Georgia News

CNN Interview

Pets for Vets staff on CNN stageWe thank CNN for the wonderful opportunity they gave us on November 9, 2014 to share with their audience about Pets for Vets.

Lynn Berry interviews Pets for Vets Trainer, Charles Kaufman, on CNN HLN about how companion pets help to heal veterans.

This coverage will make a big difference in the volunteer base for the Georgia Chapter, but more importantly, we hope we will be able to reach and help more of our veterans and rescue more wonderful shelter dogs.

See CNN HLN interview here. We are pleased to have been included in their Veteran’s Day coverage about the benefits of having a pet.

Georgia Fitness League Donates $1,054 To Pets For Vets Georgia!

Barbara, John, and Cheryl

Barbara Blair (Chapter Director, Pets for Vets – Georgia; Josh Patterson (Event Organizer) , and Cheryl Leigh (PFV Event Coordinator)

For four weeks this fall, the fittest and most competitive came together to compete in WOD Ops “There Goes My Hero II,” put on by Georgia Fitness League. Men and women from around Atlanta competed in one of four qualifying Crossfit competitions in the metro area.

The winners of each week were then given a chance to battle it out at the finals held at Crossfit Kennesaw on October 27th. The best part? For the second year in a row, all the proceeds for the competition were donated to Pets for Vets Georgia!

Our volunteers were there each week, cheering on the athletes and telling people about this wonderful cause their hard-earned (and sweaty) money was going to. All in all, GFL event organizer, Josh Patterson, and the GFL raised over $1,000 for us, making Josh and the GFL a very proud Pets For Vets Companion Dog Sponsor!

And the good news doesn’t stop there. This second collaboration went so well and Josh believes in our cause so much, he asked if Pets for Vets would be the official charity of Georgia Fitness League. Which, of course, we responded to with an enthusiastic “Woof!”

Congratulations to all the event winners and thanks to Josh and the GFL participants for your ongoing support of Pets For Vets GA! Watch for upcoming news of GFL’s sponsored Companion Dog on our FB page!

From Fort Benning’s Bayonet & Saber Newsletter

Retired K-9 handler hopes to bring Pets-for-Vets to tricommunity area

By CHARLES MELTON / Special to the Bayonet and Saber

Former Army military policeman and K-9 handler John Cooper is a man on a mission these days. Instead of training canines to detect drugs or other illegal substances, the retired staff sergeant hopes to use dogs to help other veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other challenges they face.

“I have a real passion for helping veterans and a real love for dogs, so this is a way for me to mix both of them,” Cooper said of his work with the Pets for Vets program. The Pets for Vets program is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that matches veterans with dogs from animal shelters to find the right pairing for both the veteran and the animal.

According to the Pets for Vets website (, veterans are interviewed to determine what the veteran is looking for in a companion animal, which is then paired with the veteran’s personality and lifestyle to ensure the perfect veteran-pet match. Once the pet is selected, one of the program’s trainers teaches basic pet obedience and other important behaviors to live with the new owner.

Cooper said he is looking for his first shelter dog to train for a Vietnam veteran who suffers from PTSD and other anxiety issues. Once he finds the right dog, Cooper said he expects it to take about eight weeks to complete basic obedience training, which is includes proper behavior around other people and other dogs.

“Dogs have a way of knowing when something isn’t right with their owner, and they can make it better,” he said.

In order to start a chapter in the tricommunity area, Cooper said someone needs to come to the front and serve as the chapter director. Georgia Pets of Vets chapter director Barbara Blair echoed Cooper’s call for someone in the area to serve as a chapter director.

“John’s been great working and we’re glad to have him,” Blair said. “We need volunteers to help John with fundraising, but we need a chapter director.”

The chapter director should have experience in business management or managing a nonprofit organization, she said, adding that they have to be comfortable working on the fundraising side as well as with the trainers and veterans.

“The most important thing is that they have to be organized. They have to be prepared and they have to be committed,” Blair said.

Cooper said he encourages people who are interested volunteering to go to the organization’s website to fill out an application. They can make donations on the website as well. More information can be found on the organization’s Facebook page.

Blair said the biggest benefit of volunteering is that feeling of joy “you get when you get to give the dog to the vet.”

Hops Stroll in Decauter, GA

PeopleFall is coming, which means colder weather and people retreating inside. What better way to say goodbye to the sweltering Atlanta summer than grabbing a nice cold beer and raising money for a good cause?

Not only did everyone have a great time at our Hops Stroll, but we reached our fundraising goal! The two and a half hour event was hosted at three different breweries: Wild Heaven, Blue Tarp and Three Taverns.

