Here at iHeartDogs, we believe three simple words: All Dogs Matter. That’s why we work so closely with Rescue Bank to donate food to so many animal shelters across the United States. While we stand firmly behind this belief, we also haven’t forgotten one of the most important parts of canine companionship – the people that love their dogs. Unfortunately, some of these people are left behind just like the shelter dogs are. So we set out on a mission to help one group of those in need: our military and veterans.
Together with Greater Good, we’ve developed Pets for Vets, a program that works with various organizations to support active military personnel, veterans, Military War Dogs, and Military Contractor Dogs. We have these simple goals in mind:
- Providing support and comfort to troops and Military War Dogs through shipping supplies to active duty dogs and their handlers
- Bringing Military War Dogs and Contractor Dogs home and reuniting them with their handlers or adopters
- Helping provide funding for active military to bring animals rescued from the field home to the United States
- Providing support for care and training for therapeutic dogs for veterans with physical and mental injuries from service
- Helping veterans with PTSD and other service related trauma find comfort through animal companionship
With our Pets for Vets line of bracelets, t-shirts and leashes and our dedicated fans, we’ve already made a huge impact. In December 2016, iHeartDogs and Greater Good rounded up $20,000 to award to these four amazing organizations that serve our human and canine military and veterans.
#1 – Mission K9 Rescue
Mission K9 Rescue is committed to each and every retired Military War Dog and Military Contractor Dog. They help with fostering, the adoption process and transportation to their forever homes. These working dogs have served our country and deserve a comfortable retirement. One such dog was Robbie, a retired Contract Working Dog who has kept our soldiers safe in many theaters of war. These funds went to pay for critical care for Robbie’s epilepsy. Because of his illness, Robbie had a Grand Mal Seizure and required several MRIs as well as a spinal tap and ongoing care. Thanks to the grant, Robbie is doing well after receiving life-saving care!
#2 – Puppy Rescue Mission
Puppy Rescue Mission’s (PRM) goal is to fundraise and assist in fostering, rescuing and re-homing, especially for those pets bonded with soldiers that have been deployed to war zones. PRM helps bring home stray dogs found in war zones, helping to fundraise, transport and provide veterinary care for animals that are coming to the United States after being adopted by soldiers overseas.
#3 – Pets for Vets
Pets for Vets is dedicated to serving shelter dogs in need of homes and returning veterans who need a companion. Studies have shown that pets can help ease emotional and physical stress, something our veterans and active military personnel are faced with regularly. In fact, many of the dogs adopted through Pets for Vets have helped our soldiers recover into happy, healthy lives as civilians again.
One such match is veteran Aldaberto Valencia and his new pet Ranger. Valencia served six years in the 4th Army Regiment and was stationed in Korea, among other locations. He received many medals and commendations for his service. He attended Arizona State University and received B.S. and Master Degrees. He now teaches sixth grade in a Mesa, AZ elementary school. Both Ranger and Aldaberto are delighted to have found each other. Ranger has found his perfect forever home and Aldaberto has a loyal companion whose bond will help ease the suffering many of our troops know when they return home from overseas.
Another pairing was that of George, a Marine Corporal who was looking for a companion dog to help with his emotional injuries sustained during his time in Iraq. George was matched with Trinity, a lab mix. From the first introduction, there was love all around. Trinity knew she had a purpose—first she had been rescued, and now she is focused on “rescuing” George. These two were made for each other. An amazing match indeed!
#4 – Patriot PAWS Service Dogs
Patriot PAWS Service Dogs is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to provide trained service dogs at no cost to disabled veterans. These can be physical disabilities, mobility difficulties and even emotional disabilities such as PTSD. The organization intends to build partnerships with state and community organizations to help develop and support this goal.
We’re happy to be a part of such an incredible cause for our human and canine military veterans. They need us as much as we need them and their care is often overlooked by our distracted civilians. Here at iHeartDogs, we are ready to take on this program head-on and continue to increase and provide donations for many years to come.