A Pets For Vets Match Story

Michael and Phoenix

Thank You, Pets for Vets!

My name is Michael Mastriana and I would like to express my gratitude and joy that the Columbus Chapter of Pets for Vets has given me.

After my year in Iraq and return to civilian life, I quickly spiraled into a self-destructive lifestyle and pattern of behavior. Through the VA, I was diagnosed with PTSD and have been receiving care now for a number of years. Even with treatment, I still struggle at times. I felt like I was vulnerable and lost and could not relax when I was alone. I still battle to feel connected to my loved ones and people around me.

The idea of a companion animal was introduced to me by a VA Social Worker when we were discussing non-medicinal therapies to try. That’s when Pets for Vets came into the picture. I was lucky enough to find this organization through a simple Internet search and I was quickly put in touch with some amazing people. They have provided me a gift that has changed my life.

I recently became the lucky owner of Phoenix, a two-year-old Cavalier Spaniel mix made possible by the Pets for Vets organization. He is an excellent battle-buddy and companion. We seem to understand each other and spend considerable amounts of time together. He has encouraged me to become active again and motivates me to remain connected to the world around me on my tough days.

Whether by playing fetch, going for walks or just simply being pet, he is an ideal friend for me. He is a superb “big brother” to my twin girls and a perfect match for my girlfriend. Our family has never been happier. Pets for Vets expertly matched Phoenix to my needs, as well as the needs of my family.

I hope the warmth, love and happiness Phoenix has brought to my family and me have been done justice with my words. I staunchly promote this organization to any Veteran who asks and I enjoy continuing to participate in events to promote this amazing group of people. Thank you!

Michael Mastriana (Former Sergeant, US ARMY)

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