Stray dog has Marine’s number

How do a stray dog and an active duty Marine get connected? Rather well, as it turns out.

Devin works as a Marine Telephone Systems and PC Intermediate Repairman stationed at Camp Pendleton. He was searching for a companion dog and, as luck would have it, a stray German Shepherd named Ren was looking for a forever home. When their paths crossed at the San Diego Department of Animal Services in late 2011 the search was over for both Marine and dog.

Devin and his wife were instantly impressed by the well-mannered, sixty-pound stray. Ren smelling the flowers

“From the start, Ren was very laid back and clearly had a lot of training,” says Devin. “However, beneath his calm exterior, Ren seemed to be perpetually looking for something or someone.”

Devin had a feeling about why Ren was always on the lookout.

“His past is a mystery to us, but my initial thought was he was waiting for the family who abandoned him to come back.”

Soon after his honorable adoption, Ren stopped looking; he seemed to realize that his search for a loving family was finally over.

Former stray dog a stress-reliever for Afghanistan veteran

Everyone has benefited from this incredible connection, and Devin was forming a particularly strong bond with his new pet friend.

“Ren had a calming effect on me from the start,” says Devin. “I have been dealing with anxiety and depression since my return from Afghanistan and I don’t know why, but I just feel better around Ren.” Devin and Ren

The decrease in Devin’s stress level has had a positive impact on all aspects of his life which, in turn, has had a similar impact on Ren. The once-homeless dog is now relaxed and content in his new home, even famously submitting to his first “pawdicure.” And although Ren isn’t exactly a lap dog, that doesn’t stop him from trying.

“He loves to spend his evenings cuddling with us on the couch.”

One less homeless shelter dog

Devin grew up with dogs and had been looking around local shelters for some time. 

“There are way too many homeless dogs in shelters,” he Devin, “and we were certain we wanted to give a home to one of them.”

When he discovered the Pets For Patriots program, he then focused his search on participating shelters.

“My experience with the Pets for Patriots program was amazing, to say the least. It is a great program and I can’t believe I didn’t know about it sooner.” San Diego Christmas

Devin whole heartedly recommends Pets for Patriots to any active duty or retired military personnel looking to adopt a pet. He suggests doing a fair bit of research before visiting a shelter and adopting.

“If you are thinking about getting a dog, make sure you know what breeds are right for you and your lifestyle,” he says, “When you find the right dog [or cat], Pets for Patriots takes care of the rest.” 

These days, Devin and Ren are looking for something new: a long and happy life together.

What qualities attracted you to your adopted pet?


  1. Absolutely a win-win for everyone. Devin gets a great loving friend and Ren gets a loving home! Pets for Patriots is awesome!

  2. great news for both ren and devin. may their journey together be fullfilling and rewarding. all the best, and thank you for your service to our country.

  3. my thoughts and prayers are with his pet parents sorry for your loss

  4. I miss him terribly… He was a great grandson – dog.

  5. My thoughts and condolences are with his parents and family, and anyone that knew him. XO

  6. Mary J Armbrust says:

    I’m sorry for the passing of Ren and I know I can’t say anything that will fill the large hole in your heart right now, but thank you for giving Ren two wonderful years of love and peace and purpose and that he died in the love of a family. That is really all any of us can ask for! Semper Fi.

  7. Shannon Cosner says:

    May Ren rest in peace and be waiting with joyously wagging tale to greet you at the Rainbow Bridge. I see him chasing tails and with my beautiful Onyx – the best German Shepard ever!

    Bless you for the wonderful life you gave him and he gave you.

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