Marine veteran given a chance for a better life returns the gift to a dog in need

Edwarad daughter and Come

Sometimes all a man - or a dog - needs to fulfill his potential is the right opportunity. For one man, that opportunity was becoming a Marine. Years later, that decision would help a dog in need get the ultimate gift: the chance to live a better life. How the Marines made the man After graduating high school in 2000, Edward could not believe how quickly time had passed. He was a single parent, and wanted to provide the best future possible for himself and his young daughter. Enlisting in the United States Marine Corps was a way out - and a way up. Whether stationed stateside in South … [Read more...]

Love conquers all for widowed Navy veteran and abused shelter dog

John and Kandi

They say that time heals all wounds, but for John, a widowed Navy veteran, it took a lot of love as well to help a once-abused dog overcome her fears and live the life she deserved. A waterman joins the Navy John always harbored a passion for the water and sailing. In 1962, after graduating high school, John enlisted in the United States Navy as a quartermaster and served for two years active duty before transitioning to the Naval Reserves for another three.  He recalls fondly earlier times when people used the stars to navigate, an art long lost to GPS.  Although he misses those days he … [Read more...]

Adopted dog helps Marine Corps veteran adjust to post-military life

Ryan and Maximus

While many people choose to adopt a dog or cat to make that animal's life better, one Marine transitioning out of the military learned that it is equally true in reverse. He found a stellar Shepherd mix who "makes every day better" for him as he copes with the realities of his post-military life. For love of country In 2009, Ryan joined the Marines. The next five years of his life as an infantryman brought him far from his Wisconsin roots, as he relocated from coast to coast during his time in service.  “I entered the military to serve this country and because it was something that I … [Read more...]

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...]