Hero's Ruck, Linking Pets with Vets

All day
November 11, 2023

All proceeds raised will go toward giving any veteran a pet for free from the Portage County APL. All he or she must do is give a copy of their DD-214 as honerably served. Each dog or cat will be vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and chipped. Dependent on the funds available, some dogs can be trained for specific purposes.

Studies have shown that companion animals, often dogs or cats, can provide substantial benefits for veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here are a few key reasons why:

  1. Unconditional Love and Companionship: Companion animals can provide a sense of love, trust, and companionship that may be difficult for veterans with PTSD to find elsewhere. These animals don’t judge or stigmatize, and their constant presence can be very comforting.
  2. Routine and Responsibility: Taking care of an animal also requires maintaining a consistent routine and shouldering responsibility, which can provide a sense of purpose and structure that can be beneficial for someone coping with PTSD.
  3. Stress and Anxiety Reduction: Interacting with animals has been shown to lower levels of stress and anxiety. This can be particularly helpful for veterans dealing with PTSD, as it can reduce symptoms and improve overall mood.
  4. Physical Activity: If the companion animal is a dog, the need for walks and exercise can promote physical activity in the veteran. Regular exercise is known to have numerous physical and mental health benefits, including improved mood and decreased anxiety.
  5. Social Connection: Companion animals can also serve as an ice breaker or common point of interest when interacting with others. This can help veterans with PTSD who may struggle with social interaction.
  6. Trauma Healing: There is also some evidence to suggest that the act of bonding with an animal can help people to process and heal from traumatic experiences.
  7. Improved Sleep: Veterans with PTSD often suffer from insomnia or nightmares. Having a companion animal in the home can provide a sense of security that might help improve sleep patterns.
  8. Emotional Support: Companion animals have a natural knack for sensing human emotions and providing comfort. For veterans who may be wrestling with emotional numbness or difficulty expressing their feelings, this can be an incredibly valuable form of support.

The benefits can be even more significant when the companion animals are specifically trained as service or therapy animals. These animals are trained to perform specific tasks related to managing a person’s psychiatric condition, such as detecting when a person is having a panic attack and responding in a certain way to help alleviate the symptoms. However, even non-trained pets can provide significant benefits for veterans with PTSD.

Agenda for the Day

November 11th at 8AM

Sign-ups will comence @ American Legion 496 Portage Post

All invovlved will be shuttled down the the Freedom Trail (bring your ruck and anything you want to take with you)

Once at the Freedom Trail

At 9AM will begin our ceremonies:


Pledge of Allegiance

Speeches (limited)

Ruck Begins

Your Own Ruck with Your own specified weight

Not a Competition Ruck, Just a Ruck of Comradery

You Will Go Down the Trail app. 1.1 miles and Turn Around

Once back We wil Shuttle You Back to The American Legion

Back to the Post Before 11:00 AM

AT 11AM, Our Ceremony Begins in Honor of Armistice 

Expect an Honor Guard that will be Firing a Three Round Volley

11:30AM Lunch Will be Served to all with a Band for the Ruck (Food Truck, Hotdogs and Such)

Door Prizes Starting Around Noon

DJ From 11:30 AM to 2:30PM

Hero's Ruck 2023 flyer

Hero;s Ruck, Linking pets to vets

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