On the last Monday in May, Americans celebrate Memorial Day. It marks the unofficial start to summer and, more importantly, it is the day we have set aside to honor our war veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We honor them because we are grateful for their service. We are grateful for those who have come back from serving and those who continue to serve.
Personally, I am grateful for the many organizations that provide companion animals to returning service men and women who suffer from post-traumatic stress disability (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and other injuries that effect the human body and spirit. Organizations like Pets for Vets, Pets for Patriots, Dogs for Warriors and a host of others offer some comfort to our veterans who suffer emotionally and physically. The work these organizations do is to be commended.
I witness daily the calming effect that Snickers and Cami, two rescue dogs, have on my son, Cpl. Roy C. Basis, United States Marine Corp. Even though Roy has been back from active infantry duty in Iraq and Afghanistan for several years, he suffers from PTSD. Roy may not have used the resources of the wonderful non-profit organizations I mentioned above, but once he adopted his companions, the positive effects were palpable.
I noticed that Roy stopped flinching at every loud noise once he adopted Snickers. Realizing the calming effects Snickers had on him, Roy later adopted Cami. Since then, his hypersensitivity and uneasiness in large groups of people have decreased significantly while he had his “boys” with him. Roy is still faced with many of the effects of being a combat Marine. However, we are thankful every day for the support and love Roy receives from his four-legged companions.
The benefit of animal companionship is not just about our country’s veterans. My first-hand experience with the emotional and behavioral benefits pets have on vets leads me to believe in the great work of organizations like the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and Pets in the Classroom. Pets in the Classroom has awarded over 100,000 grants to schools so students can care for a pet in class and at home.
In honor of our fallen heroes, I urge you to do some research and attach your business to a caring organization like Puppy Jake Foundation, Soldier’s Best Friend or any of the other special organizations that match vets with companion animals. You can host an event yourself by contacting any of the organizations mentioned here or look for others on our website.
Alternatively, consider donating time, supplies or even money. It’s good for you, it’s good for our veterans and it’s good for business.
Father of a United States Marine