KINGSPORT, Tenn. - BK Animal Center has partnered with Pets for Patriots, Inc., a not-for-profit that connects last-chance shelter pets with our country's loyal service men and women, to increase the adoption of adult and other at-risk homeless pets by veteran and service members of the United States military.
In spite of the demonstrated emotional and physical benefits of companion pets, there are still more homeless animals than there are loving homes for them. Working with Pets for Patriots, SBK Animal Center gives local veterans, service members and their families the gift of unconditional friendship and love while providing millions of dogs and cats a second chance at life.
"For every day each pet is in our shelter, it costs us about $3 with an initial expense of about $5 to vaccinate and process them when they first arrive, more if they need extra medical care," says Rich Crino, SBK's Director. "Working with Pets for Patriots, we hope to motivate our local veterans and service members to give these animals a loving home. This will help us place more hard-to-adopt pets with good people who need or want a companion pet, and save these innocent animals from being overlooked in the Shelter.
Individuals are welcome from all United States armed forces and at any stage of their careers. Eligible pets must meet one of three criteria: dog or cat two years or older, dog over 40 pounds regardless of age, or a special needs dog or cat.
Joining Pets for Patriots is entirely free to veterans, though they are responsible for SBK's adoption fee. To reduce the chance that these pets are surrendered, the charity sends a $150 gift card upon proof of eligible adoption to help with food and other essentials, and provides access to local veterinary partners who agree to offer ongoing discounted care.
"Our goal is to help our adoption partners re-home harder-to-place pets that still have years of love and life to give," says Beth Zimmerman, founder and executive director of Pets for Patriots, while at the same time making it more affordable for military personnel to bring a pet into their lives. We're delighted to work with SBK Animal Center to give these last-chance pets a second chance at life and, in so doing, to enhance the lives of veterans in the community. Everybody wins."
SBK quickly saw the potential to find hard-to-adopt dogs and cats permanent homes with service members. "We are able to place about 2,500 pets each year," says Crino. "Through our partnership with Pets for Patriots, we hope to provide forever homes to even more loving animals with the many service members and veterans in our area."
Individuals must first apply through Pets for Patriots and provide proof of their military service or honorable discharge. Approval typically takes one to two business days, after which they can visit SBK Animal Center in Kingsport or Blountville for assistance in choosing their new best friend.