Introducing: Animal Friends for Veterans

Founded in 1943 as an avenue of support for soldiers leaving for World War II who had no place to safely leave their beloved companion animals, Animal Friends has a longstanding commitment to the brave individuals serving in our Armed Forces. Many troops return home with scars – both seen and unseen – that make it difficult to transition back to civilian life. These stresses come in many forms.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are the best known, but there are many others including family and relationship traumas, financial pressures, depression and countless others. As a result, data indicate that every day 22 veterans or active duty soldiers commit suicide … nearly one every hour.

Recognizing that we are in a position to help, Animal Friends is excited to unveil our new comprehensive shelter program for veterans and their pets.

There are over 190,000 military veterans in the Pittsburgh regional area alone, and Animal Friends has the ability, experience and resources to support them in a variety of ways beyond the adoption of a companion animal. Specifically, at low or no cost.

  • Matchmaking services – a customized match and underwritten adoption of a dog, cat or rabbit as a companion animal, including any necessary services to help the adopter bond with and care for their new companion. 
  • Pet food bank access for dogs, cats and rabbits living with veterans in need.
  • Veterinary wellness services – 20% discount for all wellness services and vaccines for any dogs and cats living with veterans in need. *
  • Spay and neuter packages – 10% discount for any cat or any pit bull living with a veteran in need (including outdoor cats in the community). City of Pittsburgh residents may be eligible for a free spay/neuter surgery through a special application process.
  • Behavior consultation and training classes for already owned or recently adopted dogs, cats and rabbits.
  • Emergency animal boarding for veterans and their dog, cat or rabbit in a crisis situation.

*Income qualification is required.

Animal Friends for Veterans is currently funded by the Major Ben E. Follansbee Memorial Fund, named for a highly decorated Airborne Ranger who tragically took his own life in 2012.

To make a donation to this program, visit or contact our Development team at 412.847.7051 or

For questions about the program, please reach out to our Senior Director of Impact & Programs, Ann Ensminger, at 412.847.7091 or

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