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...]

WWII hero won over by special needs cat

Roy and Hank

A WWII hero coping with loneliness after the death of his wife of 64 years was chosen, and ultimately won over, by a very special, special needs cat.No guts, no gloryIt was 1944 and Roy headed off to school like he did every day. Little did he know this would be no ordinary day, one that would shape the rest of his life. As the teen settled into class, men in military uniforms entered the room and asked if anyone wanted to enlist in the Army before being required to register for the draft upon turning eighteen. “I wasn’t too smart in school. I was having a tough time so I said yes. Two days … [Read more...]

Send in the Marines: Pets for Patriots celebrates 600th honorable adoption

Andrew Briana and Belle adoption

Someone decided to send in the Marines - and the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard - to make possible our 600th honorable adoption of a United States military veteran and a last-chance shelter pet.Although we serve men and women from all United States armed forces and at any stage of their careers, it was an active duty Marine who had the distinction of becoming the 600th pairing of pet and person since Pets for Patriots launched in 2010. The few, the proudAndrew knew early in life that he was destined to lead."I realized after high school and trying a few different career fields that what … [Read more...]

Shelter dog helps disabled Army veteran learn to trust again

Venice and Rico

Rico barely tips the scale at eight pounds, but this once homeless shelter dog is worth his weight in gold for helping a disabled Army veteran regain her trust in others.Army strong and proud to serveVenice served 10 years in the United States Army as a 92Y Supply Sergeant, during which time she was stationed at various posts stateside including Ft. Lewis, Ft. Hood, Ft. Polk and Ft. Benning - in addition to serving overseas in Germany, Bosnia and in Operation Desert Storm. The Army veteran trained troops in Kosovo, as well.Having already taken on a role with vigorous demands, Venice reflected … [Read more...]

Dog on heavenly mission a final faithful friend to Vietnam combat veteran

Gary and Marley_adoption

Mark Twain once said that if heaven was a reward to be earned, “you would stay out and your dog would go in.” Clearly the iconic author never met Gary, a combat veteran of Vietnam who believed his recently adopted shelter dog was heaven sent. We have no doubt that Gary’s life and extraordinary service earned him a heavenly perch as well. Gary died suddenly on June 22, 2014, just days after being interviewed for this story.  At the request of his wife, Mary, and in keeping with Gary’s wishes, we are sharing his tale. Joining the fight It was 1964 and Gary had just graduated high school. He … [Read more...]

Abandoned dog teaches Navy veteran life lessons

Clarke kids and Laila 3

Laila was a down on her luck dog in a New Jersey shelter, but she still had important lessons to share with the Navy veteran who gave her a second chance at life. Navy an opportunity for self improvement Clarke served in the Navy from 1994-1997, during which time he was often at sea. Like many recruits, he saw military service as a way to improve himself. “I chose to enter the military to make a positive difference in my life,” Clarke recalls. The Navy veteran was stationed on the USS Nimitz and completed two tours in the Persian Gulf, including deployment as part of Operation Southern … [Read more...]

Army soldier combats loneliness with “the perfect dog”

Frank and Sam

As a young Army soldier, Frank was not prepared for the loneliness he faced when he and his wife were relocated by the military to a place where the pair had no family or friends. In true Army strong spirit, he battled the blues by adopting a homeless hound who would become "the perfect dog."  A passion to serve In 2012, Frank joined the United States Army as a Watercraft Engineer. After attending basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, he and his wife relocated to Newport News, Virginia, where Frank is stationed at the sprawling Joint Base Langley-Eustis. It was pure heart that … [Read more...]

Rescue dog a loyal first mate to Navy sailor

Sarah and Leo

Leo was a large rescue dog looking for love in a Virginia Beach shelter when a young Navy sailor gave them both a new lease on life. Little is known about the large Beagle mix who, when adopted in early November of 2013, was already a healthy 44 pounds. The rescue dog's personality and zest for life caught the attention of Sarah, who at the age of 23 had already served four-and-a-half years in the Navy. Originally from North Carolina and now stationed in Virginia, Sarah decided that her transition to shore duty was the perfect time to add a companion pet to her life. Joining the Navy to see … [Read more...]

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