Today is Veterans Day, a day to honor all those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Both two-legged and four-legged veterans alike make extraordinary sacrifices to protect our freedom. American Humane thanks you all for your service, and we remain committed to helping America’s veterans and recognizing their heroic contributions to our country – both on and off the battlefield.
American Humane has been first to serve with the U.S. military for a century. Our animal rescue program was born on the battlefields of World War I in Europe, where, at the request of the U.S. Secretary of War, American Humane deployed to rescue and care for thousands of wounded war horses. We continue to proudly honor this legacy today through our Pups4Patriots and military reunification programs.
For many brave members of the armed forces, coming home as a civilian is only the beginning of another daunting battle. The invisible wounds of war, including Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury, can cause debilitating symptoms in veterans, leading to depression, social isolation and, far too often, suicide. This is especially true during the current coronavirus pandemic which can be a trigger for veterans struggling with their mental health. In fact, within the first month of COVID-19, digital mental health consultations and check-ins nearly quadrupled, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. This only heightens the need to help veterans during this scary time, and service dogs can make all the difference.
This is yet another reason why American Humane remains devoted to harnessing the healing powers of the human-animal bond to help veterans with its Pups4Patriots™ program, pairing dogs in search of forever homes with veterans in need. Service dogs are an invaluable asset to veterans with trauma, however, finding a service dog can be a lengthy and expensive process. American Humane covers the training of qualified, lifesaving service dogs at no cost to veterans. And despite the impact of the novel coronavirus, ten veteran and service dog pairs have completed their training and started new lives together this year.
We want to give a special thanks to Dominos for its recent grant in support of this critical military program, and to all our supporters for making this work possible.
In addition to Pups4Patriots, American Humane recognizes the lifesaving contributions of our four-legged military K9s. After years of being classified as “equipment” with thousands of military dogs being disposed of or left overseas, American Humane worked with Congress to require that military working dogs be brought back to U.S. soil upon retirement and that their handlers and their families be given first rights of adoption. Unfortunately, these canine veterans are still sometimes separated from their human counterparts, who cared for and fought alongside them on the battlefield.
American Humane works tirelessly to bring back these retired military dogs and reunite them with their former handlers. Most recently, on the nineteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a brave Military Working Dog named Ramos completed his journey of more than 6,700 miles around the globe and was finally reunited with his former handler, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Brendan Cabey in a beautiful ceremony at Boston’s historic Charlestown Navy Yard.
America’s two and four-legged veterans served us, and now we are proud to serve them. Today and every day, American Humane remembers the men, women, horses, dogs, donkeys, mules, camels, pigeons and others who have died in military service to our country. We thank you for your sacrifice.
Join us today for a special event, in partnership with the USS Constitution Museum, to commemorate Veterans Day and Military Working Dogs at 4:00 p.m. ET. Register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_sY4ca53wSHaf8dJH5mtO6w.