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...]

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...]