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Pets for Vets
Support ARF's Pets for Vets program today!

Veterans returning from combat often struggle with PTSD or emotional trauma as they transition back to civilian life. Pets for Vets matches carefully selected shelter dogs with veterans in need of therapeutic healing, saving animal and human lives.

The Pets for Vets program provides powerful therapeutic and practical benefits for veterans through the quiet, unconditional love of a pet. Dogs have been proven to help with:

  • Reducing anxiety, panic, depression, and symptoms of PTSD
  • Providing stability and companionship
  • Inspiring sociability and improving positive outlook
  • Establishing routines and self-care practices
  • Renewing sense of purpose and focus on achieving goals
  • Relieving feelings of isolation
  • Additional reported benefits include improved sleep patterns, sense of security, and avenues to relationship-building.


Program participants must be veterans of the United States Military serving after 1990 and:

  • Provide Department of Defense Form 214 as evidence of service
  • Provide a written letter from a health care professional referring the veteran as a candidate for an Emotional Service Animal (ESA)
  • Live in a stable, personal residence; veterans in inpatient housing are not eligible
  • Receive ongoing treatment for service-related emotional trauma within Contra Costa or Alameda Counties, or reside within a 30-mile radius of ARF’s headquarters
  • Demonstrate willingness and ability to provide proper care and training, as well as a safe, secure home environment for a dog for their natural lifespan

Contact the Veterans Program Manager for an application.

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