Purina campaign hopes to pair rescue dogs, vets

There are a couple of very important men in my life, who happen to have a lot in common.

Both enjoy sitting in a comfy chair and watching TV.

Both sport gray beards and have luxurious salt-and-pepper hair.

Both have the kind of sad eyes that make you feel guilty easily.

They both often wear vests, enjoy walking around the neighborhood, and are pretty big fans of keeping their mealtimes on schedule.

And both help inspire a couple of my most passionate causes.

One is my dad, the veteran.

The other is Pops, my rescue dog.

Two dudes for whom I’d do just about anything.

So I was excited to hear about Purina’s Dog Chow Service Dog Salute Campaign.

Through Veteran’s Day, on Nov. 11, the company will donate a portion of sales of its Complete Adult with Chicken food to the Animal Rescue Foundation’s (ARF) Pets and Vets program, which pairs veterans with service dogs. The dogs have been rescued from shelters and specially trained to help vets with a variety of needs, including anxiety, PTSD, depression and the effects of traumatic brain injuries.

As part of an effort to raise even more money for the program, Purina has also paired with BuzzFeed to produce a video documenting stories of veterans and dogs brought together through ARF. The company will donate $1 per unique share of the video, which you can find at facebook.com/BuzzFeed/videos/10157922064895329/.

Growing up an Army brat, the sacrifices members of the military make were never far from our minds, and my dear old dad made sure we never took those sacrifices for granted.

An animal lover since about birth, I’ve done a lot of work with rescue in my adult years, and it, too, has taught me a lot about gratitude, and the gift of selflessness.

And while much of that lesson was learned from the rescuers, the bulk of it comes from the animals themselves.

So I’m happy to spread the word about anything that helps bring two such deserving causes together.

Interestingly, a piece I read about the campaign noted that Purina’s founder, William Danforth, was a vet himself, having served in World War I. It was that time in the service that influenced the company’s name — a nod to the chow lines Danforth had stood in for sustenance.

Watching the video, I was moved to hear many of the veterans say that they felt they had been saved by their animals.

To me, it’s so touching — these brave men and women, who have suffered in war zones, and stood in the face of danger to protect us, brought back from the brink of that trauma by perhaps the only being on Earth pure and generous enough of heart to do it.

A rescue dog.

I might be a bit biased, of course, given the guys in my world. But I’d say that’s an effort worth saluting. (And definitely worth buying a few bags of chow.)

Katie McDowell is a lifestyles writer/copy editor for The Dominion Post. Email her a kmcdowell@dominionpost.com.

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