Press release: American Pet Products Association
American Pet Products Association (APPA) President & CEO Bob Vetere and Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) Executive Director Elena Bicker announced today that APPA has partnered with ARF in support of their Pets and Vets Program.
APPA pledged $1 million over the next four years to support expansion of the program pairing shelter animals with veterans coping with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, anxiety, and other service-related challenges. ARF then guides the veteran-dog teams through a 10-month psychiatric support dog training program.
Unlike service-dog programs that cost thousands of dollars and involve long waitlists, ARF’s program operates on shorter timelines and with no out-of-pocket expenses to the veteran. Teams complete service-training curriculum together in small, veteran-only classes, which deepens the bond between the veterans and their dogs.
Vetere said, “ARF’s Pets and Vets program aligns perfectly with APPA’s mission to promote responsible pet ownership, as well as the joys and health benefits associated with owning a pet.” He added, “We couldn’t think of a better way to give back than to help connect rescued service dogs with men and women who have served our country and can truly benefit from the unconditional love, security, service, and companionship of a dog. The APPA Board and staff are tremendously proud of this new endeavor that will positively impact the lives of countless heroes and their pets for years to come.”
“ARF’s Pets and Vets program is truly an example of saving both ends of the leash,” said Bicker. “We’re excited to have APPA join us in this important mission that can change the lives of so many animals and veterans.”