After a life in shelters, dog rescues Army veteran with PTSD

Anna and Duke

Duke lived in animal shelters for much of his young life until he had an opportunity of a lifetime: rescue an Army veteran haunted by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The big, Labrador/Great Dane mix languished at a Colorado humane society before being transferred to a local rescue, never having a family or home of his own for the first two years of his life. Each day, he would sit idly by as other homeless animals were adopted and he was left behind. Little did big Duke know that one day in January his fate would be forever bound with an Army veteran searching for relief from her … [Read more...]

Marine veteran’s tough love helps neglected dog overcome his past

David and Toby

It’s taking all the discipline and tough love of one Marine veteran to help a long-neglected dog live the life he was meant to have. Toby is a Labrador/Pit-Bull mix who led a literally sheltered life before his adoption. Crate-bound for nearly two years, he was rescued from this inhumane existence by Paws and Prayers dog rescue in Ohio. Little did Toby know that it would be a hardscrabble Marine Corps veteran who would help this homeless mutt learn the true meaning of love. One of the few and the proud: a Marine to the core Seeking a family nature didn’t provide for him, David joined the … [Read more...]

Adoption of ‘unwanted’ cats inspires Navy couple to help people in need

Kathy and Bear

A bonded pair of unwanted, senior cats are lucky to be alive, thanks to a pair of Navy veterans who adopted them after finding their empty nest a bit too empty. The experience turned out to be a catalyst in their lives, motivating them to help people who often live on the fringes of society.  An OIF/OEF Navy veteran comes home Kathy and her husband, Jim, are both retired from the Navy. Collectively they served nearly thirty years, including overseas tours in Bermuda, Iceland, Wales and Pakistan, the latter of which holds one of Kathy’s most memorable experiences. “My short time in Pakistan … [Read more...]

Abused dog finds love in dual-Marine family

Rella (Caleigh)

For one abused adult dog aptly named Cinderella, a Marine Corps family provided the fairy tale ending she deserved.  “Life is better with a dog or two,” says Caleigh, a proud Marine reservist, military spouse and – if that wasn’t enough – mother to two young boys and now, two rescue dogs. Saving the first dog from abuse To help cope with the challenges of life as a military spouse, in 2009 Caleigh adopted Cadence, a female shepherd mix. The dog had been abused and was ridden with heartworm. In the years since, Cadence’s physical health recovered and she became more secure in the loving … [Read more...]

Vietnam veteran saves death row dog

Roger and Sugar Bear

Long after serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, a quiet, unassuming veteran became a hero to a death row dog. From 1961-1964, Roger served in the 25th infantry division in Hawaii in preparation to deploy to Vietnam. He was discharged before his division was sent overseas, and used his time in Hawaii to travel and marry. Eventually he and his bride left for the mainland, where Roger worked for a time as a military training instructor in Indianapolis. Unlike his fiery, Colombian wife, Jacquie, Roger is a soft spoken man, but the pair is identical in one respect: their love of dogs. The … [Read more...]

Navy veteran and dog lover becomes a “cat guy”

Joseph and Bo

Joe is a veteran and dog lover who long hoped to bring a shelter dog into his life, so he was surprised to discover his inner "cat guy" - much like another Pets for Patriots member who learned that an adult cat could be as healing as a canine. He is a Navy Corpsman who served in Vietnam on the ground with the Marines and in blue water aboard ship. As it happens, it was an adult cat named Bo Baby who changed Joe's world when the two adopted one another through our partnership with the Sacramento SPCA. We share excerpts from Joe's updates to Ted Whitcomb (Marine Corps veteran, member patriot … [Read more...]

Long after WWII and Korea, Bronze Star veteran still saving lives

James and Mandy 1

For one Bronze Star veteran of both WWII and the Korean War, the lure to save homeless pets has meant a house always full of whiskers and wet noses. James, a retired Army veteran, served in both World World II and the Korean War. He worked his way up the ranks of the Army’s Officer Candidate School (OCS) and graduated from Fort Benning as a Second Lieutenant. He calls himself one of the “90-day wonders” – a term describing junior officers during World War II and, when numerous officers were moved quickly through OCS, often during other times of war. Although trained as a ball turret or … [Read more...]

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...]

OEF/OIF veterans with PTSD and companion pets needed for study

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A study through Walden University is looking for OEF/OIF veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who are willing to participate in a study of the human-animal bond. Pets for Patriots is honored to assist in this effort as part of our mission to foster a bond between at-risk shelter animals and United States military veterans. Our sole involvement is helping to make people aware of this study.  Study goals The purpose of the study is to explore the experiences of the human-animal bond in a sample of U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom military members with … [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...]