When you think of those who embody the notions of loyalty and faithful service, you need look no farther than the pets in our lives and the military Veterans who’ve served our nation. These faithful friends and defenders of hearth and home deserve every act of kindness we can deliver. As admirers of dogs and vets, we believe both communities could benefit from some matchmaking.
In this spirit, The HSUS is pleased to join with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in announcing a strategic partnership to support Veterans, their well-being, and their social integration through the adoption of rescued animals and related interactions with companion animals. In this collaboration, we’ll work with the VA to promote and expand pet keeping for Veterans, encourage their engagement with local animal shelters and other humane organizations as adopters, patrons, and volunteers, and communicate the many benefits that companion animals bring to the lives of Veterans throughout the nation.
The VA’s core mission is its support for those who “have borne the battle.” The HSUS’s core mission is its support for the protection of all animals and the celebration of the human-animal bond. This new collaboration is a happy instance of mission convergence, and it’s a natural one, with some history behind it. At The HSUS, ever since our founding, we’ve been supported by military Veterans on our board, on our staff, and among our many varied volunteers. We’ve always recognized Veterans as natural allies. We’ve stood up for Veterans whenever they’ve stood up for animals, and we’ve celebrated them.
Now, we have a governmental partner and the opportunity to do even more of both. We’ll be reaching out to local humane societies and animal rescue groups and to Veterans and Veterans organizations, to encourage greater participation in the work of animal organizations at the local level and to strengthen the kinds of services that such organizations offer to our military men and women. We’ll work through all available channels to reach more Veterans with information about animal adoption and pet care, and to make them aware of service opportunities and other means of getting involved with humane work. Finally, we’ll work with the VA to enhance the quality of life for Veterans by promoting petkeeping and other healthy interactions with animals, fostering a greater understanding of the responsibilities of animal care, and greater social and community integration of Veterans.
Last month, we observed Veterans Day, a day on which we make it a priority to honor the men and women who have faithfully served in our nation’s armed forces. But the simple fact is that Americans should be mindful of Veterans’ loyalty and service every day. By committing to this partnership, we at The HSUS are also seeking to reaffirm our gratitude and our sense of obligation to the nation’s service members, past and present, and to enlist them in our own good cause of helping animals.