Lifestyle & Human Interest

Alabama Nonprofits Create New Program to Match Military Veterans with Adoptable Pets at No Charge


People who work in rescue know it can be hard to find the right situation for a needy, homeless pet, but when the right match comes along, it brings much joy to both the pet and the new owner.

People who work with military veterans know that reintegrating into society often is difficult, and veterans often are overlooked. Companion animals are a great way to keep them involved and give them a sense of community.

Two nonprofit organizations in Alabama devoted to helping both of these groups have come together to offer an experimental project in which veterans will be paired with a dog or cat companion at no cost to the veterans.

According to its Facebook page, the first nonprofit, Vettes 4 Vets, “plans, organizes, and oversees one or more fundraising events annually to help our veterans,” and the “event proceeds are distributed to select individuals and/or non-profit organizations and/or entities in good standing, who help Veterans, current military personnel, and/or their family members in distress and/or need or a related cause.”

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This year the group has pledged as much as $1,000 to get homeless pets into veteran homes by partnering with the nonprofit organization Two by Two Rescue.

The initial idea for the partnership was spawned by Mark Davis, who founded Vettes 4 Vets and wanted to help struggling veterans by providing them with a free adoption service, according to the Hoover Sun.

The cost of adopting a pet is not always prohibitive, but providing a tailored process specifically for veterans and waiving the fees is a way to give back to those who already have given so much.

Sonya King, founder of Two by Two Rescue, told the Sun that before being adopted, each dog or cat needs to be brought up-to-date on vaccinations, get neutered or spayed and then be vetted, which costs about $300 per animal.

In the past, the rescue has offered steeply discounted or waived adoption fees to veterans interested in adding a pet to their lives, but Two by Two is happy to have a formal partnership with another group whose focus is helping veterans and can spread the word about their new program.

“For us, it’s a trial,” said Gary Nelson, chairman of the board for Vettes 4 Vets.

The $1,000 donation is just a start if all goes well, and the two nonprofits have agreed to start by preparing eight pets for their veterans program this year.

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While the pets that Two by Two Rescue has to offer veterans are primarily companions or emotional support animals, the rescue also has teamed with Service Dogsz, a Denver-based company that trains dogs to aid veterans suffering from PTSD, and hopes to send some dogs over for training in the future.

If these efforts go well, all groups have fundraising in their futures. Interested veterans are welcome to apply, and Davis said “there are no stringent criteria to be met.”

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