Purple Heart veteran uplifted by “goofy” rescue dog

John and Kato

A Purple Heart veteran who served two tours in Iraq has a renewed spirit thanks to a "goofy" rescue dog named Kato. Losing a limb, but not losing heart John joined the Army in 2004 and served in Alaska with the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) and 1/25 SBCT as a forward observer. Twice deployed to Iraq, John broke all the bones below both of his knees and lost his left leg in 2009 when the vehicle he was riding in struck an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Life would never be the same, and he was medically retired from the Army in 2011. The Nashville, Tennessee native received a … [Read more...]

Shelter dog helps veteran manage PTSD and sobriety

Robin and Tucker

It took the healing powers of a shelter dog to help one Air Force veteran come to grips with her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and aid her continuing sobriety. Robin is a Vietnam War Air Force veteran struggling with PTSD, an alcoholic with almost two years of sobriety and has put an abusive marriage behind her. For a time, she was so self-destructive that she became homeless. Ultimately, she was referred to HudVash, a nationwide Veterans Administration (VA) service that helps homeless veterans get back on their feet and into their own homes. Paying it forward Now independent and … [Read more...]

Navy sailor and shelter cat set sail for a better life

D'Ann and Lily at VBSPCA

A Navy sailor found the key to a better quality of life in the paws of a shelter cat desperate for a more fulfilling existence as well. D’Ann joined the Navy two years ago as part of an ambitious, but “nebulous plan.” Her goals in enlisting were many: “…to improve my quality of life financially, physically and educationally.” With a touch of humor, she adds: "It was the best decision I’ve ever made, and one that will probably send me to an early, stress-induced grave.” The Navy sailor is married, but lives what many in the military community call a geo bachelor existence: separated from her … [Read more...]

Pint-sized Captain steers veteran through PTSD recovery

Larry and Captain poolside

Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, were no match for one little dog who gave his adopted veteran a new leash on life – and a fresh start decades after the Vietnam war.Oh Captain, my Captain!Life has an interesting way of bringing joy into our lives when we least expect it. Some might call it serendipity, a type of happy accident, such as seeing a old dear friend you haven’t seen in years at the grocery store. Take, for instance, the story of an Ohio man and a foster dog. While visiting his cousin, Larry – an Army veteran from the Vietnam War – was introduced to a spunky … [Read more...]

Cancer-stricken veteran finds ‘best bud’ in scrappy shelter dog

Johnny Charlotte Stanley 1

An Army veteran living with stage four cancer, Johnny needed something to help get his mind off the idea of living with disease. A scrappy little shelter dog the veteran and his wife, Charlotte, call their “Godsend,” turned out to be the right prescription. “That’s not my dog” When the couple first brought home Stanley, a mini-Schnauzer, they weren’t convinced that he was, in fact, a mini-Schnauzer as advertised at the shelter.  Stanley’s previous owner had passed away and the papers proving his pedigree status got lost. His grooming fell by the wayside, giving the three year-old shelter … [Read more...]

Rescued dog helps Army veteran combat PTSD

Hunter smiling

It took a rescued dog named Hunter to help one Army veteran cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and reclaim some normalcy in his life. Dan joined the Army just out of high school in 1986 and served until 2007. He’s proud of his military service and his ability to help those in need, like the time he helped build a school in a small Honduran village. Another high point he recalls with great excitement was providing security for the 2002 Winter Olympics, where he met many of the athletes. “I served two years in Afghanistan as a combat engineer and I’m very proud I had the chance to … [Read more...]

Pit bull heals Army veteran’s broken heart

Dale and Maximus Christmas

The much-maligned pit bull is pure myth for one veteran whose broken heart was made whole after the death of his beloved pet dog.Dale is a Vietnam veteran who enlisted in the US Army and served as a combat engineer in Germany from 1969 to 1972. Other than the time he spent in the Army, Dale had never lived without the faithful companionship of a dog. In June 2012, he and his wife, Sue, had to put to sleep their beloved 13 year-old Doberman, Destiny, who had succumbed to old age.Dale was  devastated by this loss.A house without a dog is not a homeAfter Destiny passed away, Dale’s wife “insisted … [Read more...]

Vietnam veteran’s best friend is a cat, not a canine

Lawrence and Tweedy

It is often said that a dog is a man’s best friend, but for one Vietnam veteran a special needs cat – not a canine – fills that role. It is a sad truth that young, small and healthy cats and dogs are the first to be adopted at shelters across the country. This means older, large-breed and special need pets are left to either live out the rest of their lives in shelters or, even worse, are euthanized. Every year animal shelters throughout the United States care for approximately six to eight million dogs and cats, however, more than half are put to death because no one adopts them. Cats like … [Read more...]

Navy veteran eases transition to civilian life with four-legged friend

Melina and Remi

Melina is a Navy veteran struggling to adapt to civilian life. When she was gripped with depression and began to isolate herself, she knew it was time for some four-legged intervention. Melina lives in Knoxville where she is pursuing a degree in criminology at the University of Tennessee. Her three cats, which she calls her “rambunctious felines,” keep her company while her husband is stationed in Virginia Beach. It seems like the typical life of a military spouse, but there’s more to this story. Upholding a family’s military tradition “My entire family has been in the military and I … [Read more...]

Dog lover makes room in his heart for a cat named Callie

Mark and Callie

A dual Marine-Army veteran  and dog lover learned that he had a soft spot for, of all things, a rescued Calico cat. The Vietnam-era Devil Dog - a term associated with the Marines since WWI for their legendary bravado in battle - found joy with the finicky feline, who's proving to have a personality as resilient as her savior. After serving in the Marine Corps from 1973 to 1975 and then the next eight years in the Army as a heavy–wheel vehicle mechanic, Mark separated from service with the rank of sergeant first class. The disabled veteran always fancied himself a dog person, but that all … [Read more...]

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