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WASHINGTON — Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to encourage Veterans to consider pet ownership and volunteer opportunities with community organizations, including local animal shelters and humane societies in an effort to pair Veterans with rescued animals.
This announcement represents the latest example of VA’s commitment to working closely with nonprofit organizations and other community partners to identify new and innovative ways to support Veterans’ health and well being through this initiative.
“There are many benefits to pet ownership both for Veterans in need of companionship and for animals in need of good homes,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “The greatest benefit for both can be a more fulfilled quality of life. We are pleased to work with the Humane Society on this important initiative and excited about its potential to create more opportunities to serve.”
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS, also hailed the new alliance.
“The partnership between animal welfare groups and VA is an important program for our Veterans and for homeless animals,” Pacelle said. “We know the power of the human-animal bond, and I can’t think of a better way to see it expressed than in helping our nation’s heroes.”
VA and the HSUS will build model programs and networks with community organizations in order to establish connections with local VA medical facilities, making it easier to link Veterans with animals ready for adoption in their local communities.
Photoby Lance Cpl. Autumn Rodenhizer: Lance Cpl. Jordan Durkee, an aircraft rescue and firefighter with Marine Corps Air Station. SMSP volunteers at the Hawaiian Humane Society