Participants were able to sample great beer and munch on delicious food provided by local eateries Square Pub, Melton’s App and Tap, and Slice and Pint all for $35!

Each of our 50 participants even got a PFV logo glass from which to sample all the beer. Wild Heaven’s tasting manager, Jake Adams said the reason he wanted to do this event was because he has family in the military and a rescue dog of his own.

“Everyone wants to do a fundraiser, but you can’t always find a good organization to do it for. You want to help something you care about and [Pets for Vets] just makes sense.”


This was a sentiment echoed by Russ Yates, co-owner of Slice and Pint. Yates said he was happy to help and provide their delicious pizza, not only because of the great cause, but because it gave him an opportunity to participate with other community businesses.

At the end of the day, bellies were full, thirsts were quenched, and Pets for Vets Georgia raised over $1,700!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our first big event for Pets for Vets- Georgia!

TailsSpin Pet Food & Accessories Raises $4,000 for Pets For Vets GA Chapter!

Group of people

Memorial Weekend Skyhoundz – PFV GA w/Sponsor TailsSpin and participants

People with big check

back row – Jeff Manley, co-owner TailsSpin; Joey Betancourt, manager TailsSpin; Barbara Blair, Director PFV GA; Chief Master Sergeant Jim Fox and his wife, Regina Fox. front row – Jusak Bernhard, co-owner TailsSpin; the Border Pawtrol – Rocky, Dexter, Riley

More than 70 high-flying canines competed at the Hyperflite Skyhoundz Disc Championship Qualifier in Pooler GA over the Memorial Weekend! This fun and exciting Pets For Vets Fundraiser, organized by Chief Master Sergeant Jim Fox USAF and sponsored by TailsSpin Pet Food & Accessories (Pooler, Savannah & Macon GA), raised a whopping $4,000 for the Pets For Vets GA Chapter – our biggest fundraiser to-date!

Dogs and their handlers, which included Jim Fox and his Border Pawtrol – Riley, Rocky and Dexter – competed in the freestyle routines, time trials, a bull’s-eye game, and the amazing Xtreme Distance event!

See pics of these frisbee-loving canines in action here!

People with dog

Ritchey & Rachel w/Wag the Dog show their support for PFV

woman in booth

Volunteer Jamie Olson enjoying the freestyle routines

Thanks to everyone who contributed their time and energy to make this such a successful event – Wag the Dog for donating $125 of your proceeds to our organization, participants and fans for your generous donations.

Of course, SPECIAL THANKS and heartfelt appreciation goes out to Jim Fox and TailsSpin’s owners, Jusak Bernhard and Jeff Manley, for your incredible $4,000 contribution!

These funds will be used to rescue and train companion dogs for our Georgia veterans. We’ll be sharing those stories with you as they happen!

Pets for Vets & The Big Ketch Event – A Big Success!

Thanks to all our volunteers, friends and family for joining us at The Big Ketch in Buckhead for a great cause and a great time! You raised just under $500 for Pets For Vets – we thank you for your participation and your generous donations!

And thanks also goes out to The Big Ketch (TBK) for sponsoring a terrific event, for your contribution to Pets For Vets, and to TBK staff for the excellent service that day!!

And if you missed it, no worries. We’ll be partnering with The Big Ketch again later in the year and have some fun activites planned! (Updates to follow.)

Introducing Pets for Vets Georgia Chapter Director Barbara Blair

Originally from Ohio, Georgia Chapter Director, Barbara Blair, has called Atlanta home since the 1980s. For several years, Barbara shared her Alpharetta home with her two Labradors, Sam and Annie, before relocating to Midtown. She first became involved with animal rescue when she was given the opportunity to foster dogs for a local Labrador rescue group. Picking the dogs up at the shelter, giving them love and care, bringing a spark back to their eyes and a spring to their step, proved incredibly rewarding to her. Just as important was finding the right home for each dog, a process she has always taken very seriously through interviews with potential owners. That experience also opened her eyes to the number of wonderful dogs, – all breeds, sizes and ages – waiting in Atlanta’s shelters for adoption, love, and a second chance.

Since then, Barbara has supported several animal rescue groups in and around Atlanta, as well as national organizations such as the HSUS, ASPCA, and PETA, among others. She first became aware of Pets for Vets after hearing a program segment about the organization on NPR (WABE in Atlanta). She was immediately drawn to Pets for Vets because it combined two areas she is passionate about: animal rescue, and helping veterans, as a way to thank them for their tremendous service to our country.

When she learned that a Georgia Chapter of Pets for Vets had not yet been established, she jumped at the chance to start one. Barbara is looking forward to putting to good use her 25 years of experience in Sales & Marketing and National Account Management to build a strong Pets for Vets organization here in Georgia.