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VA and Pet Partners Combine Efforts to Bring Therapy Animal Services to More Veterans

The partnership will provide veteran communities with volunteer opportunities.

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(PRESS RELEASE) The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has announced it is partnering with the nonprofit organization Pet Partners to help improve quality of life, social engagement and health of veterans through increased access of animal-assisted activities and animal-assisted therapy services throughout the VA health care system.

Pet Partners and the VA will train therapy animal teams and encourage VA medical facilities to establish and expand trained therapy animal visitation and AAA and AAT programs to give patients the sense of connection, comfort and joy that comes from spending time with animals.

“This partnership will add to the health care services and programs VA offers to veterans, as emerging research recognizes the positive effects interactions with animals can have on patients,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA’s work with Pet Partners will help veterans support well-being through animal-assisted activities and therapy, which research shows can be very beneficial.”

The partnership will also provide veteran communities with volunteer opportunities and integrate veterans and their families into Pet Partners activities and events.

According to a wide range of research and studies, the human-animal bond can lead to lower blood pressure, reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, and lessened anxiety, pain, and loneliness. Time with therapy animals not only promotes physical and mental health but also supports wellness across variables such as social interaction, rate of recovery and personal motivation.

va.gov/healthpartnerships, petpartners.org

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