Connecting Vets & Pets

Connecting Vets & Pets

Program turns shelter animals into therapy dogs for veterans suffering PTSD.
(WBBH)  Vietnam veteran Jay Shelly was once helpless and hopeless.

"I was in my bedroom on the computer or watching television every day. I didn't move. If I went out the door, I was throwing up," Shelly says.

Then he and his wife rescued their two service dogs. PTSD and anxiety no longer controlled him.

"I can get out. I can talk to people. I can actually stop and have a conversation with somebody," Shelly says.

More than 1.5 million veterans live in Florida. Too many of them still are where Shelly was -- feeling trapped, almost like the shelter animals at Collier County Domestic Animal Services.

Both waiting for a second chance.

Every year D.A.S. says it receives more than 6,000 pets at its shelter.

Sadly, in March alone they were forced to euthanize more than 100. 

Now, the shelter is partnering with Collier County Veteran Services to launch "Operation Welcome Home- Shelter Pets for Vets."

"The ultimate goal is to cut down on the pets that are not leaving through the front door, at the same time helping the veterans," says organizer Jeanette Jolly.

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