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...]

Post-9/11 Army veteran adds “awesome” shelter dog to his pack

Jason and Cocoa

Jason served in the shadows of 9/11, joining the Army and, after service, saving the life of an "awesome" little shelter dog named Cocoa. In the early days of August 2001, Jason made the life-altering decision to enlist into the United States Army. He worked in Washington, DC while awaiting his entry date and, on September 11, 2001, could see and smell smoke that he later learned was the Pentagon catastrophe only two miles away. As the national tragedy wore on, Jason found out that some of his family had escaped the World Trade Center destruction.Shaken to his core by these tragic events, … [Read more...]

WWII hero won over by special needs cat

Roy and Hank

A WWII hero coping with loneliness after the death of his wife of 64 years was chosen, and ultimately won over, by a very special, special needs cat.No guts, no gloryIt was 1944 and Roy headed off to school like he did every day. Little did he know this would be no ordinary day, one that would shape the rest of his life. As the teen settled into class, men in military uniforms entered the room and asked if anyone wanted to enlist in the Army before being required to register for the draft upon turning eighteen. “I wasn’t too smart in school. I was having a tough time so I said yes. Two days … [Read more...]

Shelter dog helps disabled Army veteran learn to trust again

Venice and Rico

Rico barely tips the scale at eight pounds, but this once homeless shelter dog is worth his weight in gold for helping a disabled Army veteran regain her trust in others.Army strong and proud to serveVenice served 10 years in the United States Army as a 92Y Supply Sergeant, during which time she was stationed at various posts stateside including Ft. Lewis, Ft. Hood, Ft. Polk and Ft. Benning - in addition to serving overseas in Germany, Bosnia and in Operation Desert Storm. The Army veteran trained troops in Kosovo, as well.Having already taken on a role with vigorous demands, Venice reflected … [Read more...]

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...]

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