Jackson program connects veterans with stray dogs

Posted at 9:53 AM, Jul 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-26 19:15:52-04

They call it a win-win: Animals get a second chance, and local veterans get a new companion for free.

The "Pets for Veterans" campaign is in full swing in Jackson right now.

This week and next, veterans can adopt a dog or up to two cats from the Jackson County Animal Shelter totally free of charge.

The volunteers responsible, The Friends of the Animals for the Jackson Area, say it's the least they can do.

"We're so proud of our veterans and we want to do something nice that will make their life better," says Diane Cerqueira, the President of the Friends of the Animals group in Jackson.

They've raised $1,800 this year to cover adoptions fees. In the past, they've connected 49 dogs and 28 cats with veterans, and this year they are hoping to up that number.

"Animals win, the veterans win, everybody wins," says Cerqueira.

For the shelter, it's a great way to get some much needed space.

"Right now, pretty much, we are at capacity and every other shelter is at capacity," says Jackson County Animal Shelter director Don Hayduk.

Volunteers tell me they hope having a new pet will bring veterans comfort.

"It really is a proven fact that having an animal for someone that has the post traumatic stress syndrome is very helpful to them," says Cerqueira.

It's a chance at a fresh start for everyone involved.

Stop by the shelter at 3370 Spring Arbor Road in Jackson to adopt. Bring a photo ID as well as copy of discharge papers or a Jackson County Veteran's ID card.

The shelter is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a lunch break from 1 to 2 p.m., on weekdays, and open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.