Match Stories

Steve & Mia


At Pets for Vets, we believe that there is a perfect animal companion for every Veteran. Nowhere is this more evident than the match that was made between Steve DePalma, an Army Veteran, and Mia, a Belgian Malinois.

After returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD and traumatic brain injury, Steve started his own nonprofit organization, the Veteran Barn Door Project, which helps Veterans cope with PTSD through therapeutic horseback riding.

Steve’s work requires him to travel to different ranches around the country, so he needed a dog that would be comfortable with traveling and visiting unfamiliar environments. It would also need a great recall, whether close or far away, and be calm around farm animals like goats, horses, cattle and other dogs.

After an exhaustive search, Mia was found at the Castaic Shelter in Castaic, California. Once her training was completed, she and Steve were introduced, and by the third night, Steve and Mia were sleeping side by side. Mia even began waking him up from bad dreams not long after they were paired, thanks to Pets for Vets’ unique Super Bond™ process.

As Steve and Mia prove, the human-animal bond has the power to heal, and we applaud other organizations like the Barn Door Project that help our nation’s Veterans.



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