Air Force veteran saves neglected old dog to give her the life she deserves

Zee and Shelley_400

It's a story with a sad refrain: a neglected old dog (or old cat) sits alone in a shelter, hoping for a second chance at life. For one such dog in a rural Tennessee community, that second chance came in the form of a retired Air Force veteran and longtime animal lover. In the company of dogs Growing up on a farm in a small town in Pennsylvania, Zelva - who likes to be called Zee - always had a strong connection with animals. “They have been a comfort to me most of my life,” she says. Long after her retirement from the military, Zee finally had time to volunteer and dedicate her life … [Read more...]

How a shelter dog made me a better human

Joe grandson and Marley_400

Joe is a Navy Corpsman who served in Vietnam and became a better person thanks to an adult shelter dog named Marley. This is their story, in Joe's own words. Our thanks to our partners at the Sacramento SPCA for helping us make this story possible. Mission not impossible: be a better human About four years ago I began a long and arduous path back to good health. Many years of inactivity, overeating, denial, stinkin’ thinkin’ and misbehaving created someone I no longer liked. With inspiration from my son Anthony and grandson Joey to live a very long life, I sought help from the Veterans … [Read more...]

Sailor, soldier, savior: veteran enjoys life with adopted shelter dog

Keith and Otis

Keith enjoys the distinction of having served his country as a sailor and soldier, but these days his latest mission is giving a second leash on life to a shelter dog he calls his "buddy." At seventeen, Keith enlisted in the Navy Reserves. After completing basic training he was assigned to the USS Rushmore LSD-14, a WWII commissioned Casa Grande-class dock landing ship that operated on steam power.  "I was a broiler operator on the ship," he says. "In order to make the steam to run on, bars of water had to be turned into steam. That's what I did." The young sailor was deployed on two … [Read more...]

Disabled Air Force veteran and “prison dog” put hard times behind them

Jason and Dixie

Disabled as a result of an injury during service, an Air Force veteran started his long healing journey - alone. But a sweet, shy hound in a prison dog training program changed everything, and the pair works daily to put their sad pasts behind them.  A proud career cut short Jason comes from a heritage of military service. His father served in the Air Force for twenty years and, in June of 2005, Jason enlisted with the expectation that he would serve his country for the next two decades as well.  Unfortunately, the young veteran's career as an Air Force structural mechanic was cut short … [Read more...]

Trust helps Vietnam veteran deal with PTSD, loneliness and sobriety

Bob and Trust 2014

Bob fought many battles in Vietnam, but his greatest challenges lie in the decades following his service as he struggled to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), loneliness and maintaining his sobriety. Happy birthday and welcome to the Army In January 1967; it was Bob's birthday and a day that would change his life forever.  “I was drafted on my birthday," he recalls, "I had to report to the Boston Army base on my twentieth birthday.”  By the summer of that same year Bob was in Vietnam.  “My MOS [military occupational specialty] was 11B. A regular infantry guy carrying a … [Read more...]

Rescued dog heals wounds of grief for Iraq war combat veteran

Christopher and Dover

It took a "love at first sight" rescued dog to help an Iraq war combat veteran overcome his grief following the unexpected loss of a beloved pet.  Best friends Christopher was deployed twice to Iraq as an Army Cavalry Scout during his four-year tour of duty. In 2011 and upon completion of his service, he returned to civilian life and found himself in need of a special companion, which he found in a tiny Chihuahua named Oscar. The relationship between Christopher and Oscar, who became the veteran's emotional support animal, was strong and immediate. “I didn’t pick Oscar from a litter or … [Read more...]

Companion dog brings new life to disabled Army veteran and three-time cancer survivor

Leonard and Noodles

A disabled Army veteran who fought back cancer and an adopted companion dog are living proof that caring for and loving one another can be the best medicine. On June 6, 1966, Leonard began his military career with the Army. For the next few years he would be stationed in Germany, where he belonged to a special operations group. Yet that was not the service Leonard originally envisioned for himself.  “I volunteered twice to go to Vietnam,” he says. Twice the Army declined Leonard's requests; he was far too valuable as a trainer. He taught other soldiers hand-to-hand combat, demolitions and … [Read more...]

PTSD veteran and dog with separation anxiety heal together

George Bobby and Patricia

Coping with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) since the Vietnam War and more recently with the death of a beloved pet, an Army veteran finds mutual healing with a shelter dog beset by separation anxiety. Army strong for nearly 20 years George decided to enlist in the Army when the draft started for the Vietnam War. He was a combat engineer and demolition expert and, after serving three years in Germany, decided to reenlist. Shortly thereafter he began studying computers and completed four tours of duty in Korea as a computer operator. Sadly, George was no stranger to the horrors of … [Read more...]

Three-strike dog makes home run with retired Navy veteran

Gail and Meli

Meli was a shelter dog with three strikes against her who scored a definite home run when she was adopted by a retired Navy veteran in Virginia.  For her entire life Gail always had pets. Growing up in Fayetteville, New York it was "at least two dogs at all times," yet it took four years from the death of her last dog in 2010 for the retired Navy veteran to feel ready to welcome another dog to her family. Deployments and dogs and cats, oh my! During her long career in the Navy, Gail "saw the world." In addition to being stationed across the United States, including Hawaii, she deployed to … [Read more...]

In like a lamb: tale of “the perfect dog”

Michael daughter and Emma

The dictionary defines 'lamb' as one who is gentle and innocent, words that describe the 'perfect dog' honorably adopted by Michael, a career Air Force veteran, as a promise to his young daughter. She wanted to prove that she could be responsible to care for a pet of her own, and even spent her allowance to help pay for the dog's adoption fee. Our thanks to Michael for sharing their story.  Emma, the perfect dog I stood there, holding Emma while I signed the paperwork and reflected on her past five months with us. Back in May, a nine-pound mini Dachshund at the shelter climbed in my … [Read more...]