Lakeshore PAWS Celebrates Veteran’s Day, Partners With Fifth Third Bank for ‘Pets For Vets’

On Friday, for the second year in a row Lakeshore PAWS has partnered with Fifth Third Bank to provide dogs at no cost to active military personnel and veterans in honor of Veterans Day at their Pets for Vets event. Lakeshore PAWS welcomed veterans and their families to come into the shelter on Veterans Day to meet and get to know pets waiting to be adopted.

Fifth Third Bank will be sponsoring $3000 of adoptions and Lakeshore PAWS (LSP) is taking $50 off every adoption for veterans on Friday.

Army Staff Sergeant Michael Sandilla got involved with the program in 2015 when he adopted Bosco, a young American Bulldog mix. This year, Sandilla was on hand at Lakeshore PAWS to volunteer and help let veterans and their families know how rewarding it is give a forever home to pets in need.

“Last year we found out about the event online through social media,” said Sandilla. “I’ve always wanted a dog, but before I started recruiting I just didn’t have any stability, really. I was always gone for weeks at a time so I didn’t have the opportunity to get one.”

“When I saw the event online, I saw the picture of the dog (Bosco) and I said, ‘I want that dog!’” Sandilla said. “I immediately came here and asked them to hold this dog for me because I will be here on Veteran’s Day to get him, and they did.”

Bosco was the first dog that Sandilla adopted from Lakeshore PAWS during the 2015 Pets for Vets event, but it wasn’t his last. Sandilla described the first year with Bosco as eventful!

“It was first pet that I’ve ever had so it was definitely a learning experience for me,” Sandilla said.. We went through a lot of couch cushions and pillows, but it’s definitely been a joyful experience. Every day you come home to something that relies on you and loves you so much. It’s definitely been a great experience.”

“So this year, back in August we came back to get our second dog. We were just working a lot and Bosco started to have separation anxiety so he was acting out a lot, and doing things that were uncharacteristic for him. We saw Roxy online here and she had similar markings to Bosco, and had been here for quite a long time. We just thought that if we brought another dog home it would help, and it definitely did the trick because they have each other to be with while we’re at work.”

Morgan Bradley has been with Lakeshore PAWS for over four years and she spoke about the impact they’ve been able to make with Pets for Vets through their partnership with Fifth Third Bank.

“Andrew (Hayes) from Fifth Third Bank approached us last year and asked us if we wanted to partner with them for Pets for Vets to help place homeless animals with veterans in need of dogs,” said Bradley.

To shine a light on Lakeshore PAWS and the Pets for Vets program, Bradley and some staff at LSP had the opportunity to appear on ABC 7 Chicago to bring some attention and awareness to their mission.

“It was really fun and it was great exposure for our Northwest Indiana shelter,” Bradley said. “We’ve been on the news several times over the past week and today we met actress Jane Lynch at Navy Pier. We were invited there this morning and it was just a lot of fun!”

“Last year was our first year and Mike (Sandilla) is a great example of what we’re trying to do. He came in and got his dog and loved the dog so much that he came and got a second. Last year, we had a lady come back in tears saying how amazing the dog that she adopted was, and how she’s never felt so much love from an animal before.”

To find out more about Lakeshore PAWS and all the great things they do to find forever homes for homeless pets, visit their website at: