Navy nurse and shelter cat save each other

Karie and Pudge

Lonely and alone, a career Navy nurse found comfort with an adult shelter cat in need of a home, a friend and a second chance. “I was lonely and wanted a friend,” says Karie, “someone who loved me unconditionally and was happy to see me regardless of my day at work.” Call of duty prompts Karie to join the Navy Karie is an active duty Navy operating room nurse stationed in San Diego. She grew up as the child of a Navy Senior Chief and was married for ten years to an active duty enlisted Navy serviceman. “The Navy community is a small family that steps in to help a person out whenever … [Read more...]

Reporting for duty: how companion pets help military veterans

Dog at soldiers feet

Companion pets help people, military veterans included, in various ways and through many life stages. Among well-established physical benefits are lower cholesterol, blood pressure and triglyceride levels, while emotional impacts include fewer feelings of loneliness and depression. While not every circumstance is unique to military service, there are distinct junctures in a veteran's life when a companion pet might be just what the doctor ordered: Transitioning from service to civilian life Upon separating from service, many veterans feel lost without the structure, discipline and routine … [Read more...]

After three deployments Army veteran a first time dog adopter

Marcus and Rocky

After three deployments with the Army, one veteran decided to fulfill a lifelong dream and become a first-time dog adopter. In turn, the dog he rescued from shelter life returned the favor by breathing new life into his blended family of five children and new wife. Marcus joined the United States Army in July 1996 and left active duty in 2001, returning to full-time duty with the National Guard in 2006. His most memorable time in service, however, was a once in a lifetime experience: “Coming home from Kosovo to watch my son be born.” During his more than eleven years of active duty, Marcus … [Read more...]

Vietnam veteran dedicated to serve saves homeless dog

Steve and Chelsea smiling

For one Vietnam veteran, serving others is a way of life. And for the homeless dog he saved, she now has a new leash on life thanks to this kind-hearted man who dedicates himself to serve others: men, women, children and pets - with no distinction. Andy  the Bloodhound and the Vietnam legacy Steve served as a military policeman in the 615th MP Brigade in Vietnam. They were known as the Bloodhounds and their mascot was Andy the bloodhound. Andy played a big role in the lives of those soldiers living so far away from home. He was a much needed distraction from what was around them, and … [Read more...]

Abandoned dog rescues combat veteran with PTSD

Duke

An abandoned dog rescued by an Army combat veteran not only got a new leash on life, but found renewed purpose by saving his veteran from the crushing symptoms of PTSD.  Determined to his join band of brothers in combat In 2004 Justin decided to see more of the world outside of his hometown of Avery, Texas. He joined the Army on his seventeenth birthday and served in the Army Reserve for four years, including a deployment to Iraq from 2006 to 2007. Currently stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado as a sergeant, he is poised to retire just one month short of celebrating his tenth anniversary in … [Read more...]

Adopted dog keeps 80 year-old Navy veteran young at heart

Ralph and Snickers

An adopted adult dog with a larger-than-life personality helps an 80 year-old Navy veteran and grandfather stay active, and young at heart. "My children thought I needed a pet...and they were right" "I'm an 80 year-old grandpa and dad," says Ralph. "I've been married to the same woman for 58 years, we still enjoy each others company." Yet in 2012, Ralph and his wife, Barbara, had suffered the loss of their little dog, Jessie. The Navy veteran remembered how "the house hadn't been the same" without their beloved pet. Ralph and Barbara were having a hard time adapting to a dog-less home, in … [Read more...]

Army veteran rejoins life with help of adopted cats

Richard and Taji

Richard is an Army veteran whose family doubled in size when he and his wife were honorably adopted by two cats from the Monmouth County SPCA. Little did he realize at the time that in saving the cats, they would become a lifeline for his wife when Richard prepared his return to active duty service. In the Army, being all he could be Richard was just 17 years old when he enlisted in the Army. He was stationed at Fort Drum, New York as a forward observer and deployed to Afghanistan for a year. What he appreciates the most about his Army service is that it challenged him to fulfill his … [Read more...]

Stray dog makes young Navy family complete

Evan Trixie and wife

Life was rough for a stray dog roaming the streets of Norfolk until a young Navy family made her their own and, in the process, made themselves whole.  Trixie had three strikes against her: homeless, a large dog and a "bully breed" to boot. Many of these animas are the victims of abuse or raised to fight other dogs. Trixie stood a chance at a better life when she was rescued by the Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center, but soon after her arrival the shelter was at maximum capacity. Adoptable animals, like Trixie, needed to find a home - and fast.  As luck would have it, Trixie's ship had … [Read more...]

Navy veteran learns life lessons from last-chance shelter dog

Betty and Bella

A career Navy veteran who traveled the world learns important life lessons from a last-chance shelter dog. For almost three decades, Betty served in the Naval Reserve and dedicated 40 years as a civilian employee until her dual retirements. In the course of a civilian job with the Navy Recruiting Area FIVE in Great Lakes, Illinois, Betty was invited to join the Navy through the Advanced Pay Grade Program, which sought Naval candidates with related civilian experience. She enlisted and, after nearly 30 years of service exclaims, "It was the best decision I ever made!” Betty’s Naval career … [Read more...]

Army family finds joy in second chance cat

Martin and Heart

It was an adopted second chance cat that helped an Army veteran and family man keep a promise to his young daughter. The commitment Martin is an Army veteran who lives in Shelby Township, Michigan with his wife, an Army recruiter, and their six year-old daughter. He is currently a police training officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Detroit. For years, Martin’s daughter had begged her parents for a kitten. However, with two family dogs – a Yellow Labrador and a Beagle-Jack Russell Terrier mix – Martin and his wife felt they already had enough to handle, and promised … [Read more...]

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