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...]

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...]

Calm, cool canine helps Army veteran make connections

Mary and Rocky

A homeless canine with a cool demeanor was just what one Army veteran needed to step out of her comfort zone and start making connections with "the best friend I could have hoped for." Cats before canine Mary grew up in Maine and joined the United States Army after graduating high school in 1978. She was sent to Massachusetts, Texas, and Georgia, and spent two years in Germany working in military intelligence at a post on the East German border. She continued moving around after leaving the service in 1982, and while she had grown up with dogs in the family – mixed-breeds, a Beagle, a German … [Read more...]

Army soldier combats loneliness with “the perfect dog”

Frank and Sam

As a young Army soldier, Frank was not prepared for the loneliness he faced when he and his wife were relocated by the military to a place where the pair had no family or friends. In true Army strong spirit, he battled the blues by adopting a homeless hound who would become "the perfect dog."  A passion to serve In 2012, Frank joined the United States Army as a Watercraft Engineer. After attending basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, he and his wife relocated to Newport News, Virginia, where Frank is stationed at the sprawling Joint Base Langley-Eustis. It was pure heart that … [Read more...]

Both abandoned, combat veteran and rescue dog save each other

Will and Shae

A two-tour Army combat veteran who lost everything when his wife abandoned him reclaims his life with the help of a rescue dog desperate for a second chance. Injured in service and abandoned at home In 2005, Will enlisted in the National Guard and deployed to Kosovo in June of 2006 on a peacekeeping mission. Three years later he was deployed to Afghanistan where - as part of an infantry division out of Massachusetts - he connected with some of the same soldiers he served with in Kosovo. During his Afghanistan tour and while descending a fuel truck ladder, Will injured his back when the … [Read more...]

Adult shelter dog a “light of life” for Army veteran and his wife

George and Ruxin

Ruxin was an adult shelter dog like so many others, wanting nothing more than a secure life in a loving home. In 2013, just before Christmas, the shelter dog got his wish: an Army veteran and his wife - still reeling from the loss of their beloved dog - were smitten by this two year-old Beagle mix. The rest, as they say, is history. In 2005, George retired, many years after his service in the Army Finance Unit. He was drafted in 1958 and recalls one of his most memorable times in the military, when he was serving in Budingen, Germany. "While there I was able to visit with my parents' … [Read more...]

9/11 rescuer and Iraq war veteran combats loneliness with feline battle buddy

Steven and Simon

When the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11, Steven left his home in Chicago to join the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero for three weeks, an experience that inspired him to enlist in the Army. But it was a four-legged, feline battle buddy that helped him combat the loneliness of his post-military life. While in the Army, Steven served as a Blackhawk crew chief for six years, and flew more than 1,000 hours over Iraq over the course of two deployments. Despite being twice deployed, his most memorable military experience occurred stateside. Following the 2010 mass shooting at Fort … [Read more...]

Screaming Eagle promises homeless dog a “fulfilling life”

Josh and Panzer

Joshua is an Army combat veteran who served five years with the 101st Airborne, including a yearlong deployment to Iraq. He returned to an empty home that is now complete after adopting a homeless adult dog aching for a second chance at life. The former Screaming Eagle joined the Army out of high school. One of the most memorable moments of his military service when he was deployed to Iraq between February 2003 and February 2004. "We had an arms market in the area of Baghdad we were located. Every time we would patrol, the weapons would disappear," he explains. "So I had the idea to roll in, … [Read more...]