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...]

How a shelter dog made me a better human

Joe grandson and Marley_400

Joe is a Navy Corpsman who served in Vietnam and became a better person thanks to an adult shelter dog named Marley. This is their story, in Joe's own words. Our thanks to our partners at the Sacramento SPCA for helping us make this story possible. Mission not impossible: be a better human About four years ago I began a long and arduous path back to good health. Many years of inactivity, overeating, denial, stinkin’ thinkin’ and misbehaving created someone I no longer liked. With inspiration from my son Anthony and grandson Joey to live a very long life, I sought help from the Veterans … [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...]

How to keep pets healthy during winter

Dog with big ears

Keeping pets active, safe and stimulated throughout the winter months promotes mental and physical health, and offers opportunities to strengthen bonds between person and pet. While pet parents might be content to curl up on the couch with a mug of hot cocoa and a movie daydreaming of warmer climes, dogs and cats need other ways to stave off winter boredom and physical complacency.  Winter pet safety Keep outdoor time to a minimum: Limit your pet’s outdoor time during the winter, especially when the temperature dips below freezing. Pets are at higher risk of frostbite, especially on … [Read more...]

Disabled Air Force veteran and “prison dog” put hard times behind them

Jason and Dixie

Disabled as a result of an injury during service, an Air Force veteran started his long healing journey - alone. But a sweet, shy hound in a prison dog training program changed everything, and the pair works daily to put their sad pasts behind them.  A proud career cut short Jason comes from a heritage of military service. His father served in the Air Force for twenty years and, in June of 2005, Jason enlisted with the expectation that he would serve his country for the next two decades as well.  Unfortunately, the young veteran's career as an Air Force structural mechanic was cut short … [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...]