2015 Phoenix Pet Expo Brings to Light Military Pets and PTSD Service Animals


Organizations will be at the 2015 Phoenix Pet Expo on April 25 and 26 at Westworld of Scottsdale to raise awareness about the importance of animals for military and veterans.

April 7, 2015PHOENIXAnimal-lovers and veterans alike should get ready for the 2015 Phoenix Pet Expo, located at the Westworld of Scottsdale on April 25, from 10am until 6pm, and April 26, from 11am until 4pm. Featured in this sixth annual event is a focus on current and former military members, and how pets make an impact on their lives. Organizations like Dogs on Deployment and Soldiers Best Friend, as well as Lon Hodge and his service dog, Gander, will be on hand both days to discuss the important work they do to support military members around the country.
Soldier’s Best Friend connects veterans with local shelter dogs, wherein they begin living together and training together in order build a bond. These dogs are trained to work as either a certified service dog or a therapeutic companion dog, depending on the needs of the veteran.

“Soldier’s Best Friend will participate in the 2015 Phoenix Pet Expo for the fourth year in a row,” says Brenda Meir, of Soldier’s Best Friend. “The Expo is a great opportunity for us to raise public awareness about the pair and train service dog program we provide for veterans living with combat related PTSD or traumatic brain injury.”

Lon Hodge, a veteran who served in the military from 1973 until 1981, lived with crippling anxiety due to PTSD after transitioning into civilian life. He didn’t find relief until he discovered a similar organization to Soldier’s Best Friend: Freedom Service Dogs in Colorado. Since being connected with Gander in 2012, Hodge has travelled the country, connected military members with animals through PACKs (Planned Acts of Community Kindness, an idea of Hodge’s), and helped multiple people who suffer from PTSD gain a voice through social media.

While Soldier’s Best Friend helps to connect veterans with service animals upon their return to civilian life, Dogs on Deployment primarily helps soldiers’ find a foster for their animals while they are on their way out of the country. “Dogs on Deployment works to provide the military community peace-of-mind when it comes to their furry, feathery, and scaly best friends,” says Alisa Johnson, Founder and CEO of Dogs on Deployment. “Our network of volunteers works tirelessly to provide pet boarding when our service members need it most and we are honored to serve and stand by our military.”

“Amazing Pet Expos is privileged to have such a connection to veterans and the men and women currently serving our country,” says Ethan Barnett, Vice President of Amazing Pet Expos. “Our primary focus is to help educate the public about animals and the kind of work that is being done to better both our lives and their own. With organizations like Soldier’s Best Friend and Dogs on Deployment, as well as national advocates like Lon Hodge and Gander, we know that we will be able to continue to bridge the gap between the human and animal bond and to provide resources ad assistance to our national heroes who serve this country on a daily basis.”

The Phoenix Pet Expo is a free, indoor and air-conditioned event which attracts more than 20,000 attendees along with their furry, feathered and reptilian pals who are looking to enjoy a new and one-of-a-kind experience where all pets can enjoy a fun day or two out with their pet parent(s). All well-behaved pets are welcome, as long as they’re on a fixed lead (or in a carrier) and have proof of age-appropriate rabies vaccines.

The 2015 Phoenix Pet Expo is produced by Amazing Expos, a leading event production company that currently produces more than 30 large pet expos across the United States. For more information, call 800-977-3609, email expo@phoenixpetexpo.com or visit http://www.phoenixpetexpo.com, https://www.facebook.com/PhoenixPetExpo or https://www.twitter.com/AmazingPetExpo.


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