Military family on the brink united by a rescue dog

Jose and Lily

For one military family, it took the love of a rescue dog named Lily to bring them back from the brink, and ease the strains of deployment, financial hardship and depression. Deployments to Iraq strain a family left behind In 1994, Jose was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve. He was soon appointed as Platoon Leader with the 699th Engineering Company in Puerto Rico, a natural fit for his B.S. in civil engineering, and six years later became the Company's Executive Officer. The following year and for the next two, Jose was relocated and served as staff officer with the … [Read more...]

After a life in shelters, dog rescues Army veteran with PTSD

Anna and Duke

Duke lived in animal shelters for much of his young life until he had an opportunity of a lifetime: rescue an Army veteran haunted by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The big, Labrador/Great Dane mix languished at a Colorado humane society before being transferred to a local rescue, never having a family or home of his own for the first two years of his life. Each day, he would sit idly by as other homeless animals were adopted and he was left behind. Little did big Duke know that one day in January his fate would be forever bound with an Army veteran searching for relief from her … [Read more...]

Marine veteran’s tough love helps neglected dog overcome his past

David and Toby

It’s taking all the discipline and tough love of one Marine veteran to help a long-neglected dog live the life he was meant to have. Toby is a Labrador/Pit-Bull mix who led a literally sheltered life before his adoption. Crate-bound for nearly two years, he was rescued from this inhumane existence by Paws and Prayers dog rescue in Ohio. Little did Toby know that it would be a hardscrabble Marine Corps veteran who would help this homeless mutt learn the true meaning of love. One of the few and the proud: a Marine to the core Seeking a family nature didn’t provide for him, David joined the … [Read more...]

Ex-guide dog trainee seeks new purpose as veteran’s best friend

Ranger (Dec2012)

Ranger is an ex-guide dog trainee in search of his destiny: to be adopted and be a best friend to a veteran in need. The young German Shepherd's plight came to our attention through ACCES in Seattle, Washington, one of our valued veterinary partners, who - in turn - learned about Ranger through their partnership with Independence Guide Dogs, an organization that raises and trains assistance dogs for the visually impaired. From loved to unwanted in eight months Life started out for Ranger like it does for many companion pets in the country: purchased from a breeder by a family who wanted a … [Read more...]

Adoption of ‘unwanted’ cats inspires Navy couple to help people in need

Kathy and Bear

A bonded pair of unwanted, senior cats are lucky to be alive, thanks to a pair of Navy veterans who adopted them after finding their empty nest a bit too empty. The experience turned out to be a catalyst in their lives, motivating them to help people who often live on the fringes of society.  An OIF/OEF Navy veteran comes home Kathy and her husband, Jim, are both retired from the Navy. Collectively they served nearly thirty years, including overseas tours in Bermuda, Iceland, Wales and Pakistan, the latter of which holds one of Kathy’s most memorable experiences. “My short time in Pakistan … [Read more...]

Abused dog finds love in dual-Marine family

Rella (Caleigh)

For one abused adult dog aptly named Cinderella, a Marine Corps family provided the fairy tale ending she deserved.  “Life is better with a dog or two,” says Caleigh, a proud Marine reservist, military spouse and – if that wasn’t enough – mother to two young boys and now, two rescue dogs. Saving the first dog from abuse To help cope with the challenges of life as a military spouse, in 2009 Caleigh adopted Cadence, a female shepherd mix. The dog had been abused and was ridden with heartworm. In the years since, Cadence’s physical health recovered and she became more secure in the loving … [Read more...]

Vietnam veteran saves death row dog

Roger and Sugar Bear

Long after serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, a quiet, unassuming veteran became a hero to a death row dog. From 1961-1964, Roger served in the 25th infantry division in Hawaii in preparation to deploy to Vietnam. He was discharged before his division was sent overseas, and used his time in Hawaii to travel and marry. Eventually he and his bride left for the mainland, where Roger worked for a time as a military training instructor in Indianapolis. Unlike his fiery, Colombian wife, Jacquie, Roger is a soft spoken man, but the pair is identical in one respect: their love of dogs. The … [Read more...]

Navy veteran and dog lover becomes a “cat guy”

Joseph and Bo

Joe is a veteran and dog lover who long hoped to bring a shelter dog into his life, so he was surprised to discover his inner "cat guy" - much like another Pets for Patriots member who learned that an adult cat could be as healing as a canine. He is a Navy Corpsman who served in Vietnam on the ground with the Marines and in blue water aboard ship. As it happens, it was an adult cat named Bo Baby who changed Joe's world when the two adopted one another through our partnership with the Sacramento SPCA. We share excerpts from Joe's updates to Ted Whitcomb (Marine Corps veteran, member patriot … [Read more...]

Adopted Retriever mix fetches a Navy nurse

Kaitlin and Cooper

It was an adopted adult Retriever mix with "puppy dog" eyes that helped one Navy nurse feel more at home with her new life in the military. Kaitlin serves in the Navy out of Portsmouth, Virginia and is the proud "mom" of honorably adopted Cooper, an enthusiastic and loving six year-old Retriever mix. A recent college graduate, Kaitlin joined the Navy after completing her schooling in May of 2012. She currently works as a nurse at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth and “loves every minute of it.” While she finds it hard to think of one specific event as her most memorable in the military … [Read more...]

Healing at both ends of the leash for combat veteran and shelter dog

Vaughan Annie and Max

Companion pet adoption can offer much-needed healing, at both ends of the leash, for veterans coping with the invisible wounds of combat as well as for the pets they save. This is the story of a dog twice surrendered to a Colorado shelter who found his forever family, and a purpose: helping an Army combat veteran adjust to the challenges of coming home from war. High anxiety after return from combat After being together with his high school sweetheart for more than a decade, Vaughan married and, around the same time, joined the Army. In 2011, just a year into their marriage, he was deployed … [Read more...]