May 22, 2018, Reisterstown, MD – Roughly 20 veterans a day commit suicide nationwide, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs study. Pets for Patriots, a year-round program at Baltimore Humane Society, is working to help solve this problem and ease the transition of veterans and service members. The program is going on its fifth year and has the added benefit of helping to end animal homelessness.
This Memorial Day Baltimore Humane Society wants to take time to honor our service men and women and would like to remind the members of our military community to take advantage of its free pet adoption program open to all who are active, reserve, and retired.
The risk of suicide for veterans is 21 percent higher when compared to civilian adults according to the Department of Veterans Affairs study.
Roughly 65 percent of all veteran suicides in 2014 were for individuals 50 years or older, many of whom spent little or no time fighting in the most recent wars. These statistics emphasize the importance of helping our heroes from all decades. That is why Baltimore Humane Society has offered the Pets for Patriots year-round program for the past five years.
Companion pets help people in various ways and through many life stages. In addition to physical benefits including the lowering of cholesterol, blood pressure and triglyceride levels, emotional impacts include fewer feelings of loneliness and depression. “Ordinary” shelter dogs and cats help veterans through critical junctures in their active and post-duty lives, and is one of the founding principles of the Pets for Patriots companion pet adoption program for veterans and military personnel.
Shelter dogs and cats adopted through the Pets for Patriots program help with:
- Transitioning from service and re-entering civilian life
- Coping with a range of psychological conditions, including Post Traumatic Stress disorder
- Easing the pain of their absence on family members left behind during deployment
- Giving friendship to those lonely or alone
- Comforting the families of service members who are deployed away from home
The end goal of Pets for Patriots free adoption program — transform and enrich the lives of our service men and women while at the same time helping save at-risk shelter pets and end animal homelessness in the U.S. The Pets for Patriots program at Baltimore Humane Society always includes:
- Free pet adoptions at Baltimore Humane Society to all military (once approved by Pets for Patriots)
- 10% discount at the Baltimore Humane Society low cost Spay, Neuter, & Vaccine Clinic
- 10-20% discounted veterinary care for the life of the pet at participating vets
- $150 gift card upon proof of eligible adoption with Pets for Patriots to help with food and other essentials
- Free membership to Pets for Patriots for all service members. Individuals are welcome to take advantage of the Pets for Patriots programfrom all United States armed forces and at any stage of their careers.
Individuals must first apply through Pets for Patriots website at petsforpatriots.org and provide proof of their military service or honorable discharge. Approval typically takes one to two business days, after which they can visit Baltimore Humane Society for assistance in choosing their new best friend.
“It’s so important to us to help our local service members. We love offering free adoption through the Pets for Patriots program,” says Wendy Goldband, Baltimore Humane Society Director of Marketing & Public Relations. “Plus we see our dogs and cats get such wonderful homes. Everybody wins.”