Reporting for duty: how companion pets help military veterans

Dog at soldiers feet

Companion pets help people, military veterans included, in various ways and through many life stages. Among well-established physical benefits are lower cholesterol, blood pressure and triglyceride levels, while emotional impacts include fewer feelings of loneliness and depression. While not every circumstance is unique to military service, there are distinct junctures in a veteran's life when a companion pet might be just what the doctor ordered: Transitioning from service to civilian life Upon separating from service, many veterans feel lost without the structure, discipline and routine … [Read more...]

How to keep pets safe during the winter holidays

Christmas cat

Pets for Patriots urges all pet owners to take precautions to keep their pets safe during the winter holidays. While we're busy ringing in good cheer and the New Year, pets can have access to potentially dangerous food and holiday decor, and can be stressed by changes in their routine, environment or unfamiliar guests who may not know how to interact with your dog or cat. From 'ho ho ho' to 'no no no:' indoor holiday threats Baking chocolate: a single ounce of baking chocolate, also known as baker's chocolate, can be lethal to a small dog or cat. While all chocolate is dangerous to your … [Read more...]

Army veteran rejoins life with help of adopted cats

Richard and Taji

Richard is an Army veteran whose family doubled in size when he and his wife were honorably adopted by two cats from the Monmouth County SPCA. Little did he realize at the time that in saving the cats, they would become a lifeline for his wife when Richard prepared his return to active duty service. In the Army, being all he could be Richard was just 17 years old when he enlisted in the Army. He was stationed at Fort Drum, New York as a forward observer and deployed to Afghanistan for a year. What he appreciates the most about his Army service is that it challenged him to fulfill his … [Read more...]

Army family finds joy in second chance cat

Martin and Heart

It was an adopted second chance cat that helped an Army veteran and family man keep a promise to his young daughter. The commitment Martin is an Army veteran who lives in Shelby Township, Michigan with his wife, an Army recruiter, and their six year-old daughter. He is currently a police training officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Detroit. For years, Martin’s daughter had begged her parents for a kitten. However, with two family dogs – a Yellow Labrador and a Beagle-Jack Russell Terrier mix – Martin and his wife felt they already had enough to handle, and promised … [Read more...]

Adopted cat is chatty pet friend to Navy veteran

Deborah and Katie J

A Navy veteran adopted an adult cat in order to have someone to talk to, and got a pet friend who actually talks back. Loss and loneliness lead to pet adoption Deborah, a Navy veteran, traveled the world during her tour of duty during Vietnam. She hoped to have a long military career, but it was cut short after one tour due a medical problem. Realizing that pets are naturally therapeutic, Deborah adopted a cat - who then lived for 23 years. His loss was painful, like losing an old friend, and the Vietnam veteran felt the pain of his absence. Her husband is based in Minnesota for his job … [Read more...]

How to make sure your pet is safe when you deploy

Woman and dog

You entrust a friend to make sure that your pet is safe and sound while you deploy, only to discover upon your return that your beloved Fluffy or Fido has been surrendered to a shelter, sold or given away. Because "friends" like this exist, military pet parents have a unique responsibility to make proper, legally binding arrangements to assure the health and safety of their pets - and to have confidence that their four-legged family members will be there when they return from deployment. Deployment boarding There are reputable organizations whose sole focus is providing short- and long-term … [Read more...]

Rescued cat heals the soul of Desert Storm veteran

Erik and Brazil smiling

One rescued tabby cat returned the favor of being saved by healing the soul of the disabled Desert Storm veteran who adopted her.  Desert Storm takes its toll For more than two years, Erik served as a 13M Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launcher driver with B 1/27 FA in Babenhausen, Germany. In December 1990, he was deployed to the Gulf where he fought in Desert Storm, returning to Germany nearly eight months later.  While one of the more positive, memorable experiences from his time in the service was witnessing the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Desert Storm veteran holds other … [Read more...]

Adoption of ‘unwanted’ cats inspires Navy couple to help people in need

Kathy and Bear

A bonded pair of unwanted, senior cats are lucky to be alive, thanks to a pair of Navy veterans who adopted them after finding their empty nest a bit too empty. The experience turned out to be a catalyst in their lives, motivating them to help people who often live on the fringes of society.  An OIF/OEF Navy veteran comes home Kathy and her husband, Jim, are both retired from the Navy. Collectively they served nearly thirty years, including overseas tours in Bermuda, Iceland, Wales and Pakistan, the latter of which holds one of Kathy’s most memorable experiences. “My short time in Pakistan … [Read more...]

Navy veteran and dog lover becomes a “cat guy”

Joseph and Bo

Joe is a veteran and dog lover who long hoped to bring a shelter dog into his life, so he was surprised to discover his inner "cat guy" - much like another Pets for Patriots member who learned that an adult cat could be as healing as a canine. He is a Navy Corpsman who served in Vietnam on the ground with the Marines and in blue water aboard ship. As it happens, it was an adult cat named Bo Baby who changed Joe's world when the two adopted one another through our partnership with the Sacramento SPCA. We share excerpts from Joe's updates to Ted Whitcomb (Marine Corps veteran, member patriot … [Read more...]

Long after WWII and Korea, Bronze Star veteran still saving lives

James and Mandy 1

For one Bronze Star veteran of both WWII and the Korean War, the lure to save homeless pets has meant a house always full of whiskers and wet noses. James, a retired Army veteran, served in both World World II and the Korean War. He worked his way up the ranks of the Army’s Officer Candidate School (OCS) and graduated from Fort Benning as a Second Lieutenant. He calls himself one of the “90-day wonders” – a term describing junior officers during World War II and, when numerous officers were moved quickly through OCS, often during other times of war. Although trained as a ball turret or … [Read more...]

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