Scrappy rescue dog now Army veteran’s faithful messenger

Koko (Michelle) in garden_cropped

Beneath the matted fur of a scrappy dog surrendered to a Tampa shelter was a messenger with an important tale to tell, both to the Army veteran who saw value in her life and to the many other people whose lives she touches every day. Born to serve Michelle served in the Army from 1986-1989 as a Military Intelligence Officer. Stationed in Wildflecken, Germany, she was the “eyes and ears” of a front-line infantry division during the Cold War. Michelle enjoyed her time in the military, noting that her best memory was working as a Platoon Leader when she first arrived in Germany. “We were … [Read more...]

Shelter dog a blessing to Army family and their autistic son

Joe and Rocky

A shelter dog proved an unlikely hero to an Army family and their autistic son, giving both boy and dog a second chance and bringing many blessings to everyone in the household. Globe-trotting military family loses one of their own Joe is assigned to the U.S. Special Operations Command out of MacDill Air Force Base. Since 1989, he has served in the United States Army and traveled the world with his wife, Stephanie, their two sons, Chance and Cole, and the family's Siberian Husky, Abby. The dog was part of every Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, traveling to … [Read more...]

Sugar sweet princess a savior to Vietnam veteran with PTSD

Paul Mindy and Sugar

For most of his life Paul has been coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition estimated to afflict more than 30 percent of all Vietnam veterans. No stranger to the comforting presence that companion pets can bring to their people, Paul's decision to adopt a rescued dog was not a surprising one. Yet in doing so the Vietnam veteran never imagined that one sweet older dog would not only touch his life as much as she does, but would inspire his entire northeast Florida community as well. Brooklyn born peacemaker drafted to war Paul grew up in an Italian-Jewish neighborhood … [Read more...]

Pit Bull helps Afghanistan veteran go from battlefront to home front

Aaron and Waffles napping

It's a hard-knock, post-Army life Ask veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan about their greatest challenge and many will say the adjustment from battlefront to home front. One such veteran has an adopted Pit Bull to thank for helping him make the transition to his post-Army life.  Dunkin was a relatively young and fairly large Pit Bull waiting for his second chance at an Alabama shelter. In reality, Pit Bulls are not a breed unto themselves, but are comprised of a variety of dog breeds with similar physical traits. They are among the most misunderstood types of dogs and, as a result, most prone … [Read more...]

The soldier and the stray

Jeremy and Gannon

When Jeremy's dreams of a military career were cut short the Army veteran was in desperate need a companion. He found one in a once-stray dog who needed hope and a home as much as Jeremy needed a friend. "The greatest time of my life" In 2009, Jeremy joined the Army with "every intention to make it a career." Just 22 at the time, it had been a lifelong dream to serve his country and he believed that military service would be "the best thing" for him. The Army did not disappoint. "I have been all over the world and been to many different locations," he says, adding, "Greatest time of my … [Read more...]

Third generation soldier first time adopter and hero to senior dog

Andrew and Nikita edited

You could say the Army is in Andrew's DNA. The third generation soldier is a career National Guardsman, and recently became a first time pet adopter to a senior dog who needed a hero. Born to serve Andrew joined the Army National Guard during high school and completed basic training shortly after graduation. In 2012 he was deployed to Afghanistan and, since his return home in 2013, has been serving as an operations planner for the recruiting section. The career soldier followed his father and grandfather into military service.  “Twelve years now I’ve been Guard,” he explains. "I am third … [Read more...]

Combat veteran adapts to civilian life with second-chance Pit Bull pup

Chase (Montrell) and the girls_cropped

It was a tough decision for an Army combat veteran to bring a Pit Bull into his young family, but his decision to give the much-maligned breed a second chance paid off for all involved.  Army strong, Army proud One year after the 9/11 terror attacks Montrell joined the United States Army. It was September 2002 when he enlisted and was subsequently stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia with the 3rd Infantry Division. Formed in 1917, the unit has become one of our nation's top military units for dealing with contingencies around the world. Early in 2003 Montrell arrived at Fort Stewart March … [Read more...]

From homeless to hopeful for Army veteran and abused dog

Desiree and Bullet 2

Desiree is an Army veteran who has triumphed over adversity more than once in her lifetime, including a time when she was homeless. Her inner strength and ability to persevere are qualities she shares with Bullet, an abused dog who chose the veteran above all others. A spontaneous decision Desiree calls her decision to join the Army one weekend in 1981 a “spontaneous decision.” She was 20 years old and “just wanted to get away and see the world.” This impromptu career move resulted in three years of Cold War-era service as an administrative specialist – or “glorified typist,” as Desiree … [Read more...]

Loss bonds grieving Army veteran and senior shelter cat

Jonathan and Tessa on floor_square

Jonathan can easily pinpoint the most difficult moment of his life: watching his 12 year-old cat Ziggy pass away in his arms. Despite his loss, the Army veteran was unwilling to let grief consume him. He made a decision to honor Ziggy's life by opening his heart to a senior shelter cat - a tortoiseshell beauty named Tessa. Army strong Jonathan joined the Army Reserves in February of 2005 in order to become an x-ray technologist. After undergoing Basic Training in Fort Knox, Kentucky, he completed his Advanced Individual Training (AIT) while serving at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and Fort … [Read more...]

Pit Bull dog in shelter for more than 450 days til Army war veteran brings him home

Patrick and Oliver

A Pit Bull dog who spent more than 450 days in a shelter, more than half of his life, is rescued by an Army war veteran coping with PTSD who found purpose in companion pets despite not being sure he was ready to care for them. Go ahead, kid; make my day Patrick enlisted in the Army to follow in the footsteps of his stepfather, uncle and grandfathers. “They served their country and I couldn’t think of a better way to honor their service than to sign up myself,” he says. “I can drive a variety of vehicles and was assigned to a postal unit overseas. I transported incoming mail throughout … [Read more...]