Navy family sails high with rescued dog at helm

Macy and Tyler

Deployment can be tough on Navy and other military families, but a companion pet can make for smoother sailing. This is the experience of one Pets for Patriots adopter who decided to adopt a shelter dog to give his wife comfort when he deploys out to sea. Tyler is a 23 year-old active duty member of the United States Navy. He joined the service six years ago and has been stationed in San Diego on the USS Peleliu LHA-5, an amphibious assault ship. He served three deployments, one humanitarian mission and two West Pacific missions, earning a Navy Achievement Medal during his second … [Read more...]

Adopted pet takes bite out of veteran’s depression

Michael and Paco 1

Sometimes the antidote to loneliness and isolation is as simple as shelter pet adoption. For one Navy veteran suffering from depression, a homeless dog was just what the doctor ordered. Michael joined the Navy to get an education and to travel the world. Still on active duty, he has literally been around the world and back again, recently landing coveted orders which brought him back to his hometown in Michigan. Despite a successful naval career spanning some 18 years which included many academic and service awards and accolades – including Command Sailor of the Year in 2007 when he served at … [Read more...]

Little dogs bring big changes to veterans’ lives

Patriots in their own words

They say it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. We'd suggest it's something slightly different: it's the size of the heart in the dog. So it is with two little dogs that are bringing big changes to the lives of the veterans who gave them a second chance at life. Vietnam veteran finally gets a 'thank you' Bob is a Vietnam Army veteran who served during a period in our nation's history when veterans symbolized a deeply unpopular war. There were no parades, no jubilant welcomes home, no thanks for a job well done. Their return was unceremonious at best … [Read more...]

Navy war veteran finds a real buddy in homeless dog

Buddy and Bill on a boat

This is the story of a Navy war veteran who finds a buddy, literally, in the form of a homeless shelter dog. bud-dy (noun): a good friend, companion or partner; a comrade. Buddy is truly the perfect name for the orphaned two year-old cockapoo who honorably adopted Bill, a Navy veteran, during a trip to Lollypop Farm in May 2011. Let’s be clear: Buddy chose Bill, not the other way around. Bill was merely at the Rochester, New York animal shelter to appease his wife, Michelle, who had been combing internet websites and nearby shelters for a furry companion to adopt. “We had talked about … [Read more...]

“Pathetic-looking” rescue dog saves disabled veteran from depression

Frank and Gus

When depression took its toll on a disabled Vietnam veteran whose dog had just died, he knew it was time to save another last-chance rescue dog. In the process, he saved himself. Born in Chicago, Frank was a toddler when his family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1973, he relocated to San Diego, a place where he loves to live and volunteer. In 1974, Frank joined the Navy reserves as a cryptology and radar specialist. He spent 20 months on an aircraft carrier off the Vietnam coast and the remainder of his enlistment as assistant to an admiral in Miramar, California. “I never drilled … [Read more...]

Changing lives coast to coast

Jacob, Sophie and family

When I wrote to you earlier this week I told you that we were changing lives coast to coast and had 60 honorable adoptions to celebrate. That number is now 62, and will likely grow in the coming days as a record number of veterans and service members are joining our program to give a last-chance pet a second chance at life. Since my earlier message, we had two adoptions that highight our growing national footprint. In upstate New York, Leland, a Navy veteran, honorably adopted an adult cat named Cow (yes, Cow!). On the other coast, a formerly stray Boxer mix named Sophie was saved by a … [Read more...]