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Pueblo couple recommends Pets for Patriots program for struggling service members

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PUEBLO -

A Pueblo couple wants veterans in the area to know they are not alone.

There’s a program that not only helps those dealing with things like PTSD, but also helps animals who have scars of their own.

Jerry McLaughlin and his cat, Cosette, are part of this program called Pets for Patriots.

It’s been almost 50 years since McLaughlin served in Vietnam, but the memories are still with him today.

He can remember “the war zone that was there and different things that happened."

Those things are what McLaughlin says contribute to his PTSD.

"I have the ability to put things out of the way for awhile."

However, that all changed three years ago when his cat, Cosette, came into his life.

"She had been injured at the steel mill and she got caught in the wire wrapping machine, and she had to go into surgery."

After recovering at Pueblo Animal Services, Cosette was put on the Pets for Patriots website.

"I'm sure she has a little PTSD from her injury so we kind of bonded together and worked out to be a perfect match."

That’s what McLaughlin and his wife, Theresa, want for others who are struggling. Pets for Patriots connects veterans, or those currently serving, with animals that are overlooked, or in Cosette’s case, handicapped. She no longer has one of her front legs.

Theresa McLaughlin said, "I think she realizes what he did to save her life not only physically, mentally, and emotionally. She's returning that same favor to him...people can save lives by taking the pet out of the shelter, but the shelter pet can put the life back into a person."

The McLaughlin’s say if you’re a veteran who is struggling get a pet before the holiday season. They say it’s a time that is especially difficult for those who have served.

For more information on Pets for Patriots and shelters that offer it in our area click here.

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