Vets and Pets: Wounded Warriors and the Animals That Help Them Heal

I am the a member of American Legion Post 405 and am the attorney and literary agent for Kevin Ferris, also a veteran, and Dava Guerin and am pleased to announce that their latest book “Vets and Pets: Wounded Warriors and the Animals that Help Them Heal” was released on September 26. A kick-off reception took place on September 26 where several of the book’s 14 subjects were hosted by former First Lady Barbara Bush, who is one of the two foreword writers, and her husband, the 41st President George H.W. Bush at their home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

“Vets and Pets” explores the stories and struggles of 15 veterans after coming home from physical wounds to PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. For example, Marine combat veteran Jimmy Didear served in Vietnam and struggled with PTSD for decades after returning home. He considered suicide multiple times. Jimmy’s life changed after he joined a local support group and met another veteran with a service dog. Working with the program Train a Dog Save a Warrior, Jimmy found Max and the two created a special bond and friendship, to which Jimmy says of his dog Max: “He depends on me, and I depend on him. That’s why we’re a team. He and I are closer than even my family because he’s with me all the time.”

“Vets and Pets” explores the lifelong bonds that develop between veterans and their service animals as well as spotlights nonprofit organizations that unite wounded warriors with service animals, including Hooves Marching for Mercy, Horses Helping Heroes, Avian Veteran Alliance, and Pets for Patriots, which will receive a portion of the book’s proceeds.

I was deeply moved upon reading Commander Rohan's recent American Legion email bringing light to the harsh reality of veteran suicides. I believe the stories in “Vets and Pets” will make a difference to veterans who are contemplating suicide through stories of the service animals that saved the lives of veterans as well as offering different organizations for veterans to contact in their time of need or in their pursuit for a service animal. I hope this book and its stories can serve as a catalyst to help other veterans.

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