"Vets and Pets tells fifteen emotional and entertaining stories of the incredible bonds between wounded warriors, veterans, and other service members and their service and companion animals. Whether these special relationships are with dogs, cats, horses, pigs, or even birds of prey, readers will discover how these remarkable animals help veterans return to civilian life and live independently while simultaneously bringing joy and confidence into their lives.
Tyler struggled to adjust to civilian life after losing both of his legs in Afghanistan, until he met his intelligent and willfully disobedient red European Doberman pinscher, Apollo. Vietnam veteran Patrick regained a sense of well-being and hope through the study of birds of prey. Max the horse has helped numerous veterans learn to trust, improve their communication, and increase their self-confidence and self-esteem. Mandi discovered that the intelligence and unconditional love of pigs were exactly what she needed to heal from an abusive past and a disappointing army-training injury. These are just a few of the uplifting stories that are featured in this striking collection.
In addition to exploring the unique, lifelong bonds that can develop between veterans and their animal companions, Vets and Pets spotlights extraordinary nonprofits that unite wounded warriors with service and companion animals, including Pets for Patriots, Hooves Marching for Mercy, Horses Helping Heroes, and Avian Veteran Alliance, among others. A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to Pets for Patriots.
SubtitleWounded Warriors and the Animals That Help Them Heal
AuthorBy Dava Guerin, By Kevin Ferris, Foreword by Barbara Bush, Foreword by Andrea Arden
Published26 September 2017
Dimensions5.50 x 8.25in.
About the author
Dava Guerin worked for more than twenty years in the marketing and communications and public relations fields. She managed national and international public relations programs for many Fortune 500 companies and provided media credentialing and media management for the 2000 Republican National Convention, the President’s Summit for America’s Future, and We the People 200, among others. She is also the coauthor with Kevin Ferris of Unbreakable Bonds: The Mighty Moms and Wounded Warriors of Walter Reed. She lives in Berlin, Maryland, with her husband, mother, and two labradoodles, J.P. Morgan and Tinkie.
Kevin Ferris is the coauthor with Dava Guerin of Unbreakable Bonds: The Mighty Moms and Wounded Warriors of Walter Reed. He is the commentary editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and his freelance work has appeared in the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal, and the Christian Science Monitor. He has two children and lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with an Irish setter named Samson.
Barbara Bush is the wife of George H. W. Bush, the forty-first president of the United States, and mother of George W. Bush, the forty-third president of the United States. She founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
Andrea Arden is Animal Planet’s pet expert and has been named the best dog trainer in New York by New York magazine, Time Out magazine, Quest magazine, and the Daily News. She is the author of Barron’s Dog Training Bible, Dog Friendly Dog Training, Train Your Dog the Lazy Way, and The Little Book of Dog Tricks.
"As someone who has seen first-hand the special significance of service pets and how they truly bring a healing joy to our service members, this new book Vets and Pets: Wounded Warriors and the Animals That Help Them Heal, by Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris, illustrates their enduring bonds. I'm hopeful that this book will also bring awareness to the great non-profit programs that support our warriors, and the dedicated Americans who care about our heroes both human and animal. Together, they help each other heal from the visible and invisible wounds of war."—Gary Sinise, award-winning actor, veterans' advocate, and founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation, which serves our nation's defenders and their families
"Thank you to Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris for this compilation of compelling stories created in an effort to raise awareness about the many benefits of encouraging and facilitating animal adoptions for members of the military community."—from the Foreword by Andrea Arden, Animal Planet's pet expert and New York City's best dog trainer, as named by New York magazine and the Daily News
"Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris have tapped into one of the most important ways in which wounded troops are managing to heal by leaning on their pets. In some cases these highly trained dogs sniffed out mines and saved troops' lives in the war zone. Now they are literally saving those lives again as these warriors learn to navigate back home. A poignant tale of survival and resilience."—Jennifer Griffin, FOX News
