The military working dog: America’s four-legged warrior

U.S. Air Force. Senior Airman Elizabeth Rissmiller.

The military working dog has long been part of America's fighting forces, though recent events have brought renewed public attention to these highly trained canines. This month marks the one year anniversary of SEAL Team Six’s raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. Perhaps no single member of the elite commando team has generated more fascination than Cairo, a military working dog who accompanied the SEALs on this mission. A proud legacy of service For nearly a century, America’s military has put canines to work. During World War I, German and France trained an estimated 50,000 … [Read more...]

PTSD veteran saved by once-abused one-eyed dog

Matthew and Eli

For one veteran coping with PTSD and depression, his saving grace came in the form of a one-eyed dog who had been previously abused. This is his story, in his own words. *** My name is Matthew Goschke; I'm born and raised in Rochester, New York. I've lived here my whole life besides my experiences with the military. I currently run security for the City of Rochester, loss prevention for The Home Depot and am pursuing my paramedic degree. After my military service I found integrating back into civilian life a lot more difficult then I had anticipated. Light at the end of a "very dark" … [Read more...]

Help rescued Afghan dog reach his soldier

Trigger in Afghanistan

A rescued Afghan dog brought to the United States needs help for his final trip: home to his "adopted" soldier. A volunteer pilot with Pilots N Paws contacted us at the suggestion of one of our valued partners, the Michigan Humane Society. We get all kinds of requests for help at Pets for Patriots. Some can be dispatched by simply providing information and resources. Others, like this one, require the help of our friends. Last fall, an Army soldier rescued a dog he befriended in Afghanistan. Trigger, the dog pictured here, is currently in New York after having completed his quarantine … [Read more...]

Military family’s senior dog has date with destiny

Jim and dogs after morning run

One military family's senior dog seems to have had a date with destiny, giving credence to animal lovers who find their pets through rescue and adoption and who say they did not find their companions, but their companions found them. This is the story of one such pet. Archy had it made. He had been safely surrounded with love and care in the arms of a loving military family for 14 years. As is the case with most military families, Archy’s family had moved frequently, including two moves overseas. The dog had been through it all, but last year when his family got orders to fly overseas yet … [Read more...]

Little dogs bring big changes to veterans’ lives

Patriots in their own words

They say it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. We'd suggest it's something slightly different: it's the size of the heart in the dog. So it is with two little dogs that are bringing big changes to the lives of the veterans who gave them a second chance at life. Vietnam veteran finally gets a 'thank you' Bob is a Vietnam Army veteran who served during a period in our nation's history when veterans symbolized a deeply unpopular war. There were no parades, no jubilant welcomes home, no thanks for a job well done. Their return was unceremonious at best … [Read more...]

Dogs give new life to disabled veteran and military spouse

Tank Scout and dad

 This is a story shared with us by a disabled veteran and military spouse whose two dogs, Tank and Scout, give her a renewed sense of purpose in life. Our thanks to Misty her service and for sharing her experiences with us. We wish her husband a safe and speedy return home and thank him for his continued service as well. ***** I am disabled veteran and wife of a Staff Sergeant (SSG) in the Army who is currently deployed in Afghanistan. My health has not been good and there is only one thing that makes me want to face each day:  the love my dogs give me and my love for them. Pets can truly be … [Read more...]

Retired disabled Army dog needs help to walk again

Koady and Santo

Santo is a disabled, retired bomb-sniffing dog recently discharged from the Army and barely able to use his hind legs. His handler and now owner is a three-tour combat veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who, in spite of being recently discharged and currently unemployed, adopted the military working dog (MWD) when he learned that he was going to be killed. Koady, his then-handler and now owner, knows that Santo's keen nose saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers - including his own. Santo's problems starting during his tour in Afghanistan. He was eventually returned to the … [Read more...]

A veteran, a dog and one amazing tale

Gizmo and his new family

If you spend much time with a war veteran discussing his experience, he will invariably mention how the worst part of it was losing so many of his best friends. And, if you listen to a pet owner discuss losing a pet, you will hear a similar refrain: “I feel like I’ve lost my best friend.” It’s a sentiment tinged with sadness and loneliness – a sense of loss and being lost. Tim Peterman knows both all too well. As a veteran of WWII who recently lost his beloved Shih-Tzu, Gizmo, he didn’t know what to do with himself without his buddy. He lost his bearings. His daughter, Sandra, saw the pain. … [Read more...]

Dogs deliver therapy to PTSD/TBI veteran

My pit bull puppies

A disabled Army veteran coping with PTSD and TBI shares her story about how dogs have changed his life. He would like to see the Veterans Administration provide benefits to support pets adopted by veterans for their own self therapy. His story speaks to the heart of what we do at Pets for Patriots in connecting last-chance pets with veterans. Many of our adopters talk about being imperfect or misunderstood, and feel a kinship with unwanted animals that are often described in similar terms. We believe this strong identification with the predicament of an "unwanted" animal is what accounts for … [Read more...]

Rescued dog rescues Vietnam veteran with PTSD

Picture of Bob and rescued dog Trust

Robert (Bob) Quimby didn't know anything about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He didn't know he was affected by what he had seen in Vietnam at all - until one day his boss asked about his combat experiences: "I walked back to my desk and had my first flashback because that wall that had been built up broke down." In 1987, after 13 years working at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Bob resigned and the VA labeled him unemployable. Bob - a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient - says he cried the first time he heard that word. Bob was diagnosed with PTSD in 1989 and has lived … [Read more...]

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