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Animal Support Driving Veteran Wellbeing

After a veteran is discharged from service, it can take a while for life to return to normal and for them to feel comfortable again.

From looking for new employment, to socialising with their community, to resolving the impacts of mental conditions, veterans often need a helping hand to manage their health and wellbeing through this major life change.

Through our extensive work and support services for veterans, we know that there is no conventional or cookie cutter way to support these members in society. That’s why we partner with Happy Paws Happy Hearts (HPHH), a non-traditional animal therapy organisation.

HPHH has been working with Veterans since founding in 2014, running dedicated group programs with RSPCA rescue dogs, which allow veteran participants to learn new skills, meet other veterans, and make a difference in the lives of the dogs waiting to find new homes.

This program is meaningful and purposeful work, where the veterans spend time with the dogs and learn positive training techniques to support the dogs, so they show “adoptable” behaviours.  For participants in these programs, the biggest reported changes are usually that they feel more positive about themselves and know that they are doing something that matters. This can be the gateway to a new pathway in life and work.

Our relationship with HPHH has been impactful for both businesses as we see veterans unsure of where they fit in becoming contributing and happy members of society. Our DVA Client Relations Manager Taylor Melville is passionate about assisting the veteran community and their families to transition to a healthy and happy civilian life, and commends HPHH for the important role they play in veteran wellness.

“Collaborating with Happy Paws Happy Hearts has created an environment for veterans to work alongside animals to promote recovery, connection and purpose. It is a fantastic program that ignites passion and commitment for change for both our clients and the animals.”

Zoe Black, CEO and Co-Founder of Happy Paws Happy Hearts, believes that working together really makes a difference in the lives of participants, and the lives of the animals they work with.

“We truly believe that if we don’t support transitioning Veterans, that we as a community will lose talented and passionate people who want to make a difference.

We also know that people need a strong motivation to reconnect with our community after they have been isolated or excluded for some time. If we don’t reach these Australians, then they are left feeling “stuck”, and we know that social isolation is a key factor that drastically compounds other physical and mental health challenges

Rehab Management is a pleasure to work with as they are people-focused and always interested in finding the right opportunities for their clients. We have found that the team makes an extra effort to understand the theory behind HPHH programs and aims to work with the HPHH enrolments team to help participants with a seamless enrolment process.”

For veterans returning to society, the Happy Paws Happy Hearts program in conjunction with Rehab Management is the helping hand – or paw – they need to integrate into their communities and feel happy and purposeful.


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