Free pets for first responders at Humane Society

Posted at 11:43 AM, May 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-05 18:07:59-04

They serve and protect, working each day to keep us safe.

"I like giving back to the community, it gave me a chance to learn something new, learn something to save a life, and I think that's an unbelievable thing to do," said Sholom Reches, Firefighter and Paramedic at Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Department.

The Baltimore Humane Society agrees.  That's why they rolled out a new program for any first responder to take home a new pet at no cost.       

"They're out there serving our community, sacrificing their lives at times, rescuing us,” said Wendy Goldband with the Baltimore Humane Society.  “Why not let the rescuers get a free rescue."

That's any cat, dog, rabbit or any other animal at the no-kill shelter.  The process is simple. All you need to do is fill out an application and then the adoption fee is completely free.  Adopting a new pet can run up to $150.  For cats and dogs they come fixed, microchipped and vaccinated.  It's just a way for the Humane Society to say thank-you.  And the program isn't going anywhere.

"Police, fire, EMS, paramedics, they all qualify, so do the families of fallen first responders," Goldband said.

Whether it's for companionship, or emotional support, the bond with a pet can be therapeutic.

"When you come home after a call that's sort of detrimental to your emotional health, it's nice to come home to an animal that can console you and love you without question," said Emily Shaw, EMT Basic at Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Department.

"I mean when you get home and your dog is just sitting there and runs after you, and gives you nothing but love, that makes you smile, and smiling makes you feel good,” Reches said.  “So if you had a hard day and come home to a dog, that's a great feeling and I think that could change a lot of people's lives."

The shelter also offers a free pet adoption program to all active, reserve and retired military called Pets for Patriots

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