Special needs pup a lifeline to Navy veteran dogged by depression

Mark and Shadow

Hard knock life for stray pup Shadow is a pup who earns the moniker "special" not only due to her physical challenges, but for how she is able to uplift the Navy veteran who adopted her from the grips of his depression. The Lab mix was not even a year old when she arrived at the Jacksonville Humane Society with serious signs of a hardscrabble life. Shadow had been transferred from another shelter where her tail had to be amputated due to a pre-existing degloving injury. Follow up radiographs revealed that her right hind leg was broken in not one, but two places, requiring additional medical … [Read more...]

Rescued Pit Bull saves combat veteran from “lonely world”

Jason and Tyrion_cropped

The world can be a pretty lonely place, especially for a veteran transitioning to civilian life. For one such veteran, a rescued Pit Bull was all he needed to battle loneliness and deal with the stresses of everyday life. Air Force 'cowboy' aims high Jason joined the Air Force, and was stationed in both Oklahoma and Germany with the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) enlisted air crew. A profound sense of duty inspired the die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan to enlist.  "I entered the military because I think all men should serve their country," he says. While deployed overseas Jason … [Read more...]

Navy-Air Force veteran saves life of “angel sent from up above”

Kyle and Cam_square

Proud to serve, by sea or by air Kyle is a veteran of both the Navy and the Air Force. His guiding ethos is to fight for the rights of people and pets who cannot fight for themselves. A recent college graduate and current Air Force Reservist, Kyle is working through a management program with a major, multi-regional supermarket chain. However, it is abundantly clear that service to country is part of this veteran's DNA.  "I entered the military having the desire to give back in some way even if I did not go active," he says. "I feel the need to give something back to America, and still … [Read more...]

The soldier and the stray

Jeremy and Gannon

When Jeremy's dreams of a military career were cut short the Army veteran was in desperate need a companion. He found one in a once-stray dog who needed hope and a home as much as Jeremy needed a friend. "The greatest time of my life" In 2009, Jeremy joined the Army with "every intention to make it a career." Just 22 at the time, it had been a lifelong dream to serve his country and he believed that military service would be "the best thing" for him. The Army did not disappoint. "I have been all over the world and been to many different locations," he says, adding, "Greatest time of my … [Read more...]

Third generation soldier first time adopter and hero to senior dog

Andrew and Nikita edited

You could say the Army is in Andrew's DNA. The third generation soldier is a career National Guardsman, and recently became a first time pet adopter to a senior dog who needed a hero. Born to serve Andrew joined the Army National Guard during high school and completed basic training shortly after graduation. In 2012 he was deployed to Afghanistan and, since his return home in 2013, has been serving as an operations planner for the recruiting section. The career soldier followed his father and grandfather into military service.  “Twelve years now I’ve been Guard,” he explains. "I am third … [Read more...]

Combat veteran adapts to civilian life with second-chance Pit Bull pup

Chase (Montrell) and the girls_cropped

It was a tough decision for an Army combat veteran to bring a Pit Bull into his young family, but his decision to give the much-maligned breed a second chance paid off for all involved.  Army strong, Army proud One year after the 9/11 terror attacks Montrell joined the United States Army. It was September 2002 when he enlisted and was subsequently stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia with the 3rd Infantry Division. Formed in 1917, the unit has become one of our nation's top military units for dealing with contingencies around the world. Early in 2003 Montrell arrived at Fort Stewart March … [Read more...]

Chance meeting inspires Navy veteran to save homeless dog

Elizabeth and Roxie kiss

The last thing Elizabeth had on her mind was adding a homeless dog to her household, but a chance meeting between the Navy veteran and a Chihuahua mix with "the saddest eyes" changed everything.  Serving in the wake of 9/11 Elizabeth served for four years in the Navy as a Cryptology Technical Operator (CTO), during which time she was stationed at the Diego Garcia military base in the British Indian Ocean, and with the Naval Security Group Activity (NSGA) Kunia in Hawaii. The NSGA Kunia was de-established shortly after Elizabeth separated from service, and integrated into what would become … [Read more...]

From homeless to hopeful for Army veteran and abused dog

Desiree and Bullet 2

Desiree is an Army veteran who has triumphed over adversity more than once in her lifetime, including a time when she was homeless. Her inner strength and ability to persevere are qualities she shares with Bullet, an abused dog who chose the veteran above all others. A spontaneous decision Desiree calls her decision to join the Army one weekend in 1981 a “spontaneous decision.” She was 20 years old and “just wanted to get away and see the world.” This impromptu career move resulted in three years of Cold War-era service as an administrative specialist – or “glorified typist,” as Desiree … [Read more...]

Retired Coastie saves triply-disabled shelter dog

Mark and Charlie at shelter

Special needs animals are among the most overlooked for adoption, and this was particularly the case for a triply-disabled dog in a Virginia shelter. Luckily for this pup, a retired Coast Guard veteran - or "Coastie" - was up to the challenge. Serving at sea Starting with his enlistment in 1987 and for 24 subsequent years, Mark was 'always ready' as a member of the United States Coast Guard (USCG). He became a Coastie for simple and compelling reasons.  "I joined to serve my country," he says, "and work at sea." Mark was initially stationed in New Bedford, Massachusetts aboard a USCG … [Read more...]

Vietnam veteran earns his stripes saving shelter dogs

Robert Baxter and Blue_square

The quiet hero A hero is defined as 'a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities.' They do not all receive medals or public accolades, but walk among us every day and deserve to have their stories told. Such is the case with Robert, a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam and feels his own story is unremarkable. He is not a decorated war hero. The shelter dogs he adopted during the course of his lifetime did not help him with any service-connected disabilities. Yet this Vietnam veteran's love for and commitment to saving the most overlooked animals in need makes him a … [Read more...]