Anchors away for Navy couple and rescued pitbull

Wes, Vic and Bowser

It's anchors away for a Navy husband-and-wife team and their rescued pitbull, Bowser.  Wes is a public affairs officer with the Navy reserves and his wife, Victoria - who goes by Vic - a Navy nurse. Shortly after celebrating their first wedding anniversary and with the prospect of children many years down the road, the couple decided to adopt a dog because they "wanted a companion to love and to love us back."  From Texas to Virginia, with love Both Wes and Vic came from Texas, but that's about the only similarity in their nascent military careers. Wes was commissioned from the University … [Read more...]

The military working dog: America’s four-legged warrior

U.S. Air Force. Senior Airman Elizabeth Rissmiller.

The military working dog has long been part of America's fighting forces, though recent events have brought renewed public attention to these highly trained canines. This month marks the one year anniversary of SEAL Team Six’s raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. Perhaps no single member of the elite commando team has generated more fascination than Cairo, a military working dog who accompanied the SEALs on this mission. A proud legacy of service For nearly a century, America’s military has put canines to work. During World War I, German and France trained an estimated 50,000 … [Read more...]

Teen gives all for veterans and pets

Shelter drive

One San Diego teen is taking the idea of service to heart by making life better veterans, military personnel and homeless pets in her community.  Gabi Mark joined Pets for Patriots as a youth volunteer and has since touched countless lives by reaching out to veterans and shelter animals across San Diego County. After joining our cause in the fall, Gabi has accomplished three major projects towards her goal of devoting 100 hours to charity this year. A junior at Hilltop High School in Chula Vista, leader of her local Girls' League service organization and member of the girls' basketball team, … [Read more...]

Marine fights to adopt disabled MWD and Iraq war partner

Megan and Rex

A Marine and a disabled MWD (military war dog) are in the fight of their lives: trying to spend their lives together  as friends after fighting side by side in Iraq. Now Megan Leavey and Rex have some power in their corner.  Influential New York State Senator Chuck Schumer has already written a letter to the secretary of the Air Force, which is responsible for all training and adoptions of MWDs at Lackland Air Force Base. We hope to do our part by creating more awareness of Megan's efforts to give Rex, her battle buddy and savior, the life he deserves in a loving home. Both suffered serious … [Read more...]

Is breed-specific legislation for on-base pet owners way off-base?

Pittie white and brown

Breed-specific legislation affecting military pet owners can have serious consequences for dogs targeted by these laws. Dogs wreaking havoc on a neighborhood is a real and serious issue for some communities across the country. In response, lawmakers have enacted Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), more commonly known as “breed bans,” which effectively outlaw certain types of dogs. BSL originated in the 1980s, with pit bulls as the primary target. As the result of serious and even occasionally fatal dog attacks, BSL swept the nation, infiltrating communities that felt compelled to regulate … [Read more...]

Abandonment unites airman and shelter dog

Ben and Siren

Veterans and service members who honorably adopt shelter pets through our program often speak about the empathy they have for their last-chance dog or cat. Many feel isolated, lonely and unwanted, and tell us how they can relate to the animals they ultimately save. Ben and Siren formed a strong bond through the abandonment they each experienced in their lives. Ben is a Staff Sargeant in the Air Force. Stationed at Langley Air Force Base (AFB) for six years, he works the stealth coatings for the F-22. Like many military personnel, Ben serves where the military needs him; throughout his career … [Read more...]

Best PTSD treatment may be man’s best friend

Man and German Shepherd

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has gained much media attention since soldiers began returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Marked by sometimes debilitating and often life-changing psychological scars, PTSD has proven difficult to treat, causing even further trauma in the lives of returning veterans and their families.   To help with the treatment of PTSD, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has established educational centers for both veterans suffering from the condition and for friends and family members who want to learn more about it. Several support … [Read more...]

Coast Guard rescues inspire officer’s dog tale

Israel Parker, Atticus & Roxanne

This is the tale of a Coast Guard officer, a dog lost at sea and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Israel J. Parker serves as a Lieutenant, Junior Grade in the United States Coast Guard. He began writing shortly after becoming a helicopter rescue swimmer for the Coast Guard. At first, he filled his down time with reading. However, as the demands of his job grew more intense, he began keeping a journal and writing short stories. Hero on the high seasAfter graduating from high school, Parker enlisted in the Coast Guard and in 2000 entered their elite Helicopter Rescue Swimmer Program, … [Read more...]

PCS and your pet

Man hugging dog

A lot happens when a service member receives PCS (Permanent Change of Station) orders, including what to do with the family pet. PCSers need to know the steps to bring their dog or cat along, as well as what alternatives exist to responsibly rehome their loving four-legged family member. Married or single: it matters If you’re married, your dependents are included in PCS orders and everyone moves together. Pets can be included, provided the family notifies the proper military offices and makes arrangements for travel plans, especially flight reservations. The service member is responsible … [Read more...]

WWII veteran Charles uplifted by card campaign

Charles

Charles is a WWII veteran recently hospitalized with a minor stroke; he's also a member of our family and a Pets for Patriots volunteer. He's recovering in large part due to the outpouring of love and prayers he's received from wonderful people all over the country who have been sending him cards and letters. The first cards started to roll in after we made appeals on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Charles was just home from the hospital and the cards provided a welcome respite from the hard work of recovery. As he got stronger and his spirits brightened, so too did his reaction to each new … [Read more...]