CHICAGO (CBS) — Veterans Day proved to be lucky for some area cats and dogs! They got new homes, as shelters across Illinois paired pets with servicemen and women in the first-ever statewide “Pets for Vets.”

14 different locations across the state held a free adoption day Saturday.

The event is a reincarnation of a program through the Illinois Comptroller’s office. The late Judy Baar Topinka — former State Treasurer and Comptroller — created “Comptroller’s Critters.” Her friend and successor, Susana Mendoza, restarted the program and invited Topinka’s son, who is retired from the Army, to the event.

“As somebody that was involved in healthcare for half my career in the military, I can tell you, dogs are critical part of that,” Joe Topinka said.

According to Mendoza, from a fiscal perspective, when Illinois has less animals in shelters, it costs the state less money.

The shelters who participated include: Animal Protective League, Animal Welfare League, CatNap from the Heart, Chicago Animal Care and Control, Foster2Home, Humane Society of Central Illinois, Metro East Humane Society, Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, PAWS Chicago, Peoria County Animal Protection Services, Project Hope Humane Society, Quad Cities Animal Welfare Center, Quincy Humane Society and South Suburban Humane Society.

Shelters waived the normal $65 adoption fee to Veterans who showed discharge papers or a military ID.