Chicago Tribune: Veterans who want a pet can adopt for free this Saturday
Veteran Renee Ridens said her miniature dachshund, Lizzie, is calming and cuddly.
Original article link: http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/pets/sc-fam-veterans-adopt-dog-cat-1108-story.html
Veteran Renee Ridens said her miniature dachshund, Lizzie, is calming and cuddly. (Renee Ridens)
By Alison Bowen Chicago Tribune
Many veterans say having a pet helps them. For people who want to avoid crowds, for example, pets provide a reason to go outside. Others simply appreciate the steady companionship.
Veterans who have thought about getting a dog or cat can stop by some area shelters Saturday to adopt a dog or cat for free.
For Veterans Day, the Pets for Vets event offering free adoption, organized by the office of Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, will include 14 shelters.
Any veteran who comes into a designated shelter can adopt a cat or a dog with the adoption fee waived. A list of participating shelters, including the Humane Society of Central Illinois and PAWS Chicago, is available on the comptroller’s website. The event is part of Comptroller’s Critters, which aims to give Illinoisans resources for pet adoption.
Businesses are chipping in too. Bentley’s Pet Stuff stores will offer a bag of dog or cat food for free if a veteran brings in adoption paperwork.
To adopt, veterans should bring military identification or discharge paperwork.
Experts say animals can help veterans who feel isolated or who are living with post-traumatic stress disorder.
At Rush University Medical Center, the Road Home Program for veterans includes pairing some with trained dogs, such as Sierra, a golden Labrador and mastiff mix, who helped ease 13 years of pain for veteran Don Harvill.
Lisa Senafe, founder of Bentley’s Pet Stuff, said she wanted to participate not only because she knows how her dog Bentley and cats Oregano and Spice help her, but because she has also seen pets help her sister and father, both veterans.
And many of her customers are veterans, she said.
“They have mentioned to us, in the past, how important their pet is, whether or not they’ve been in combat,” she said, “that they’re very therapeutic and calming.”
Her sister, Renee Ridens, who said she was in the Navy for six years, said her miniature dachshund Lizzie is a calm companion.
“When he cuddles with me, he’s very calming, very warm and snuggly,” she said.