Pets for Vets


How do you thank the people who fight to protect your freedom? How about a new best friend to welcome them home.

In 1991 Tony La Russa and his wife founded the Animal Rescue Foundation after a stray cat wandered onto the field while La Russa was manager of the Oakland A's. Then five years ago Tony and Elaine started the vets for pets program.

“We started out, our mission was a single mission, people rescuing animals about year three we decided that a lot of the people just didn't understand the magic of a companion animal so we made a compliment which is animals rescuing people.”

It matches carefully selected shelter dogs with veterans in need of therapeutic healing. The program gives veterans stability and companionship while reducing anxiety, stress and other symptoms of PTSD. La Russa says to date they have made over 400 matches and provided necessary health care for veterans who need it. He says there are multiple programs to help vets with housing and employment so why not emotional support? Sometimes even the strongest people need someone to lean on.