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Pets for Patriots > A "How To" for Veterans

Stephanie and Fly > Photo Credit Below
Our four legged friends can be the best when we face the tough times: Sharing our time, greeting us at the door, telling us when we need to pet them, finding us when we need to “snuggle”, a warm blanket while watching March Madness, taking walks in the woods, chasing squirrels while we laugh, playing “catch”, sitting on our feet when they know we are deep in thought and so much more!

So it was with eager anticipation that I waited to talk with Beth Zimmerman, the founder of Pets for Patriots! Are you a veteran or active duty service member? Do you need some loyal four legged companionship? Do you love animals? Beth gave me a “How To” on saving the life of an animal that is homeless and needs you as much as you need it!


She had a hot spot in her heart for the veteran community and the animals waiting for someone to love them. Pets for Patriots kicked off in 2010 with its first placement of an animal with a veteran. It has become a nation wide network of veteran patriots and partner providers of pets. Acting as a connection between the veteran community of all ages (they do have WW2 veteran adopters) and the local animal caregivers, Pets for Patriots does not accept donor animals but refers veterans to the right local animal welfare organizations.

How to Adopt a Pet with Pets for Patriots

1) Visit their website to find out how to qualify! You will need some documentation for your veteran status (please no third party applications).

2) Click on Patriots > to begin the adoption > to see if you qualify to join their honorable companion pet adoption program and save an animal that desperately needs a home.

Why should you use Pets for Patriots? 

Ronald and Cocoa > Photo Credit Below
Zimmerman applauded all efforts to connect veterans with companion and service animals but cited three differences that make Pets for Patriots unique.

First, they are open to all veterans! Just as I mentioned earlier, they have WW2 veterans who have adopted a pet and more than 370 have followed in their footsteps to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Second, they focus on surrender prevention (returning a pet) by focusing on the primary reasons animals are surrendered: long-term cost of care. While animals are easily loved, the long haul includes caring for them that takes effort and resources. Their shelter partners offer various adoption specials, often an adoption fee discount, while their veterinary partners offer ongoing discounted health care. Pets for Patriots kicks in with a $150 gift card contribution from their Veterans' Pet Food Bank program to help get the veteran and pet off on the right foot!

Third, Pets for Patriots aims to help animals that will be killed. Two years old or older animals, disabled, big (greater than 40 pounds) are some examples of needy animals they target. Many veterans seeking companion animals connect with these animals who need help. Disabled veterans and disabled animals seem to have a natural bond.

She did emphasize that while they provide companion animals they can provide a referral service for service animals if needed. Do you know a military friendly veterinarian or local shelter? Please ask them to partner with Pets for Patriots! They can use the same website to qualify and join the team. They are encouraged to provide veteran discounts to ease the challenge of adoption expenses for the life of the animal.
Mark and Callie > Photo Credit Below

How to Qualify as Veterinarian or Shelter 

Again, visit the Pets for Patriots website but choose the Veterinarian or Shelter header to find out how to get started! Non profit is a key word for shelters and recognizing the veterans’ service with a gift (Patriot Special) is part of the process. Advantages for the partners include free profile on Pets for Patriots website (they build it), connecting with the veteran community, demonstrating your veteran support to the civilian community, widget for your website, cross marketing and new customers!

How Can You Help? 

Our discussion focused on the veteran piece of this effort but Beth did mention that “anybody can make a difference” and “how can I change lives” by supporting Pets for Patriots with a small gift via their website. As a disabled veteran who is part of “Grinda’s” pack and who enjoys that four legged companionship during those “tough times” I must give a big shout out to Beth’s efforts to help our veterans connect with these animals! Thank you.

Photo Credits:  ©2013 Pets for Patriots, Inc.; all rights reserved
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Col K is a retired Air Force pilot who served with the best of the military community from the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force. He flew combat rescue and special operations helicopters, fixed wing trainers and airlift and retired while flying the C-17 as the Vice Wing Commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord AFB. He enjoys writing about military issues and is a frequent contributor to the the DoD Blogger Roundtable at DoDLive. A member of a proud military family that created MilitaryAvenue.com to support the troops and their families, he enjoys the continued military ties from blogging.

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