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Pets for Veterans

On Veterans Day we honor veterans who have served in all wars, especially those veterans who are living amongst us now. It is also a good day to consider the emotional needs of veterans returning to civilian life and the possibilities of how animals can help them with regaining a structure to their day, as well as giving them purpose and companionship as they reintegrate back home.

An estimated one in five veterans suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and “two-thirds do not receive any treatment,” according to AFELA. Animals have historically been known to have a positive effect on easing human suffering, and science has found that there are reasons why this mutually benefitting relationship has continued to grow.

Pets help us feel loved because interacting with our pets is known to increase dopamine, serotonin, and oxycontin levels in our bodies, which are the “feel good” hormones. It is also known that human interaction with animals decreases the stress-related hormone, cortisol, and can also lower blood pressure. Funded research studies conducted over the past 10 years are continuing to look into the difference that a variety of animal species make to decrease loneliness and boost moods, along with other positive effects. Overall, animals are known stress reducers so it would only make sense that they are a great fit for aiding veterans in their integration back into civilian life and working through the difficulties of that transition.

If you know a vet that may need or want companionship, contact Paws 4 Liberty, an organization in South Florida who places services dogs for Veterans.

"With a primary focus on veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), Paws 4 Liberty carefully screens, trains, and matches service dogs with qualifying veterans at no cost to the recipient within the Palm Beach County and surrounding areas. While some service dog organizations have their own breeding program, Paws 4 Liberty does not breed dogs. All the organization’s service dogs come from local animal shelters, rescue groups or are donated to the organization.

The organization works with veterans from all wars, but currently there is a critical need for service dogs for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS)."

Also check out this link on 5 Benefits of Pets for Veterans.

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