Veterans Welcome Man's Best Friend To Their Home

FAYETTEVILLE, AR-- Man's best friends have moved in to the Fayetteville Veteran's Home and they are building a close bond with the residents.

Administrator, Kriss Schaffer has wanted to bring a dog into the Fayetteville home since he started working there just months ago. Now they have two, and veterans are feeling more at home then they ever have before.

This comes after the home's most recent debt battle. The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs, revealed the Fayetteville Veterans Home owed thousands of dollars to the federal VA just last month.

Now Schaffer is doing his best to get finances out of the red. He says they are already seeing great improvements. "Finances are great right now we ended our fiscal year 38,000 dollars in the black. So that is much better to report than what people were hearing two months ago."

He says the increased income is thanks to an increase in numbers at the veterans home. They now have 78 residents.

Veteran, James Allen, is grateful for his newest friends. He said, "If you are laying in your bed day after day after day with nothing to do, you now have something to do. You can chase the dogs around if you're up to it."

Fred and Ethel are grateful for their new home.

Allen said, "They are husband and wife and they have been together since they were pups."

According to administrator Kriss Schaffer, the rescued pups are the most popular residents at the Fayetteville Veteran's Home.

Schaffer said, "I had had a couple of the residents and their families ask about having a dog because they love the companionship. It's wonderful to walk down the hall and see somebody leaning over petting the dogs with a big smile on their face."

Thanks to the duo, that smile is something Allen knows well. He says it's a way to escape the daily routine.

Allen said, "I've noticed that some of the men who kind of felt like giving up, have taken to them. Since they have been here, my morale has shot up about 150 percent."

It reminds him of his past, growing up with animals as a kid, and then after he joined the military. "I was stationed out of Fort Lewis, Washington. My wife and I at the time had a Norwegian Elkhound and he was a ball and a half."

Fred and Ethel are embracing their new home, and veterans are thankful for their embrace.

Allen said, "I think it's the most wonderful thing that's ever happened here."

Schaffer says having dogs at the home has been a bit challenging, deciding who is going to take care of them. But James Allen says he is first in line to walk them, and give them treats.

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