“Pathetic-looking” rescue dog saves disabled veteran from depression

Frank and Gus

When depression took its toll on a disabled Vietnam veteran whose dog had just died, he knew it was time to save another last-chance rescue dog. In the process, he saved himself. Born in Chicago, Frank was a toddler when his family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1973, he relocated to San Diego, a place where he loves to live and volunteer. In 1974, Frank joined the Navy reserves as a cryptology and radar specialist. He spent 20 months on an aircraft carrier off the Vietnam coast and the remainder of his enlistment as assistant to an admiral in Miramar, California. “I never drilled … [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...]

WWII Marine veteran fearless about pet adoption and life

Bee and Laddie

When the Marines talk about the few and the proud, they obviously had Bee, a WWII veteran in mind. Bee is 88 years young as of this writing and adopted an adult shelter dog who stole her heart. In 1945, Bee enlisted in the Marine Corps and remained in service until the war was over. Because women were not allowed overseas, she worked for a warrant officer as a shipping receiver in Quantico, where the Officers Training Camp was located. Boot camp remains a powerful memory of that time in her life. “It was an unusual choice for women to enlist, but I did it because I was bound and determined. … [Read more...]

Coast Guard and Marines compete to adopt pets

Mike and Makowski

It's on! Coast Guard versus Marines  in a competition to see who can be top dog in adopting pets. Sort of... If you're a Facebook fan, you know that in the morning of December 7 we shared the news that Michael, an active duty Coast Guardsman serving in Virginia, was honorably adopted by a stunning black lab named Makowski. We thank our partners at the Portsmouth Humane Society for helping us create this dynamic duo. Michael's wife, Theresa, summed up their feelings: Thank you for all of your help and support in helping us get the newest member of our family! We love Makowski very much … [Read more...]

Coast Guard rescues inspire officer’s dog tale

Israel Parker, Atticus & Roxanne

This is the tale of a Coast Guard officer, a dog lost at sea and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Israel J. Parker serves as a Lieutenant, Junior Grade in the United States Coast Guard. He began writing shortly after becoming a helicopter rescue swimmer for the Coast Guard. At first, he filled his down time with reading. However, as the demands of his job grew more intense, he began keeping a journal and writing short stories. Hero on the high seasAfter graduating from high school, Parker enlisted in the Coast Guard and in 2000 entered their elite Helicopter Rescue Swimmer Program, … [Read more...]

PTSD symptoms in veterans relieved with meditation

Army yoga

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a chronic anxiety disorder that can develop after a person is involved in a traumatic event, such as a sexual or physical assault, a natural disaster, a car accident or combat, and is increasingly common in veterans. Reliving painful events is a common symptom of PTSD and can prove debilitating to those who suffer from it. Flashbacks, a common symptom, transport sufferers back to the moment of the original trauma and bring recurring actions and feelings of the traumatic event. Operation Warrior Wellness is one of the many organizations using … [Read more...]

PCS and your pet

Man hugging dog

A lot happens when a service member receives PCS (Permanent Change of Station) orders, including what to do with the family pet. PCSers need to know the steps to bring their dog or cat along, as well as what alternatives exist to responsibly rehome their loving four-legged family member. Married or single: it matters If you’re married, your dependents are included in PCS orders and everyone moves together. Pets can be included, provided the family notifies the proper military offices and makes arrangements for travel plans, especially flight reservations. The service member is responsible … [Read more...]

Pets are not presents

black dog with bow

Responsible pet adoption during the holidays can be summed up very simply: pets are not presents. Many dogs and cats given as gifts end up at animal shelters shortly after the New Year, facing an uncertain future. You might find it difficult to resist surprising your kid with a puppy or kitten, or presenting a pet to your parents, but the reasons not to do so are more compelling: A pet is forever...or at least a good 10 years. Although lifespan varies by species, breed and other factors, nearly 40% of dogs live more than 10 years and the average indoor cat will live between 12-15 years. The … [Read more...]

Two years connecting veterans and last-chance pets

Pets for Patriots website

At Pets for Patriots, we're offering new ways to connect veterans with last-chance pets as part of a major relaunch in celebration of our two-year anniversary.  Since receiving our not-for-profit status, Pets for Patriots has transformed more than 100 lives of pet and person through our honorable adoption program. Veterans who have benefited from our charity range from a young Air Force couple who saved a three-legged Great Dane to a 90 year-old WWII veteran whose adoption of a little dog named Gizmo was a one-in-a-million event. Since its launch, Pets for Patriots has started its program … [Read more...]

National Adopt a Senior Pet month helps older pets find new homes

Woman and old dog

November is National Adopt a Senior Pet month, during which time the benefits of senior pet adoption are promoted by shelters, rescues and humane societies around the country. At Pets for Patriots, we focus on adult and other “at risk” shelter pets year-round because we know that while many people think they’re less adoptable, they often make the best companions. So what makes a pet a senior? While there’s no absolute standard, many animal welfare organizations and veterinary specialists consider a dog or cat to be a senior citizen after five years of age; for others it’s seven and older. … [Read more...]