West Michigan organization thanks veterans by pairing them with companion animals

Posted at 9:07 PM, May 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-27 21:11:30-04

SPARTA, Mich-- As people around the country observe Memorial Day by remembering those who gave their lives for our country, one local organization is thanking those who've served by pairing them with companion animals.

K9 Camo Companions is made up of volunteers and veterans who want to improve the lives of other veterans. It was started by Lori Vorpi, whose father is a veteran.  She tells FOX 17 she not only wants to help our heroes, but also, help get dogs out of shelters.

Several veterans we spoke to say the organization has changed their lives. James Baker, who is a U.S. Army Veterans says, he doesn't know where he'd be without his dog, Hannah.

"Quite beneficial. She helps to slow down the mind racing and stuff like that, doing her job for sure,” said Baker. “She’s a lifesaver for sure. My attitude has changed over four years and a lot of that is because of her.”

“I haven’t worked since I got out of the military in 2012 and so my lifestyle is very slow not very demanding and he’s right there with me," said veteran Curt Harris about his dog, Oden.

K9 Camo doesn't charge veterans any money for the animals and has even expanded their services to help provide pet food.

“First we meet with the veteran and find out what’s going on with them and how we can help. Then we start searching for the right dog. Because it has to be the right size and the right temperament, the right food schedule the right walking schedule,” Vorpi told FOX 17. “There is never a cost to veterans we take care of everything. The adoption fee, spayed and neutering, microchipping, licensing."

K9 Camo says if veterans prefer, they can also match them up with cats.

The organization does rely heavily on donations to provide this service. If you'd like to contribute, more information can be found here.