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...]

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...]

Preparing your home and family for an adopted pet

Military couple and dog

You’ve done your research, budgeted for a new pet, visited animal shelters, found the perfect pet – and now you’re ready to bring your adopted pet home. However, your job as a pet parent is just beginning. You need to prepare your home  and family to help minimize your pet's stress and make it easier for him to adjust to his new life.  Like children, pets need structure and consistency, and will thrive in an environment where they know what is or is not permissible.  Providing a good home for a companion pet involves commitments to bonding, structure and discipline, quality care, safety and … [Read more...]

Three-strike dog makes home run with retired Navy veteran

Gail and Meli

Meli was a shelter dog with three strikes against her who scored a definite home run when she was adopted by a retired Navy veteran in Virginia.  For her entire life Gail always had pets. Growing up in Fayetteville, New York it was "at least two dogs at all times," yet it took four years from the death of her last dog in 2010 for the retired Navy veteran to feel ready to welcome another dog to her family. Deployments and dogs and cats, oh my! During her long career in the Navy, Gail "saw the world." In addition to being stationed across the United States, including Hawaii, she deployed to … [Read more...]

Five ways to honor our military veterans

American flag

At Pets for Patriots, every day is Veterans' Day, but the holiday offers a wonderful opportunity to share a few ways that you can make a difference in the lives of military veterans every day of the year: Visit sick, injured and elderly veterans: many veterans in hospitals, nursing or retirement homes struggle with loneliness and depression, and would welcome someone coming by for a visit. While you can ask the staff beforehand if personal care items or home-baked goods are permitted, the greatest gifts are your time, companionship and willingness to listen. Hire a veteran: veterans … [Read more...]