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...]

Instincts bond Purple Heart Vietnam veteran and once-abused dog

Tim and Melanie

Trying to adjust to a civilian lifestyle became a painful challenge for Timothy, a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient whose only refuge lay with the many dogs and cats that he brought into his life after the war. Even now, he describes those animals as “the only friends I had.” Tragically, this refuge was taken away from Timothy when his wife at the time got rid of his pets against his will.  Years later, Timothy has found solace and comfort again in Melanie, an intensely caring and loyal Great Pyrenees adopted through Pets for Patriots’ partnership with the Humane Society of West … [Read more...]

Benefits of adopting senior pets

Bunny

Your new best friend might be anyone but new; he or she just might be a senior pet. November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month and a time worth considering the many benefits of senior pet adoption. Mature dogs and cats have many advantages when compared to their younger counterparts, yet are often the first to face death or permanent homelessness as adopters overlook them in favor of puppies and kittens. How older pets end up in shelters in the first place While senior pets are in shelters for many of the same reasons as younger animals, they are often surrendered or abandoned simply … [Read more...]

Veteran with depression takes chance on shelter dog

Charles and Chance selfie

Charles is an Air Force veteran who suffered with a deep and prolonged depression until he took a chance - on a shelter dog named Chance - and regained a sense of purpose in his life. Our thanks to Charles for sharing his tale, and to Big Dog Ranch Rescue for helping us make this story possible. Chance was shipped to Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Wellington, Florida from a high kill shelter in Georgia. He had only been there a few days when we made our trip to meet some potential dogs available for adoption. We knew right away he was the one.  I served in the United States Air Force for six years … [Read more...]

A friendly ghost helps an Army officer manage his PTSD

Pedro and Ghost

It took a four-legged "ghost" with an ever-wagging tail to help an Army officer cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In the process, the shelter dog - coping with stresses of his own - found a new life as a much loved and constant companion. Born to serve Pedro knew from a very young age that he wanted to join the military; watching movies and seeing soldiers on the street made a lasting impression on him. “Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a soldier,” he recalls. “I wanted to put that uniform on.”  Eventually when Pedro came of age he learned more about serving in the … [Read more...]

Understanding the “special” in special needs pets

Jeffrey (active duty Navy) and Gucci

Special needs pets are among the most challenging for shelters and rescue groups to adopt out,  and many never find a loving home. Yet your perfect companion might just have her own pair of wheels to get around, or rely on visual commands instead of verbal ones.Three legs, one eye and limitless loveIn a survey conducted by Petfinder, it was found that these dogs and cats often wait four times longer than average to be adopted – a long time spent without a family, security and unconditional love, and all due to reasons beyond the animal’s control. These dogs and cats are overlooked because of … [Read more...]

Dark memories haunt, and bind, Vietnam veteran and adopted dog

Jerome and Scruffy

As an Army veteran of the Vietnam War who had worked tirelessly his entire life, Jerome found himself struggling to stay busy during retirement. Work was his only antidote for keeping the dark memories of war at bay and, with his wife Suzanne still working, he became accustomed to spending most of his days alone with her dog Lexi. Yet Jerome wanted to a companion of his own - a loyal friend he could adopt and call “my dog." Fixing helos in NamAfter studying auto mechanics and engine repair at Wolverine Trade School in Detroit, Jerome joined the Army in 1966 at the age of 18. He then spent an … [Read more...]

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