Pets Make a PAWsitive Impact on Military Members and Their Families

Pets Make a PAWsitive Impact on Military Members and Their Families

2/22/2024

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Companion Pets

Military Service Members and their families often face difficulties that civilian families rarely have to experience. From long deployments and frequent housing changes to parents or loved ones returning with physical or mental health challenges. Despite showing resilience through whatever struggles may come their way, one potential source of strength and stability for military families is a family pet.

In 2014, the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction published a study that explored the relationships between military-connected adolescents and their pets. It found that, for military families, “strength of attachment to a pet significantly predicted a number of positive developmental outcomes for youth, including social connectivity and empathy.” Also, noting that “a social relationship with an animal may serve as a bridge to developing and maintaining peer relationships during a time of stress.”

More than just a pet
Companion pets can help active duty servicepersons and veterans in a variety of ways. While these circumstances may not all be unique to military families, a pet may be just the healing touch service members and their loved ones need.

  • Filling a void in the family created by deployment.
  • The transition from active duty to civilian life.
  • Improving mental health by reducing symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety.
  • Creating a bond that fosters emotional support.
  • Physical benefits like lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels.

Finding and caring for a furry best friend
Pets for Patriots is a nationally operating charity saving lives through companion pet adoption for service members and veterans of the United States military. The organization takes it one step further by helping reduce the overall cost for military personnel through access to ongoing discounted veterinary care, contributions towards purchasing pet food and other essentials, and sponsor-provided pet discounts.

Other groups like the Animals for Armed Forces Foundation, Superior Pets for Patriotic Vets, and Vets Adopt Pets offer similar support regionally to help military families adopt and care for a furry family member. And for those on active duty who need help caring for their pets when they are serving, shelters and private groups, such as Dogs on Deployment, Military Pets FOSTER Project, and PACT For Animals, may be able to help place pets in foster homes temporarily.

USBA is a not-for-profit Association that provides group life insurance, health insurance supplements, and other products and services to military personnel, Federal employees, National Guard and Reserve members, Veterans and their families.

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