Washington County Veterans Nonprofit Helps Others With PTSD Adopt Pets – CBS Pittsburgh

WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) – It’s Veterans Day, and KDKA recognizes a man from Washington County who served six and a half years in the military. He says he wanted to find a way to give back to local veterans struggling with PTSD.

“I was never really a big dog lover,” said Omar Brooks.

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It was the former Omar Brooks, but that has since changed for the Army veteran who toured in the Third Infantry Division in Iraq. Brooks enlisted in the military right out of high school in 1998, and he served until 2004. He says PTSD is something he still struggles with to this day. However, he noticed that there was something that helped him cope with stress and anxiety once he met his wife.

“She had a dog named Lotus and he became our dog and slowly started loving Lotus and I couldn’t wait to come home from work and see Lotus,” Brooks said.

The couple decided to adopt dogs when Lotus passed away.

“We noticed how the dogs just helped him with your general mood. He would be calmer. You’re happier, they’re happy to see you, so it really helps with PTSD, ”said Brooks’ wife Nicole Malesic.

Brooks wanted to share his experience with dogs with other veterans struggling with PTSD. So about a year ago, the non-profit association PA VetPets was born.

“I said if I could help one or two veterans a year, that would be enough,” said Brooks.

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The couple are in the process of building a physical structure out of their own savings for their nonprofit organization in South Franklin, Washington County. PA VetPets is partnering with local animal rescues to make pet adoption possible for veterans struggling with PTSD in Washington and Allegheny counties.

“Any veteran who finds a dog they want to adopt can contact us and that’s where we come in,” Malesic said.

PA VetPets is raising funds through local fundraising efforts to make this adoption possible.

“This money will help a veteran either cover the cost of adopting the animal, seek help with PTSD, or help a homeless vet find food, shelter or clothing. Brooks said.

Since its inception, the couple say a dozen veterans have asked for help, and they hope more people will too.

“I am still facing signs of PTSD. I believe the dogs helped, ”said Brooks.

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For more information on PA VetPets, visit their website Where Facebook page.

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