Many brave troops return home with scars – both seen and unseen – that make it difficult to transition back to civilian life. At the same time, we know millions of wonderful companion animals across the country wait in shelters for a loving home. The national organization, Pets for Vets®, is the bridge that brings them together.

Animal Friends is proud to be the official Pittsburgh Chapter of Pets for Vets® carefully matching returning military veterans dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other forms of unresolved stress with a trained, emotional support companion animal. Each pet is personally matched to the veteran based on personality and lifestyle. Once the appropriate animal is selected for the veteran, the pet spends 6 weeks in the home of our certified Pets for Vets® trainer, who teaches basic commands and other valuable behaviors needed to live with their new guardian. This can include becoming comfortable with wheelchairs and other accommodation devices or learning behaviors needed to help ease the stress related to PTSD.


There is absolutely no charge to the veteran for this service. Their fully trained new pet will also be current on vaccines, spayed or neutered and microchipped for additional identification. A customized welcome package of supplies, complete with a lifetime Allegheny County dog license is included. And, through our new Animal Wellness Center, participants in the Pet for Vets® program are also offered 50% off all vaccines through the life of their pet.

This program wouldn’t be possible without the Major Ben Follansbee Memorial Fund and the generous donors who support it. Major Benjamin Follansbee was a decorated airborne Ranger who subsequently earned his coveted Special Forces tab and became a Green Beret. He served on multiple deployments in both Iraq and Afghanistan and was not only highly dedicated and accomplished, but also humble, loyal and compassionate. Tragically, Major Follansbee took his own life in December 2012. His parents, Dr. and Mrs. William Follansbee, know firsthand the alarming statistics about suicide in the military and the challenges that many veterans face as they transition from military duty to civilian life. For that reason, the Follansbee family, in partnership with Animal Friends, established the Major Ben Follansbee Memorial Fund  to support the Pets for Vets® program and its important work to build healthy and supportive relationships between veterans and pets.  

 

Veterans Interested in Applying

If you are a Veteran who is interested in finding a match through our Pets for Vets ® program, contact Eric at Veterans@ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org or call 412.847.7030. You may also click here to fill out an application. Not quite ready to apply but want to find out more about the process? Contact Eric at the email or phone number above.

Animal Friends and Pets for Vets adoption processes and qualifications apply.

 

Trainers and Fosters Needed

If you love animals and want to help veterans – click here! We need experienced and compassionate people like you to train shelter pets to be specifically matched with the veterans in our Pets for Vets program.

More comfortable working alongside a trainer? Become a Pets for Vets foster home. Foster homes are needed for Pets for Vets canines in training. The Foster Guardian will provide daily shelter and care and work collaboratively with the Pets for Vets Trainer to help the canine adjust to a home environment and insure that goo manners and training protocols are reinforced.

 

How You Can Help

We are grateful for the establishment of the Major Ben Follansbee Memorial Fund that provides specific support to the Pets for Vets® program. Please donate today! Your gift could be lifesaving to a local veteran and homeless animal.

Don't forget! Our United Way code for our veterans adoptions programs is 12578787.

Pets for Vets Pittsburgh at Animal Friends is an official chapter of the national Pets for Vets program. For more about the national program, visit PetsForVets.com

Animal Friends

Caryl Gates Gluck Resource Center
562 Camp Horne Road | Pittsburgh, PA 15237
Phone: 412.847.7000 | Fax: 412.847.7001
speak@ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org
M-F 11 a.m.-7 p.m. | S/S 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Copyright 2015 Animal Friends Inc.