A Kamloops fraternity is raising money to pair animals who need a home with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Kappa Sigma member Justin Bourke came up with the idea after his two cats helped him through a tough phase a few years ago. His grandfather had just died and Bourke was forced to drop out of school due to financial difficulties.

"I would come home and just sit on the couch all day," he said.

But he had two companions, cats Jager and Leo, to keep him company.

"Having one of my cats, just even sit near me, purring ... knowing that they're content, makes me feel more content."

Bourke says some days that experience can help him feel better in just a few minutes.

"I can go from depressed to happy and content in five, 10 minutes."

Helping veterans

Some veterans experience PTSD as a result of being in conflict zones, and Bourke says animals looking for a home can help a veteran looking for a purpose.

"I want them to have the feeling, when they're lost, that somebody is there," he said.

"Even a little bit of love from an animal can make things better for them — can make them feel a lot less lonely."

Bourke is aiming to raise about $800 to cover one year's worth of food and vet costs for a dog or cat.

He plans to team up with the SPCA to ensure the right animal goes home with a deserving veteran.

To listen to the ful interview, click the link labelled: Kamloops fraternity to pair pets with veterans.

With files from Jenifer Norwell