Two veterans, two dogs, two miracle companion pet adoptions

Michael and Kara going home

Every life we touch through our work is a blessing. In the span of less than one week, two veterans adopted two dogs through two different shelter partners in two separate states. Yet all involved - pet and person -  needed the same thing: unconditional love. In the end, we had two miracle companion pet adoptions. Stray, abused dog lifts an Army veteran out of depression Michael is medically retired from the Army and now lives in Alabama. Like many veterans, he spent about one year after his discharge "not knowing what to do, not feeling comfortable." Admittedly he has a lot on his … [Read more...]

Bronze Star veteran shines with four-legged battle buddy by his side

Chris and Darla

After three combat tours in Iraq, a Bronze Star Army veteran becomes a hero of a different stripe: to an adult dog who would become his new battle buddy as he transitioned to civilian life. Inspired to service by Vietnam War POW During nearly a decade of service, Chris traveled the world. Originally from Oklahoma, the young Army veteran started his military career at Fort Carson, Colorado with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 4th Infantry Division (ID). Over the years he would deploy to the Middle East,  and serve in more than a dozen countries around the globe before finishing his … [Read more...]

Healing at both ends of the leash for disabled veteran and special needs dog

Lizbeth (Dewey)_400

Dewey is a disabled Vietnam veteran who came to the realization that he "needed a therapy dog to help fight depression." At the same time he had a strong desire to help a dog in need, so he returned to the Michigan Humane Society where he and his wife had previously adopted companion pets. "I knew at the "Michigan Humane Society there was a dog that needed the therapy of a home and love," Dewey says. As it turns out that dog was Lizbeth: a 30-pound, nearly purebred Beagle with loving brown eyes.  The Vietnam veteran's first encounter with Lizbeth was nothing short of "love at first sight," … [Read more...]

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...]

Army veteran adopts blind three-legged dog crippled by animal cruelty

Crixus (Shawn) closeup_400

There are few happy endings for dogs and cats who are the subjects of human cruelty. Luckily for a then six week-old puppy left to die in the streets of Detroit, his hero came in the person of an Army veteran who learned about his story and felt compelled to save him.  Our partners at the Michigan Humane Society received a call about a dog who had possibly been hit by a car. Upon examination, it was determined that the young Shepherd mix had been shot with a BB gun. The dog's x-rays revealed a BB lodged next to the his spine, rendering one of his hind legs completely useless. Unable to … [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...]

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...]

Army veteran finds renewed purpose with “less adoptable” shelter dog

Ryan and Diesel

Following a divorce and separation from his military friends, an Army veteran found renewed purpose and companionship in the company of a shelter dog many would consider less adoptable because of his breed and size.  Ryan joined the military right out of high school. His first Military Occupation Specialty, or MOS, was as a 13B cannon crew member, which satisfied his desire to have a combat arms job yet not be infantry. He was soon stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany, but his longer term goal was to finish his military career in Colorado Springs. Some of his most memorable military experiences, … [Read more...]