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...]

Abused dog finds love in dual-Marine family

Rella (Caleigh)

For one abused adult dog aptly named Cinderella, a Marine Corps family provided the fairy tale ending she deserved.  “Life is better with a dog or two,” says Caleigh, a proud Marine reservist, military spouse and – if that wasn’t enough – mother to two young boys and now, two rescue dogs. Saving the first dog from abuse To help cope with the challenges of life as a military spouse, in 2009 Caleigh adopted Cadence, a female shepherd mix. The dog had been abused and was ridden with heartworm. In the years since, Cadence’s physical health recovered and she became more secure in the loving … [Read more...]

Vietnam veteran saves death row dog

Roger and Sugar Bear

Long after serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, a quiet, unassuming veteran became a hero to a death row dog. From 1961-1964, Roger served in the 25th infantry division in Hawaii in preparation to deploy to Vietnam. He was discharged before his division was sent overseas, and used his time in Hawaii to travel and marry. Eventually he and his bride left for the mainland, where Roger worked for a time as a military training instructor in Indianapolis. Unlike his fiery, Colombian wife, Jacquie, Roger is a soft spoken man, but the pair is identical in one respect: their love of dogs. The … [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...]

Adopted Retriever mix fetches a Navy nurse

Kaitlin and Cooper

It was an adopted adult Retriever mix with "puppy dog" eyes that helped one Navy nurse feel more at home with her new life in the military. Kaitlin serves in the Navy out of Portsmouth, Virginia and is the proud "mom" of honorably adopted Cooper, an enthusiastic and loving six year-old Retriever mix. A recent college graduate, Kaitlin joined the Navy after completing her schooling in May of 2012. She currently works as a nurse at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth and “loves every minute of it.” While she finds it hard to think of one specific event as her most memorable in the military … [Read more...]

Healing at both ends of the leash for combat veteran and shelter dog

Vaughan Annie and Max

Companion pet adoption can offer much-needed healing, at both ends of the leash, for veterans coping with the invisible wounds of combat as well as for the pets they save. This is the story of a dog twice surrendered to a Colorado shelter who found his forever family, and a purpose: helping an Army combat veteran adjust to the challenges of coming home from war. High anxiety after return from combat After being together with his high school sweetheart for more than a decade, Vaughan married and, around the same time, joined the Army. In 2011, just a year into their marriage, he was deployed … [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...]

Rescued dog fills void of Navy sailor’s deployment

Bethany Maysie and son

A rescued dog stands guard for one Navy family when their sailor dad, Carl, leaves on deployment. Thanks to our partnership with the Norfolk Animal Care & Adoption Center for making this honorable adoption possible, and to Carl's wife, Bethany, for sharing their story. About ten months ago we were honorably adopted by Maysie, an Australian shepherd.  My husband had just left on deployment at the time, but as soon as I sent him her picture at the shelter, we all knew she had to come home with us. She has since blossomed in the household and since his return in December, has completely … [Read more...]

Each suffering a loss, Navy man and shelter dog find each other

Chris and Sophie

Chris currently serves in the Navy and tells how his recent Pets for Patriots adoption of a surrendered shelter dog changed his life after suffering the loss of his beloved senior dog. He is writing to our executive director, Beth Zimmerman. Hi Beth,  Here is our picture from the day I picked Sophie up.  My first dog, Samantha, was with me for 12 years. I adopted her as an Ensign and she's been with me no matter where I was stationed in the world. She was in Norfolk with me for 9 years, then in San Diego for one-and-a-half years, one year in Bahrain, six months in Monterey, and then 15 … [Read more...]

Vietnam veteran gives blind dog the gift of sight: another dog

Lady Gaga Sam Kenneth and Roxy on couch

Most of us know about guide dogs for blind people, but one Vietnam veteran adopted a companion pet to give the gift of sight to his blind dog. Funny-looking dog with a serious purpose Kenneth is a Vietnam War combat veteran who feels that he was selfish when he adopted a shelter dog named Sam I Am, a Jack Russell terrier mix “with a Mohawk.” In truth, Kenneth was the very opposite of selfish: he rescued Sam to help his partially blind Golden Retriever-Akita mix, Roxy, navigate her life. When Roxy’s two other canine companions died, Kenneth knew she needed another helper and friend. Sam is … [Read more...]