Honoring the Strength of the Veteran-Pet Bond


Supporting the Veteran Community on Veteran’s Day and Beyond

Michelson Found Animals (MFA) extends its heartfelt thanks to the men and women who currently serve or have served in our nation’s armed forces. Their commitment, dedication, and sacrifices are the bedrock of America’s great history. We also recognize that there is a significant role pets play in the life of many vets before, during, and after their service, so MFA proudly partners with many Veterans Affairs organizations such as Merging Vets & Players, StepUp, and other institutions like Brentwood School to support our veteran community and their pets. 

Here in Los Angeles, MFA works with local chapters of the VA, including partnering during their StandDown events, where veterans can receive complimentary clothing, pet food, and other resources. “The human animal bond is a powerful force in bringing joy, healing, and purpose to both people and pets”, says Brett Yates, CEO of MFA. He adds “It is our privilege and responsibility to support veterans by making pet ownership easier, and we are grateful to our partners who help us deliver resources.”

Why Pets and Vets are a Purrfect Match

The experience of returning into civilian life can vary broadly for veterans. While some experience a smoother return home, other veterans struggle adjusting back to a life that can lack the regiment and immediate community of military life.  One way MFA believes we can support veterans is by offering and supporting their access to pets. 

Pets thrive when they have a daily routine filled with positive habits and activities, which can also be beneficial for their owners.  “Pets keep us grounded, focused, and they give us responsibility again,” says Dustin Beluscak, a veteran and current employee of MFA. The benefits of the human-animal bond are well documented, and veterans are no exception to these benefits. Pets help reduce our stress, fight off depression, combat loneliness, and encourage exercise and activity – all of which can have a positive impact on the life of a veteran. Beluscak also reflects on how pet ownership has helped him, saying “Pets complete us. They have a way of seeing love in us, even when we don’t see it ourselves. When I was at my lowest, he (ParkerDog) pulled me out of that.”

“Pets complete us. They have a way of seeing love in us, even when we don’t see it ourselves. When I was at my lowest, he (ParkerDog) pulled me out of that.”

– Dustin Beluscak, Veteran and MFA Employee

Pet ownership can be a positive outlet for veterans who thrived under the structured, regimented, and team-centered atmosphere during their service. Having the love and trust of a pet on your side can feel like being the leader of their own team. “Lots of us were leaders in the military and it’s tough to find that equivalent in civilian life. Pets make us feel like we have a team again,” says Beluscak.

MFA believes that people and pets are better together. As we reflect on Veteran’s Day, we recognize and celebrate all the ways pets and veterans have a special bond that helps both thrive.