Hi everyone and welcome to the interview with Pets for Patriots! I am very excited about this interview because Beth, the founder and executive director of Pets for Patriots, answered these questions herself! I love her responses because you can tell how passionate she is about her cause. I hope you will be too! If you’d like to learn more, they can be found at several homes around the internet!
To donate to them, you can find a link to their donate page on our home page under Featured Organization. Also, please tell your local rescue groups and any vets you know to sign up with them! I know it’ll be a great partnership! Let’s help them grow!
What is the name of your organization?
Pets for Patriots
Where is your group located?
Long Beach, New York – though we plan to operate nationally
When was your organization established?
October 2009; one month later we received our 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.
What is the mission of your organization?
Our mission is to consistently give the gifts of fidelity, joy and companionship to both pet and person.
To be more specific, we:
• Facilitate hard-to-place shelter pet adoptions by military personnel
• Improve the well-being of service members through companion pet adoption, a humane way of easing the stresses associated with military life and military transitions
• Foster education and awareness about the state of animal abandonment and neglect
• Educate the military and the public at large about the many physical and emotional health benefits of adult pet adoption
What prompted the creation of Pets for Patriots?
I’ve had a longstanding passion for the plight of homeless animals. Growing up, my family adopted shelter pets only and when I was twelve years old I started a neighborhood dog walking service. Mind you, this was long before these things were such big business: I charged a dollar a day, which included three walks and dinner. Needless to say, this was quite a while ago! But the idea of helping to reduce animal homelessness never left me, and I knew that someday I’d return to it again.
At the same time, my siblings and I were raised to respect and admire the military – not just the institution, but the men and women who sacrificed so much in order to protect our freedom and way of life. Many of our family vacations, which were almost always camping trips, included visits to military museums or historical sites.
I had the idea that I could do something positive for both of these populations – shelter pets and service members – in a way that would benefit each. And I decided that the “someday” of helping homeless animals was going to happen sooner than later. I wrote a business plan to help me figure out how it would all work, and set about putting together a board. The end result is Pets for Patriots.
How is your organization run? Will you actively help patriots find pets to adopt?
Absolutely. We’re just starting to build our shelter and veterinary network. We encourage any patriot in the U.S. to register on our site. If we don’t yet have a participating shelter or veterinarian in their area, we’ll do the legwork to get those in place and direct that member patriot to those facilities. We leave the actual adoption pairing and decision up to the shelter, since they’re the experts in matching pets and people.
How do you get your funding?
Like most charities, we rely on the generosity of the public for donations. Once we’re more established, we’ll seek corporate sponsors and grant opportunities if we think they’re relevant to our mission.
What are some of the challenges you face?
Is it still hard to convince people to adopt rather than buy? Because we just launched in January 2007, one of our biggest challenges is just getting people to know about us. Once they do, we find people really love what we’re about. But converting that enthusiasm into a contribution remains a challenge. We know the economy is tough; our founder is a small business owner and she deals with it, too. We appreciate all donations, no matter how small – or how large!
As for the buy versus adopt debate, we’re seeing new laws proposed around the country to shut down or severely restrict the activities of puppy mills. Over time we think these events will diminish the supply of animals for sale and make adoption a more attractive choice for more people.
Tell us more about your group. What makes it unique?
We are one of the only organizations in the U.S. to focus on adult shelter pets and members of the military, at any stage of their careers and from any branch of service.
These two things truly set us apart. First, we promote the extraordinary value of the ordinary shelter pet; that adult dog or cat that isn’t destined to become a service animal, but still has lots of love and life to give. Second, we accept patriots at any stage of their military careers – active, reserve, inactive reserve, veteran, retired and national guard – and from all branches of the U.S. military.
Do you have a favorite story you’d like to share?
Not yet, but we hope to soon! We’re actively seeking patriots who are interested in adult shelter pet adoption to be among our first great success stories. We know they’re out there; we just need to find each other.
What is the accomplishment your organization is most proud of?
Going from business plan to launch in six months. That tells us that we have the right stuff to make this new not-for-profit successful: determination, persistence and heart.
What are your goals as you expand your organization?
We wish we could single-handedly end animal abuse and homelessness, but we can’t. But we can do our part to elevate the value many people place in companion pets, and we will.
We plan to be national. We envision Pets for Patriots member shelters and veterinarians across the country, each sharing our commitment to permanently rehome needy shelter pets with military personnel. In doing so, we hope to make our military more open and friendly to families with pets – one dog and cat at a time.
What is the one thing that people could do to help your organization the most?
Make a tax-deductible donation, either on our secure site or by check. We can’t do any of our good works without contributions from good folks who love pets and love our patriots. Right now, this is our greatest need.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
Small acts can make a difference. Do you have a military neighbor, coworker or friend who needs some emotional support? Tell them about us and about how pets have enormous healing potential. Short on cash, but want to help? Even $10 gets us that much closer to our mission. Love animals, but can’t have one of your own? Consider volunteering at your local shelter, or becoming a foster parent to a pet whose parent is either sick or being deployed. As individuals, we have a great deal of power to make positive change, one small act at a time.