PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – There are a lot of benefits to adopting an animal, which is exactly why the Portsmouth Humane Society is starting a new program — one they’re hoping veterans will take advantage of.
Alison Fechino, Executive Director of the Portsmouth Humane Society, said, “The shelter is full of all these perfect individuals who have their own stories and personalities.”
These personalities will make you smile and, in some cases, they might help you through a tough time.
“We see in different studies about mental health that having a pet helps with anxiety, depression, PTSD,” said Fechino.
That’s why the shelter launched the “Healing Warriors” program in early July.
Fechino said, “We can make sure that pets we’re placing with veterans and service members are ready to go and don’t have any additional obstacles that may come up in the future.”
The program is supported by a grant from the Portsmouth Hospital Foundation, which covers all adoption fees and additional medical screenings for the animals.
Fechino said, “Our animals don’t typically have comprehensive blood work before adoption because, as a shelter, it’s just not something that’s cost-accessible for us. Thanks to the funds from this grant, we’re able to do full blood work on any animals that are going to be placed with service members.”
The testing allows the shelter to have a better understanding of the animal’s overall health, giving it another chance at finding a forever home — maybe with someone who also needs a little bit of support.
“The companionship of a pet, having something else to take care of, something to take their mind off of it, or even having somebody else around to help with the loneliness that can sometimes come when you are adjusting back to civilian life has been very helpful for service members,” said Fechino.
Contact the Portsmouth Humane Society for more information.