Clarissa Black has dedicated her entire career to understanding the mind and emotions of all kinds of animals. She’s a professional dog trainer with a master’s in anthrozoology, which is the study of the relationships and interactions between man and animal. Over time, she’s worked with many animals, but it took her going to her local Veteran’s Affairs Hospital with her dog to put her on what she feels is the path her life was meant to be on all along; helping vets get therapy and service dogs.
Her dog, Bear came with her to the hospital, and the interactions she saw between the veterans there and Bear sparked off an idea. Basically, how could she use her knowledge and skills to help make getting dogs to vets in need in a way that benefits everyone? The people suffering with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) especially.
“You could almost feel this weight being lifted off of them, that sort of sigh and that breath, and you could see their smiles,” said Black.
So, knowing what her mission was, she started a program called Pets for Vets. Their mission is clear. Provide people in need of companionship someone that will love them unconditionally, but also find homes for shelter dogs that have spent far too long trapped in a cage, waiting for a forever family. It’s kind of a no brainer if you think about it.
The matchmaking process used to find proper dogs for the vets is quite detailed and extensive. I all goes to ensuring that the right kind of dog is with the right person. Once a dog is picked, training with the vet that the dog will be going home to begins immediately. They take their time with things, so that the dog knows exactly what is needed from them, and how to react in times of trouble.
The Pets for Vets program is a national endeavor across the US. There has been a great deal of shelters in states with this program running that are seeing record numbers of adoptions through Pets for Vets, which takes a bit of the strain of overcrowding, understaffing and underfunding that plagues so many shelters everywhere in the world.
If you’d like to know more about the program, or find out how you can help a Pets for Vets location near you, click here to be taken to the website.