4 dead, 16 wounded in Fort Hood shooting – Our sympathy goes out to all the families. Please express your gratitude to the men and women in uniform, past and present, for their dedication, commitment and service to our country. Animal Fair’s sniffed out meaningful ways for pet parents to paint the town Red, White and Blue in honor of the service members who protect our freedoms everyday.
Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan often have a difficult time readjusting to “normal” civilian life after facing the realities of war. Many are diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or related conditions, which can put a strain on their relationships with family members and friends, who find it hard to communicate with them. One organization is providing veterans with support to cope with their symptoms and reduce their anxiety. Companions for Heroes (C4H), founded in 2009, pairs veterans being treated at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center with companion animals from the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL). C4H provides transports veterans to WARL to pick out their furry companions and transports the pet to the veteran’s home free of charge after the veteran leaves Walter Reed. These animals provide the veterans with constant companionship – a friend who will always listen without judgment and love them no matter what.
David Sharpe founded C4H after experiencing first-hand how the unconditional love of his dog Cheyenne helped him overcome his battles with PTSD. Sharpe stated his relationship with Cheyenne lifted ‘a 10,000- pound weight’ off his chest and helped him achieve a better attitude and behavior. He made it his mission to share his experience with other veterans, firefighters, police officers, first responders and patients suffering from PTSD or similar symptoms. Sharpe said he was inspired to “save our homeless animals and saw the therapeutic potential of the unique bond of love, comfort, and support that could aid both the veteran and homeless pet.”
Pet parents who would like to share the unconditional love of pets with these vets can support Companions for Heroes by providing donations that will provide veterans with furry companions and the equipment needed to care for them at no cost.
For pet parents who know veterans living in their communities, The Real Warriors Campaign, suggests some personal ways to show your appreciation:
- Team up with your pooch and find meaningful ways you can show your gratitude like offering to rake their leaves, wash their cars or bring them dinner or dessert.
- Send an them an e-card with The Real Warriors Campaign or American Legion thanking them for all they do
- Send a care package, letter or email to a service member you to know. Visit the U.S. Postal Service’s website for guidelines on sending mail to deployed service members.
Animal Fair salutes our men and women in uniform for their service and encourages pet parents and their furry friends to find creative ways to give back and support our service members!