Veteran who overcame personal odds adopts dog left to die in city street

Shawn and Crixus

Shawn is a dual Air Force and Army veteran who overcame tremendous personal odds in her life. It was perhaps not surprising when she adopted a dog named Crixus who was left to die by a heinous act of animal cruelty. This is their story. From high school dropout to Army officer I was a high school dropout and living on my own at the age of 15, when I was kicked out of my house by my step-father. I weathered the storm, got my GED and joined the military as soon as I could at age 18.  Thirty years have gone by and lots of life lessons, but throughout it all I've always had a great love for all … [Read more...]

Iraq War veteran gives overlooked older dog a second chance at life

Brian and Preston

Brian is an Iraq war combat veteran who decided to give an overlooked, older dog the second chance he deserved.  The Fighting Thirteenth Currently working as a software developer for a medical billing company, Brian enlisted in the Marines because he "wasn't yet ready for college." Trained as an infantry rifleman, he deployed on the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), known as "The Fighting Thirteenth," as well as the 31st MEU. The young veteran's tour of duty included a combat deployment to Iraq. Once home, he thought a dog would help make it easier to go from battlefront to home … [Read more...]

Marine veteran given a chance for a better life returns the gift to a dog in need

Edwarad daughter and Come

Sometimes all a man - or a dog - needs to fulfill his potential is the right opportunity. For one man, that opportunity was becoming a Marine. Years later, that decision would help a dog in need get the ultimate gift: the chance to live a better life. How the Marines made the man After graduating high school in 2000, Edward could not believe how quickly time had passed. He was a single parent, and wanted to provide the best future possible for himself and his young daughter. Enlisting in the United States Marine Corps was a way out - and a way up. Whether stationed stateside in South … [Read more...]

Love conquers all for widowed Navy veteran and abused shelter dog

John and Kandi

They say that time heals all wounds, but for John, a widowed Navy veteran, it took a lot of love as well to help a once-abused dog overcome her fears and live the life she deserved. A waterman joins the Navy John always harbored a passion for the water and sailing. In 1962, after graduating high school, John enlisted in the United States Navy as a quartermaster and served for two years active duty before transitioning to the Naval Reserves for another three.  He recalls fondly earlier times when people used the stars to navigate, an art long lost to GPS.  Although he misses those days he … [Read more...]

Adopted dog helps Marine Corps veteran adjust to post-military life

Ryan and Maximus

While many people choose to adopt a dog or cat to make that animal's life better, one Marine transitioning out of the military learned that it is equally true in reverse. He found a stellar Shepherd mix who "makes every day better" for him as he copes with the realities of his post-military life. For love of country In 2009, Ryan joined the Marines. The next five years of his life as an infantryman brought him far from his Wisconsin roots, as he relocated from coast to coast during his time in service.  “I entered the military to serve this country and because it was something that I … [Read more...]

Once-stray dog helps Air Force veteran cope with loss of “perfect dance partner”

Daniel and Edison_400

It is not often that you get to choose your own family, but that's exactly how it happened for an Air Force veteran and a once-stray dog who are helping each other move beyond their sad pasts. Although Daniel has many friends in Michigan, he has no family apart from the four-legged kind he has chosen to rescue over the years. Having recently suffered the death of his beloved Sheltie dog, Peanut, the Air Force veteran was ravaged with grief.  “Peanut was my perfect dance partner and the prettiest thing that I could call my own," he says. "When she died I was wrecked.” Aiming higher In … [Read more...]

Bronze Star veteran shines with four-legged battle buddy by his side

Chris and Darla

After three combat tours in Iraq, a Bronze Star Army veteran becomes a hero of a different stripe: to an adult dog who would become his new battle buddy as he transitioned to civilian life. Inspired to service by Vietnam War POW During nearly a decade of service, Chris traveled the world. Originally from Oklahoma, the young Army veteran started his military career at Fort Carson, Colorado with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 4th Infantry Division (ID). Over the years he would deploy to the Middle East,  and serve in more than a dozen countries around the globe before finishing his … [Read more...]

Healing at both ends of the leash for disabled veteran and special needs dog

Lizbeth (Dewey)_400

Dewey is a disabled Vietnam veteran who came to the realization that he "needed a therapy dog to help fight depression." At the same time he had a strong desire to help a dog in need, so he returned to the Michigan Humane Society where he and his wife had previously adopted companion pets. "I knew at the "Michigan Humane Society there was a dog that needed the therapy of a home and love," Dewey says. As it turns out that dog was Lizbeth: a 30-pound, nearly purebred Beagle with loving brown eyes.  The Vietnam veteran's first encounter with Lizbeth was nothing short of "love at first sight," … [Read more...]

Dog left to die in drain pipe adopted by Navy veteran who knows pain of abandonment

Jim and Willow

Willow was a terrified terrier dog who was found living in a drain pipe with her three puppies, one of whom froze to death. She was ultimately rescued and adopted by a Navy veteran who still grapples with the pain of his own abandonment many decades ago.  Feeling their pain After more than 30 years of service in the Navy and a long career in civilian law enforcement, James is enjoying a well-deserved retirement in the North Carolina mountains. The Vietnam veteran holds an Extra Class License for ham radio and runs his own radio network named “The County Cousins." James' real passion, … [Read more...]

Iraq veteran adopts ‘Lucky’ canine companion to heal her war wounds

Star and Lucky with family_400

Star came from a military family and felt called to serve. But when the Iraq war veteran found herself gripped with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other trauma, it was an adopted companion dog - aptly named Lucky - who helped her cope with the wounds of war. “I never got back to being myself” Star grew up as a military brat.  "My entire family is military. It's all I've known my entire life," she explains. Enlisting in the Army right after high school and ROTC seem like the right choice. Yet Star found the experience to be overwhelming and was discharged just a few months … [Read more...]