Scruffy deaf dog steals heart of retired Air Force veteran

Romeo (Vernon)

It takes a special person to love a special needs pet, as one Air Force veteran learned when he fell in love with a older, deaf and nearly toothless shelter dog. Two loves Vernon’s father was a retired Sergeant First Class in the United States Army. He used to say that there were only two absolute loves in the world: the love a parent has for their child and the unconditional love a dog has for his guardian. Vernon is experiencing the joy of being a parent to the fullest, having relocated to the Virginia Beach area with his daughters following his retirement from the Air Force. “We … [Read more...]

Scrappy rescue dog now Army veteran’s faithful messenger

Koko (Michelle) in garden_cropped

Beneath the matted fur of a scrappy dog surrendered to a Tampa shelter was a messenger with an important tale to tell, both to the Army veteran who saw value in her life and to the many other people whose lives she touches every day. Born to serve Michelle served in the Army from 1986-1989 as a Military Intelligence Officer. Stationed in Wildflecken, Germany, she was the “eyes and ears” of a front-line infantry division during the Cold War. Michelle enjoyed her time in the military, noting that her best memory was working as a Platoon Leader when she first arrived in Germany. “We were … [Read more...]

Shelter dog a blessing to Army family and their autistic son

Joe and Rocky

A shelter dog proved an unlikely hero to an Army family and their autistic son, giving both boy and dog a second chance and bringing many blessings to everyone in the household. Globe-trotting military family loses one of their own Joe is assigned to the U.S. Special Operations Command out of MacDill Air Force Base. Since 1989, he has served in the United States Army and traveled the world with his wife, Stephanie, their two sons, Chance and Cole, and the family's Siberian Husky, Abby. The dog was part of every Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, traveling to … [Read more...]

Shelter dog makes life worthwhile for widowed veteran

Al and Sugar Plum_cropped

Al was a newly widowed veteran in desperate need of love and comfort. He found what he needed in a shelter dog who gave him a new sense of purpose after his wife had died. Just call me sweetheart Al served in the United States Navy from 1951 to 1954, during the Korean War. He was selected to receive training as a Hospital Corpsman out of Bainbridge, Maryland, and subsequently served at a naval hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts where he was selected to become qualified in Spectacle Dispensing.  The young veteran returned to Great Lakes to work in the eye clinic and then applied for the … [Read more...]

Saving Jazzy

Dave and Jazzy 12-24-15_square

Recently we launched a veterinary fund to help defray the costs of extraordinary medical care for pets adopted by veterans in our program. It came in response to various requests we had over the years for just this type of support, as well as our success in raising funds for pets who would suffer or die without costly medical intervention. At this time we'd like to introduce you to a very special pet with a time-sensitive need: Jazzy. Like many pets following a natural disaster, Jazzy was a hurricane refugee. Homeless, afraid and diagnosed with cancer, she was fostered by Dave, US … [Read more...]

Rescue dog teaches combat veteran to love and be loved

Charles, Jerri and Abby_square

Born to ride, born to love Charles retired from the United States Air Force in 2009 after 20 years of service, nearly half of which was spent in combat deployments. He was rescued by a homeless dog who claimed him as her own in a most unusual way, and has since taught him the true meaning of love. After leaving the service and losing his job, Charles started his own lawn mowing business and - at the age of 46 - began using his GI Bill to go back to school. Now living in Florida with his wife, Charles is an avid biker and member of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, men and … [Read more...]

Sugar sweet princess a savior to Vietnam veteran with PTSD

Paul Mindy and Sugar

For most of his life Paul has been coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition estimated to afflict more than 30 percent of all Vietnam veterans. No stranger to the comforting presence that companion pets can bring to their people, Paul's decision to adopt a rescued dog was not a surprising one. Yet in doing so the Vietnam veteran never imagined that one sweet older dog would not only touch his life as much as she does, but would inspire his entire northeast Florida community as well. Brooklyn born peacemaker drafted to war Paul grew up in an Italian-Jewish neighborhood … [Read more...]

Old Blue Eyes joins Navy veteran’s cat pack

Michael and Frankie_square

Old Blue Eyes If Frank Sinatra were reincarnated as a cat we think he would be Frankie, a once-stray feline who "yips like a puppy," adores French fries and has fetching blue eyes just like his namesake. Of course, life did not start out this way for the adult feline, who on one April night was found abandoned on a West Palm Beach, Florida street. It would be nearly three weeks later that the cat found his forever home with a retired Navy veteran hoping to add another cat to his family. A Navy life For "20 years and four days" Michael served in the United States Navy, and … [Read more...]

Career Air Force veteran saves bonded pair of strays

Laura Petunia and Pinky_square

Laura might as well have walked into a Tennessee animal shelter and said, "Make mine a double." The career Air Force veteran, now serving in the Air National Guard, adopted a bonded pair of dogs found running the streets as strays. Decades of dedication You could say that military service runs deep in Laura's veins. Now living in Tennessee, the Air Force veteran served for more than seven years active duty as a missile systems technician, and since 1989 has been serving full-time in the Air National Guard as an avionics technician on the KC135R aircraft. Collectively, Laura has more than … [Read more...]

Dog no one wanted a savior to Marine veteran with PTSD

James and Layla

PTSD and me James is a Marine Corps veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) who for much of his post-military life relied on the kindness of loved ones. One day he decided to pay it forward by saving the life of a love-starved shelter dog no one wanted. "I have been a Marine who has gone through life with everyone helping him after serving," he says, "regardless of my inability to be around a large group of people, [or] being overly alert or distant." Despite these and other life challenges, James was slow to recognize that he had PTSD. He describes a situation in which he … [Read more...]