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...]

Adult shelter dog a “light of life” for Army veteran and his wife

George and Ruxin

Ruxin was an adult shelter dog like so many others, wanting nothing more than a secure life in a loving home. In 2013, just before Christmas, the shelter dog got his wish: an Army veteran and his wife - still reeling from the loss of their beloved dog - were smitten by this two year-old Beagle mix. The rest, as they say, is history. In 2005, George retired, many years after his service in the Army Finance Unit. He was drafted in 1958 and recalls one of his most memorable times in the military, when he was serving in Budingen, Germany. "While there I was able to visit with my parents' … [Read more...]

Air Force couple and rescue dog make beautiful music together

Dan Lori and Cash

An Air Force husband-and-wife team traveled the world as military musicians, and are now singing a different tune with their first-ever rescue dog. This is their story, told in their own words. Hello! We are Dan and Lori from Omaha, Nebraska. We are both retired United States Air Force veterans who proudly served 26 and 21 years as musicians in the USAF military bands. Our careers took us all over the world performing music for our military members and civilian communities. It was an exciting part of our lives and we are grateful to have served our country in that capacity.  As you can … [Read more...]

It’s all relative: Einstein joins Navy family

Lynn and Einstein

For one four-legged Einstein, life is all relative as he becomes the latest member of a growing Navy family. It was a cold and dreary day in 2012, about two weeks before Christmas. Like in so many shelters, rescues, SPCAs and humane societies around the country, a homeless dog sat in an Indiana shelter with no home and few prospects of finding one. Unbeknownst to him at the time, the little dog known as Einstein was about to get early holiday present: the prospect of a much brighter future with a family to call his very own. Around that same time, Lynn was surfing the web in search of a … [Read more...]

Marine veteran saves shelter dog “no one wants”

Angela and Rose

A Marine Corps veteran draws upon lessons learned in the military to save, and be saved, by a shelter dog who was overlooked and unwanted. Angela joined the United States Marine Corps in 1992. She was stationed at Camp Lejeune with the 2nd Force Service Support Group and served as a Legal Services Specialist until the end of her contract in 1996. Over the five years that followed, she gave birth to her son and daughter, respectively, and welcomed to the family Ladie - a Black Labrador mix - who eventually passed away at the age of 13. After losing Ladie, dealing with divorce and several … [Read more...]

Retired Navy veteran gives shelter dog “chance to be needed”

John and Hunter

John is a retired Navy veteran who was coping with the "unbearable" loss of his senior dog, Chad, until he and his wife saved a sweet, spirited shelter dog named Hunter. Thanks to our partnership with the Virginia Beach SPCA for making their story possible, as told by John. A true blue military man Though I was fully retired from the Navy in 1995, I continued to work in the same occupational field as when on duty. Even today I work as a civilian employee for the United States Army at Fort Eustis, Newport News Virginia. I was a Navy Corpsman. I spent duty and training in Navy clinics and … [Read more...]

Mission accomplished: Army officer gives abandoned dog new leash on life

John and Izzie

It's mission accomplished for an Army Lieutenant Colonel whose compassion and sense of duty led him to give an abandoned dog a second chance at life. Izzie was found in an apartment without food, water or family, and spent nearly four months in the care of our partners at the Washington Humane Society. Despite attending numerous adoption events, no one took an interest in her until an Army officer saw what no one else could see. This is their story. +++ A storied Army career I initially began my military service as a junior in high school by enlisting into the New Hampshire Army National … [Read more...]

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