Skip to content Skip to navigation

Operation Hero-Animal Bond

A new partnership between the Humane Society of the United States and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that will connect qualified veterans with adoptable shelter pets, to the benefit of both.

What is Operation Hero-Animal Bond?

Through Operation Hero-Animal Bond (OHAB), the Humane Society of the United States will work to connect our 350+ partner rescue groups and shelters to veterans seeking to adopt a pet in their local area. We will do this by connecting shelters/rescues in our network with nearby VA groups, covering the cost of pet adoption for qualified veterans, and providing each veteran with an adoption kit to set them and their new companion up for a successful life together. This kit will include important new pet parent needs; things like preventatives, a several month supply of pet food, a leash, a collar, enrichment items, etc. Utilizing our relationships with shelters and rescues nationwide, leveraging our longstanding corporate and commercial partnerships and employing the massive reach of the VA and their relationships with local veterans groups, we have the ability to make a major impact on thousands of lives, both human and animal.

Why is this needed?

One of the highest priorities of the VA is helping military veterans readjust to civilian life after their active service ends. Studies have shown that many veterans struggle after leaving the military—as many as 20 percent suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and feelings of isolation, anger or aimlessness are not uncommon. Many veterans consider obtaining a service animal to assist with their physical and mental ailments. Unfortunately, the average wait time for a service animal is eighteen months.

The HSUS and the VA both agree on the immense value of the human-animal bond. Pet ownership has long been known to have a beneficial effect on people suffering from depression and other mental health issues, loneliness and even high blood pressure. While a companion animal cannot replace a service animal for specific medical needs, the healing power a pet can provide is immense.

How can I participate?

OHAB will officially kick off with our first shelter partners in January 2019. We have selected partners in the Washington, D.C. metro area for kickoff, and plan to expand to other geographic regions as funding allows.