Each suffering a loss, Navy man and shelter dog find each other

Chris and Sophie

Chris currently serves in the Navy and tells how his recent Pets for Patriots adoption of a surrendered shelter dog changed his life after suffering the loss of his beloved senior dog. He is writing to our executive director, Beth Zimmerman. Hi Beth,  Here is our picture from the day I picked Sophie up.  My first dog, Samantha, was with me for 12 years. I adopted her as an Ensign and she's been with me no matter where I was stationed in the world. She was in Norfolk with me for 9 years, then in San Diego for one-and-a-half years, one year in Bahrain, six months in Monterey, and then 15 … [Read more...]

Afghanistan veteran who loses dog while deployed gives another a second chance

Chad Stephanie and Lilly

A National Guardsman whose dog died while he was deployed to Afghanistan fills the void by giving another animal a second chance at life. Two years ago and prior his overseas deployment, Chad and his family adopted their beloved dog Major. A rescue dog, Major was “very challenging” due to his prior experiences, but he was also an “extremely loving and wonderful dog.” Chad’s family felt so blessed to have him in their lives. Major developed a serious health issue while Chad was deployed to Afghanistan. “Unfortunately, Major had to be put to sleep in order to be free from pain," he recalls. … [Read more...]

Navy sailor and shelter cat set sail for a better life

D'Ann and Lily at VBSPCA

A Navy sailor found the key to a better quality of life in the paws of a shelter cat desperate for a more fulfilling existence as well. D’Ann joined the Navy two years ago as part of an ambitious, but “nebulous plan.” Her goals in enlisting were many: “…to improve my quality of life financially, physically and educationally.” With a touch of humor, she adds: "It was the best decision I’ve ever made, and one that will probably send me to an early, stress-induced grave.” The Navy sailor is married, but lives what many in the military community call a geo bachelor existence: separated from her … [Read more...]

Navy veteran eases transition to civilian life with four-legged friend

Melina and Remi

Melina is a Navy veteran struggling to adapt to civilian life. When she was gripped with depression and began to isolate herself, she knew it was time for some four-legged intervention. Melina lives in Knoxville where she is pursuing a degree in criminology at the University of Tennessee. Her three cats, which she calls her “rambunctious felines,” keep her company while her husband is stationed in Virginia Beach. It seems like the typical life of a military spouse, but there’s more to this story. Upholding a family’s military tradition “My entire family has been in the military and I … [Read more...]

Cinnamon adds spice to life for one Navy couple

Christopher and Cinnamon

One Navy Vietnam veteran learned that a litte bit of cinnamon each day helped improve his health and his wife’s emotional well-being. His therapeutic dose wasn’t the kind that lends its powerful aromatic appeal to rolls, pies or chocolates, but was rather the four-legged variety. Christopher joined the Navy in March 1974 during the Vietnam War and served til March 1978. During his four years, he was attached to the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Five, known as the Seabees, out of Port Hueneme, California. “I was lucky not to have to go to war," he says, “but I still deployed for … [Read more...]

Navy veteran and ailing wife saved by rescued dog

Emil and Chico

A Navy veteran recovering from cancer and his wife, who is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's disease, are saved by a rescued dog who finds his purpose in life. Little dog with a big heart Chico, a tiny two year-old Chihuahua Crested Chinese mix, was distrustful of men. Possibly abused by a man before he ended up in an animal shelter, everything changed for Chico when he met Emil, a Navy veteran living in Idaho with his wife, Judy.  Chico was meant to help Judy cope with her Alzheimer's, so Emil was very surprised when the rescued dog started crawling into the Navy veteran's lap at … [Read more...]

Navy gunner’s four-legged mate sweet as honey

Honey

One Navy gunner's mate found his own new mate: an ex-stray named Honey. This is his story as told by his wife, Heather. My husband Eddie is currently in the field and he's not much of a story teller, so I figured I would share our pet adoption story. A dog named Diesel makes a house a home Eddie has been in the military about 10 years and we have been married almost eight years. We also just bought our first house a little over a year ago and we are loving it. We waited many years to get a dog, and finally got one after Eddie was in a bad accident and had to get up and start walking again. … [Read more...]

Navy retiree living the life of Riley

Riley and AJ

For one Navy retiree, the expression "living the life of Riley" is life imitating art, but with a twist. After traveling the world and then retiring from the Navy in 2010, AJ was happy to find a forever home for his family in an old farmstead in upstate New York. “I served for 22 years; retired as a Commander. My service experiences included tours on surface warships, in staff positions in Washington D.C., and an overseas tour in Cairo, Egypt.” That tour in Cairo proved to be AJ’s most memorable experience while serving in the Navy, as he took on the challenge of residing there with his … [Read more...]

Senior dog chooses Navy veteran as his buddy

Buddy on the run

For one senior shelter dog and the Navy veteran who adopted him, the name “Buddy” says it all. James served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War as a hull technician, a combination of firefighter and welder. Currently on disability retirement, he’s a proud lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The simple pleasures, plus one The Vietnam veteran enjoys the simple pleasures in life, like relaxing in front of the television to watch his favorite shows, such as NCIS and The Big Bang Theory, as well as movies. But … [Read more...]

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...]