Iraq veteran adopts ‘Lucky’ canine companion to heal her war wounds

Star and Lucky with family_400

Star came from a military family and felt called to serve. But when the Iraq war veteran found herself gripped with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other trauma, it was an adopted companion dog - aptly named Lucky - who helped her cope with the wounds of war. “I never got back to being myself” Star grew up as a military brat.  "My entire family is military. It's all I've known my entire life," she explains. Enlisting in the Army right after high school and ROTC seem like the right choice. Yet Star found the experience to be overwhelming and was discharged just a few months … [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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

In like a lamb: tale of “the perfect dog”

Michael daughter and Emma

The dictionary defines 'lamb' as one who is gentle and innocent, words that describe the 'perfect dog' honorably adopted by Michael, a career Air Force veteran, as a promise to his young daughter. She wanted to prove that she could be responsible to care for a pet of her own, and even spent her allowance to help pay for the dog's adoption fee. Our thanks to Michael for sharing their story.  Emma, the perfect dog I stood there, holding Emma while I signed the paperwork and reflected on her past five months with us. Back in May, a nine-pound mini Dachshund at the shelter climbed in my … [Read more...]

Instincts bond Purple Heart Vietnam veteran and once-abused dog

Tim and Melanie

Trying to adjust to a civilian lifestyle became a painful challenge for Timothy, a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient whose only refuge lay with the many dogs and cats that he brought into his life after the war. Even now, he describes those animals as “the only friends I had.” Tragically, this refuge was taken away from Timothy when his wife at the time got rid of his pets against his will.  Years later, Timothy has found solace and comfort again in Melanie, an intensely caring and loyal Great Pyrenees adopted through Pets for Patriots’ partnership with the Humane Society of West … [Read more...]

Veteran with depression takes chance on shelter dog

Charles and Chance selfie

Charles is an Air Force veteran who suffered with a deep and prolonged depression until he took a chance - on a shelter dog named Chance - and regained a sense of purpose in his life. Our thanks to Charles for sharing his tale, and to Big Dog Ranch Rescue for helping us make this story possible. Chance was shipped to Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Wellington, Florida from a high kill shelter in Georgia. He had only been there a few days when we made our trip to meet some potential dogs available for adoption. We knew right away he was the one.  I served in the United States Air Force for six years … [Read more...]

Dark memories haunt, and bind, Vietnam veteran and adopted dog

Jerome and Scruffy

As an Army veteran of the Vietnam War who had worked tirelessly his entire life, Jerome found himself struggling to stay busy during retirement. Work was his only antidote for keeping the dark memories of war at bay and, with his wife Suzanne still working, he became accustomed to spending most of his days alone with her dog Lexi. Yet Jerome wanted to a companion of his own - a loyal friend he could adopt and call “my dog." Fixing helos in NamAfter studying auto mechanics and engine repair at Wolverine Trade School in Detroit, Jerome joined the Army in 1966 at the age of 18. He then spent an … [Read more...]

Post-9/11 Army veteran adds “awesome” shelter dog to his pack

Jason and Cocoa

Jason served in the shadows of 9/11, joining the Army and, after service, saving the life of an "awesome" little shelter dog named Cocoa. In the early days of August 2001, Jason made the life-altering decision to enlist into the United States Army. He worked in Washington, DC while awaiting his entry date and, on September 11, 2001, could see and smell smoke that he later learned was the Pentagon catastrophe only two miles away. As the national tragedy wore on, Jason found out that some of his family had escaped the World Trade Center destruction.Shaken to his core by these tragic events, … [Read more...]