"Vets and Pets is filled with moving stories about the wounds our warriors suffer, not all of them physical, and the way their pets and service animals help make them whole again. The vets Guerin and Ferris profile have served their country with courage and honor; the pets they profile have loved and protected these vets when they are most vulnerable. You will finish this book understanding how a love of animals makes us more human."—Peter Collier, New York Times bestselling author of Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty
"We pet owners have long known the medicinal value that comes from loving animals. No wonder, then, that many of our returning veterans, themselves facing the gravest of injuries, have found solace and a path toward mental health from the company of service dogs and companion animals. In Vets and Pets, Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris provide an uplifting collection of 14 stories about wounded warriors and those who have aided their rehabilitation: Tessa, the cat; pigs Darwin, Greta and Sir Gaddy; Max the horse; a pit bull named Cossack; Crixus, a German shepherd pit bull mix; Isaac, a golden Labrador mix; and many more. Vets and Pets is an overdue salute to American heroes—those who have worn the uniform of their country—and the four-legged friends with whom they have bonded on the road to recovery."—Michael Smerconish, radio and TV host, columnist, New York Times bestselling author
"Most of us cannot imagine the challenges our wounded warriors face when they come home. Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris tell their stories honestly and beautifully. And Vets and Pets brings you inside one of the little-known corners of that world: How soldiers and their companion animals bond and help one another make new lives. Vets and Pets will touch your soul and inspire your heart."—Jonathan V. Last, senior writer at The Weekly Standard and author of The Dadly Virtues and What to Expect When No One's Expecting
"Kevin Ferris and Dava Guerin have done it again, writing another important book honoring our veterans. The special bonds and relationships forged between veterans and their pets comes to vivid life in this powerful book through over a dozen stories. The healing power of these companions is evident as they ease the physical and invisible scars of war. Inspiring and uplifting."—Patrick K. O'Donnell, bestselling author and historian of 11 books, including: The Unknowns and Washington's Immortals
"Anyone who loves our veterans or pets will come away from this book reinvigorated and restored. We ask much of our veterans: devotion, loyalty, and bravery. And they give it without hesitation. As a nation, we should provide the same and take example from their pet companions, who do so much to help them re-join society."—John Yoo, former Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General and current Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law, University of California at Berkeley School of Law
“Vets and Pets begins with a disturbing statistic: More than 300,000 veterans have been injured in fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, many suffering from traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder. This book tells the story of some wounded soldiers like Marine Cpl. Justin Crabbe, who lost his legs, a thumb and fingers in an explosion in Afghanistan. Read about his relationship with his service dog Gnome and witness the unbelievable healing power of pets.”—Jennifer Lin, author of Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal & Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family
"Few bonds have the intensity as those forged in the military—ties that too often fray when service members return to civilian life, just when they’re most needed. Vets and Pets shades that narrative with compassion and humor and hope with its 14 tales of wounded warriors and the animal companions whose loyal, steady presence eases injuries disabling to body and psyche alike. 'I don’t see Max as a horse,' says a Navy vet. 'I see him as a comrade, as a friend.'”—Gwen Florio, author of the Lola Wicks mystery series
"Talented authors and true patriots, Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris have once again stepped up to honor America’s true heroes—our veterans. In Vets and Pets, Guerin and Ferris compassionately explore the invaluable role that animals play in the healing of our wounded warriors and the unbreakable bond that invariably ensues. Often heartrending yet always inspiring, the 14 stories told in Vets and Pets will ultimately renew your faith that honor, love and devotion tenaciously endure—and that they are not the exclusive domain of those who walk upright."—Nick Brandi, Literary Editor, Westchester Magazine and Coastal Style
"We reach, and they’re near. We call, and they come. They sense what we don’t choose to say or never would say to anyone. We hold our pets near, and the vets in these moving stories hold their dogs and birds and horses and pigs especially near—as guides, as protection, as most accommodating friends. Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris have searched for and found the light in the lives of our wounded warriors."—Beth Kephart, author of 22 books, including Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir and Tell the Truth. Make It Matter.