It’s a big win for both military veterans and rescue dogs.
California Governor Gavin Newsom plans to celebrate his one year in office by making animal adoption easier for those who have served. The politician and businessman recently signed a bill that will waive pet adoption fees for military veterans. The intent is to encourage people to adopt from animal shelters and provide for veterans—many of whom struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Pets provide comfort and companionship, and healthcare officials often recommend them to people struggling with PTSD and other mental health conditions. Dogs can often sense when a person is feeling overwhelmed and anxious. They’re capable of a special kind of healing, and bonding with an animal can be an important part of overcoming personal struggles.
Unlike service dogs, emotional support animals require no special training. They do their work simply by being there (although basic obedience training is always recommended). Shelter animals are more than qualified to fill this position. There are also studies that show the act of rescuing an animal can help a person’s emotional well-being.
With 2 million military veterans living in California, this new law has potential to change many lives. State Senator Liang Liang Chang said,
“As the saying goes, a dog is a ‘man’s best friend.’ When I’m home, my four-legged companions are a part of my family. Buster and Pepper bring me joy and laughter and I benefit from the positive effects of their companionship. Our brave heroes deserve the same happiness, and I’m glad we can reduce the barriers for bringing together veterans seeking companion animals and pets in need of a home. “
Starting January 1, 2020, veterans can visit any animal shelter in California and walk away with a new family member without paying an adoption fee. Dogs, cats, turtles, birds, hamsters, and all other companion animals are included. Officials hope to see more animals adopted into good homes as a result.