Service both overseas and at home
Martha served in the Army from 1974 through 1977 with the 28th Transportation Battalion in Mannheim, Germany. She worked as a bookkeeper and earned the Army Commendation Medal for her work. After separating from service she joined the California National Guard, attached to the 1st Battalion, 149th Armor. Among her many roles were clerk, communications specialist, APC tank commander and driver to the S3 officer.
The Army veteran’s most memorable experience was the shockingly cold weather during one stateside deployment when her National Guard unit was sent to train in Minnesota.
“When we arrived the temperature was -108 and we were not dressed for this type of weather,” Martha recalls. “When we landed, they brought the bus to the bottom of the C130 ramp and we were told to grab a duffel bag – any duffel bag – then rush to the bus. It was a very cold two weeks for us Californians.”
Long since out of the military, Martha now works from home as a software tester for Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services.
“HP is one of many vendors supporting the Veterans Administration hospitals across the United States,” she explains, “updating and maintaining their medical software.”
Loss of one pet opens the door for another…in time
In October 2011, Martha lost her beloved pet.
“I have not been ready to adopt until recently,” she says about the more than 18-month gap between the death of her pet and Izzi’s adoption. Once she started her search, it dawned on her that this was not an effort to be taken lightly.
“I started looking around, but just couldn’t find the right pet for me until I started exploring volunteering for our local humane society,” she says. “There I learned about Pets for Patriots – and I found Izzi.”
The then eight year-old Chihuahua, homeless and in the care of the Humane Society of Pinellas, might have offered a different view: it was she who chose Martha.
“They say that the pet picks you,” says Martha, “and I believe this to be the case. Izzi and I bonded right away and I have not regretted my decision one moment.”
Making pet adoption affordable for veterans
In spite of the mutual adoration, the Army veteran recognizes that pet ownership comes with many responsibilities, chief among them: cost of care. Martha appreciated the various financial benefits available to her as a veteran adopting through Pets for Patriots. The Humane Society of Pinellas even waives pet adoption fees for Pets for Patriots members, helping Martha use money she might otherwise have spent on adoption fees for other necessities for Izzi.
“I was grateful for the support,” she says, “as adopting a new pet can be expensive to start out with.”
Since being adopted by Izzi, Martha’s life has changed for the better. There are a lot more smiles and laughter at home, as well as the company of a friend who always listens and never judges.
“Izzi has been a great friend to me,” says Martha. “She brings laughter to my days, as she has tons of personality.”
Martha cannot even choose what she loves most about her new little friend and encourages other veterans to consider adopting a shelter dog or cat to do so through Pets for Patriots.
“I love everything about her,” she says, adding, “Go for it. You can’t go wrong. It will make your life more rewarding.”
How did you know when your pet chose you?