How Pets Can Help Veterans

support animal with soldier

Honor Your Military Loved Ones Year-Round with R&R Gift Sets, Too

Coming home after serving in the American armed forces is difficult. Just as your hero adjusted to life in the military, they have to re-adjust to living in the civilian world; this adjustment is sometimes much harder than the transition to military life because now, they have scars – physical and otherwise – from the battles they fought. 

At My Hero Crate, we know you want what is best for your hero when they return home. That’s why we do what we do: build and ship care packages for military members stationed all over the world, and donate some of our proceeds to a veteran non-profit organization. One thing that you can do, that perhaps you haven’t thought of, to aid in your hero’s transition, is to help them choose a pet that may provide them comfort and support.

An emotional support animal provides comfort to help relieve a symptom of a person’s disability, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. An emotional support animal is technically not a pet – but it isn’t a service animal either. 

How Can an Animal Help?

Caring for and living with a pet, such as a cat or dog, can help improve your hero’s life. Benefits include:

-Increasing well-being and improving mental health

-Encouraging physical fitness (especially if the pet is a dog that requires lots of exercise!)

-Strengthen social connections and improve relationships with others

-Help overcome trauma

-Prevent loneliness

-Raise self-esteem and confidence

-Give life purpose

If you’re unsure of whether an emotional support animal is right for your hero – or if perhaps a service dog would be better – it’s a good idea to talk to your loved one’s mental health team, who can provide their professional recommendations, give you documentation you need to house an emotional support or service animal in a rental home, and refer you to organizations that specialize in matching pets to veterans.

Consider a Shelter Animal

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 6.5 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters every year. An article in USA Today estimates that at least 20 percent of American soldiers return from abroad suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder. If a pet is right for each of these veterans, they can experience the feeling of saving an animal’s life and giving it a second chance.

Shelter animals are an especially good idea because it prevents 1.5 million of them annually from being euthanized. And, many shelter animals are well-suited to being obedient and loving pets. If you’re unsure of which pet to adopt, shelter workers can help you find one to best suit your lifestyle and needs. It may take patience to find the perfect pet, but it will be well worth it in the end.

Encourage Relaxation

If now isn’t the right time for a pet or support animal, help your veteran find time to relax and destress with our relaxation-inspiring gift sets, like our Men’s R&R Gift Box or our Women’s Relaxation Gift Box. Each military care package is full of items that encourage taking time for oneself.

Or, you can shop our full selection of military snack boxes with sweet and savory snacks from American suppliers, even if your soldier is still stationed overseas, nearing their discharge or retirement date. Shipping to APO, DPO, and FPO mailboxes is always free.