets also have been proven to decrease depression and anxiety as well as provide companionship for those who are living alone. Help raise awareness for veterans by running an event, sharing pins on Pinterest, posting on Facebook about your fundraiser, interviewing a veteran about pets with the hashtag, or offering discounts to veterans.
National Pets for Veterans Day
How pets can help heal our heros