Vietnam veteran gives blind dog the gift of sight: another dog

Lady Gaga Sam Kenneth and Roxy on couch

Most of us know about guide dogs for blind people, but one Vietnam veteran adopted a companion pet to give the gift of sight to his blind dog. Funny-looking dog with a serious purpose Kenneth is a Vietnam War combat veteran who feels that he was selfish when he adopted a shelter dog named Sam I Am, a Jack Russell terrier mix “with a Mohawk.” In truth, Kenneth was the very opposite of selfish: he rescued Sam to help his partially blind Golden Retriever-Akita mix, Roxy, navigate her life. When Roxy’s two other canine companions died, Kenneth knew she needed another helper and friend. Sam is … [Read more...]

Afghanistan veteran who loses dog while deployed gives another a second chance

Chad Stephanie and Lilly

A National Guardsman whose dog died while he was deployed to Afghanistan fills the void by giving another animal a second chance at life. Two years ago and prior his overseas deployment, Chad and his family adopted their beloved dog Major. A rescue dog, Major was “very challenging” due to his prior experiences, but he was also an “extremely loving and wonderful dog.” Chad’s family felt so blessed to have him in their lives. Major developed a serious health issue while Chad was deployed to Afghanistan. “Unfortunately, Major had to be put to sleep in order to be free from pain," he recalls. … [Read more...]

Four-tour combat veteran rejoins life with help of canine battle buddy

Adam and Griz snow

Combat veterans will tell you how hard it can be to ease back into civilian life after a career in the military. Adam knew only too well; as a multiple tour combat veteran, he was about to make his fourth transition with the help of a shelter dog named Griz. First 9/11, then Iraq Adam has been devoted to serving his country for most of his adult life. The day he graduated from high school in 1999, he left for the United States Marine Corps Boot Camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. After basic training he attended the United States Marine Corps School of Infantry at Camp … [Read more...]

Second chances for Purple Heart veteran and shelter cat

Katrina and Rumer 1

A Purple Heart veteran survives two Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks and pays it forward by saving an adult shelter cat named Rumer. Katrina was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, where she trained as an Army Motor Transport Operator (88M). Twice deployed - once to Iraq for a year and again to Afghanistan for 15 months - the Army veteran miraculously survived not one, but two IED attacks. Four-and-a-half years later, Katrina left the military with a Purple Heart. Survival and second chances Life after the military was challenging. Katrina enrolled in college and is receiving her … [Read more...]

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...]

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