WWII hero won over by special needs cat

Roy and Hank

A WWII hero coping with loneliness after the death of his wife of 64 years was chosen, and ultimately won over, by a very special, special needs cat.No guts, no gloryIt was 1944 and Roy headed off to school like he did every day. Little did he know this would be no ordinary day, one that would shape the rest of his life. As the teen settled into class, men in military uniforms entered the room and asked if anyone wanted to enlist in the Army before being required to register for the draft upon turning eighteen. “I wasn’t too smart in school. I was having a tough time so I said yes. Two days … [Read more...]

Send in the Marines: Pets for Patriots celebrates 600th honorable adoption

Andrew Briana and Belle adoption

Someone decided to send in the Marines - and the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard - to make possible our 600th honorable adoption of a United States military veteran and a last-chance shelter pet.Although we serve men and women from all United States armed forces and at any stage of their careers, it was an active duty Marine who had the distinction of becoming the 600th pairing of pet and person since Pets for Patriots launched in 2010. The few, the proudAndrew knew early in life that he was destined to lead."I realized after high school and trying a few different career fields that what … [Read more...]

Shelter dog helps disabled Army veteran learn to trust again

Venice and Rico

Rico barely tips the scale at eight pounds, but this once homeless shelter dog is worth his weight in gold for helping a disabled Army veteran regain her trust in others.Army strong and proud to serveVenice served 10 years in the United States Army as a 92Y Supply Sergeant, during which time she was stationed at various posts stateside including Ft. Lewis, Ft. Hood, Ft. Polk and Ft. Benning - in addition to serving overseas in Germany, Bosnia and in Operation Desert Storm. The Army veteran trained troops in Kosovo, as well.Having already taken on a role with vigorous demands, Venice reflected … [Read more...]

Navy sailor throws lifeline to ‘scaredy cat’

Autumn and Fidget

Autumn is a young Navy sailor with an adventurous spirit who never hesitated when given the opportunity to adopt Fidget - a shy, yet loving six year-old 'scaredy cat.'Opposites do attractUpon returning from Kuwait, her first overseas deployment, Autumn received orders to station in Norfolk, Virginia. With the understanding that she would be anchored in one place for the foreseeable future came the desire for the type of friendship that only a pet could offer.“I wanted a furry companion,” Autumn says. “My apartment is too small for a dog, so I went with a cat.” The Navy Reservist started her … [Read more...]

Vietnam veteran helps people and pets find their way

John and Tasha

John is a Vietnam veteran who wonders if he has a story to tell.“I’m one of the lucky ones who came out of combat unscathed, both physically and mentally," he says. “I thank G-d every day for that.”Nevertheless, John does have a tale. He helps people and pets find their way, first as a radar installation supervisor in Vietnam and then as a teacher, author, career development consultant and pet parent. Companion pets have always found their way into his life.Showing the way in wartimeJohn feels deeply for veterans who haven’t been able to fully reconnect with society and who suffer from … [Read more...]

Elderly Army veteran beats the blues with shelter dog

Gerald and Tiger

An Army combat veteran of the Korean War and self-described “last man standing” fought back loneliness with a shelter dog named Tiger. Gerald has distinct memories of Korea, where he served with the 82nd Anti Aircraft Artillery (82nd AAA) based out of the 38th parallel. A lot of life transpired between his time in the Army and where he is today – 81, divorced and largely alone – but life changed radically and for the better when he adopted a companion pet.  “He made up for company I have now compared to being all alone. I’ve got him and he’s got me,” he says. “He’s not human and sometimes … [Read more...]

Dog on heavenly mission a final faithful friend to Vietnam combat veteran

Gary and Marley_adoption

Mark Twain once said that if heaven was a reward to be earned, “you would stay out and your dog would go in.” Clearly the iconic author never met Gary, a combat veteran of Vietnam who believed his recently adopted shelter dog was heaven sent. We have no doubt that Gary’s life and extraordinary service earned him a heavenly perch as well. Gary died suddenly on June 22, 2014, just days after being interviewed for this story.  At the request of his wife, Mary, and in keeping with Gary’s wishes, we are sharing his tale. Joining the fight It was 1964 and Gary had just graduated high school. He … [Read more...]

How Lola lost her leg and embraced life

Lola on green after surgery

Lola was eight years old when her parents learned she would have to lose a leg to survive. How she embraced life without a leg is inspiring to pet parents everywhere, and hopefully to the many veterans who lose limbs as a result of their military service. It is often said that we have much to learn from the four-legged wonders we call family. Thanks to our staffer, Susan, for sharing her family's journey. Not so happy New Year: Lola will lose her leg Two dear friends are visiting. We’re watching a movie, The Way, Way Back. It’s funny. The company is terrific. The wine is flowing. Then Lola, … [Read more...]

Shelter dog helps Navy sailor expand her world

Jessica and Henley

A Navy sailor found her world feeling limited and lonely, but that all changed when an adopted shelter dog opened her eyes to the life she was missing. A lonely military life Jessica is currently serving in her second enlistment, and for the next three years is stationed at a shore-based training center in San Diego. She previously served on board the USS Boxer and MSRON 5, both of which took her far from familiar shores. “So far my most memorable experience has been pulling into port after spending 110 days out to sea," says Jessica. "It was the biggest relief and a bit of a culture shock … [Read more...]

Retired Army veteran finds love and acceptance in adopted dog

Duane and Lizzy

Duane is an Army veteran who, like many of his era, received little appreciation for his service. Following the death of a beloved pet, he adopted a little dog who gave him what he needed most: love and acceptance. A proud military career After serving in the Army from 1971-2006, Duane retired as a Sergeant Major. From his more than 20-year career he has his share of memories – some good, some bad – including a fond recollection of the Koreans who lived near where he was stationed. Having served there for a year, he had come to appreciate many of the locals and their way of life. “You’re on … [Read more...]

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