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...]

One dollar instant art benefits military charities

One dollar instant art

One dollar is all it takes to change a life. Support a military family. Benefit a military charity. Make a house a home. Just one dollar.  Recently we received a proposal from an innovative young woman who features an interview with a military wife each week on her blog. Through this experience, she learned that most of these women and their families survive on one income from the military. Their husbands' salaries don't come with a budget for "art" - or anything remotely close. They struggle to afford the basics and are left with little or nothing left over for extras. Beauty simply isn't in … [Read more...]

Stigma and superstition plague black pets

black cat

Pity the black dog or black cat waiting when it comes to pet adoption; they have an additional challenge: Black Dog/Black Cat Syndrome. There are many myths, superstitions and stigmas surrounding cats and dogs of the darkest color. For instance, did you know that a black cat crossing your path from right to left is bad luck, but from left to right is said to be good? Were you aware that, according to ancient folklore, the apparitions of black dogs were believed to be the unquiet ghosts of wicked souls? Did you know as well that here and now, in modern times, black dogs and cats are the last … [Read more...]

Three’s family with three-legged dog

Astrid's adoption

Astrid is a three-legged special needs dog honorably adopted by two Air Force service members, Kristina and Johnathon. Her story illustrates why Pets for Patriots is so committed to the adoption of last-chance pets by military families. Our thanks to Kristina for sharing their story with us. I met my husband through the Air Force. We are both enlisted currently stationed at Langley. We fell in love instantly and just work well together. I recently lost my grandmother who was like a mother to me. I was heartbroken. Not long after I had to have surgery on my ankle, resulting in three screws … [Read more...]

What is a service animal?

Service dog

At Pets for Patriots, we get calls from service members, veterans and their caregivers requesting our help to secure service dogs, usually for PTSD. But when we ask if the individual would be better served by a well-mannered companion dog or cat, we're always asked, "What's the difference?" We're so glad you asked. First, a little context. According to the Defense Department, more than 46,000 U.S. military personnel have been wounded in action in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars since March, 2003. The incidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), depression … [Read more...]

Military suicide: one death is too many

Depressed soldier

The U.S. military recognizes September as Suicide Prevention Month to boost awareness of warning signs and knowledge of how to help those in crisis. One service member commits suicide every two days and one attempts suicide every two hours. On average, 18 veterans per day take their own lives. Nearly one thousand former soldiers receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs attempt suicide every month. 2 Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death among Americans and the second leading cause of death in the military.  The statistics are shocking, but research shows that public … [Read more...]

From 9/11 to charity for our heroes

9/11 pin

Ten years ago I didn't know that I would ultimately launch and manage a charity to honor our nation's heroes: our veterans and service members. Like tens of thousands of New Yorkers on September 11, 2001, I was on my way to work on a spectacularly beautiful early fall day. At the time I was a senior strategist for an international brand and marketing consulting firm. I took my usual 6:43am train into the city and emerged from the subway struck by the incredible majesty of the day. The Crayola blue sky, the occasional white puffy cloud and the crisp air of an early autumn morning. One of those … [Read more...]

How pets improve your health

Woman and dog

Companion pets do more than make us smile; they're actually good for our health. From reduced incidence of depression, lower blood pressure and overall stress reduction, a four-legged friend might be the best health plan money can’t buy. At Pets for Patriots, we advocate for the adoption of "last-chance" pets that face near-certain death if not adopted: dogs and cats two years or older, dogs 40+ pounds regardless of age, and special needs pets. Collectively, these are animals that are most often overlooked in shelters, but that have many years of love and life to give. And because most are … [Read more...]

Dogs help spouse survive military life

Buddy

This is written by Kristen Lee Qunell, proud military spouse and Pets for Patriots volunteer. Recipe for a military spouse: 1 1/2 cups patience 1 lb. adaptability 3/4 cup tolerance 1 tsp. courage Dash of adventure Combine the above ingredients. Add 2 tablespoons of elbow grease. Marinate frequently with salty tears. Pour off excess fat. Sprinkle lightly with money. Season the mixture with international spices. "Knead" the dough until payday. Bake 20 years, or until done. ***** I came across this recipe recently while browsing around online and found it quite clever. After I thought … [Read more...]

Almost homeless WWII veteran needs help

Harold Utsler

Harold Utsler is a WWII veteran on the verge of being homeless after being stranded by his family at a Texas airport. A deservedly proud man, at 90 years old Harold is asking for help. When Pets for Patriots first posted news of Harold's predicament in early August, many people expressed astonishment that an elderly veteran would be facing homelessness. The Veterans' Administration estimates that on any given night, 107,000 veterans are homeless and another 1.5 million are at risk due to a variety of factors, such as lack of support networks, poverty or poor living conditions. Inevitably, … [Read more...]