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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]