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Pets for Patriots® saves lives by connecting veteran and service members of the United States military with shelter pets in need of a loving home. Operating nationally, the charity is one of the only organizations in the country dedicated to both at-risk pets and military personnel, at any stage of their careers and from all armed forces. Pets for Patriots is a proud member of the Army AW2 Wounded Warrior Program national community support network, a Real Warriors Campaign national partner organization and is listed by the National Resource Directory for ill and wounded veterans. Pets for Patriots, Inc., is a registered 501(c)(3) charity; learn more online to find out how you can Be A Pet's Hero™.

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The Road Home: Shelter Dog Celebrates a New Lease on Life


Fort Wayne, Indiana -- This article is based on a story shared by Kip, a member of the Indiana Air National Guard, who honorably adopted his dog Ceilidh (pronounced Kay-lee) through Pets for Patriots. 

Kip and his wife knew they wanted another dog to help ease the blow when their beloved Tess would be gone.  It was during one of Tess' last vet appointments that Kip learned about Pets for Patriots. "Tess was not active anymore because she was so old," says Kip, "we knew Tess was close to the end. Our vet mentioned that if the time came when we were interested in having another dog, that Pets for Patriots would be a great organization to talk to." Sadly, last October, Kip and his wife said goodbye to their beloved dog of over 14 years.


After Tess passed away, Kip and his wife needed time to heal and were not in a hurry to adopt a new dog.  "It took me about six months to get over losing Tess," he says, "but my wife and I agreed that our house was empty without a dog." 

So, in April 2011, the search for a new dog began: "We knew to stay away from puppy mills. We also knew we wanted to rescue a dog, because they are the animals that need it most."  Kip and his wife first considered one particular older dog through their local SPCA, but were turned down because they didn't have the right home environment for her. They knew their search was over, however, once they visited the City of Fort Wayne Animal Care Control

When Kip and his wife first saw Lyra at the Fort Wayne shelter, she caught their attention instantly. "There was just something about her," says Kip. "When we first met Lyra, we saw a dog that was not socialized, scared of us and tried everything to hide from us in the back of her kennel.

We knew right then that this was a dog that needed our love and attention." Kip remembered his local vet mentioning Pets for Patriots and found that the shelter offered adoptions to member Patriots in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Working together, Pets for Patriots and the City of Fort Wayne Animal Care Control helped Kip and his wife to successfully adopt Lyra.


On April 20, 2011, Kip and his wife received the call to pick up Lyra from the shelter: "I was away for a reserve weekend and asked my boss if I could take an extra-long lunch." When they arrived at the shelter, Lyra was very excited. "She came out, her tail was wagging a mile a minute and she was so happy to see us," Kip says, "with just a collar and a leash we picked her up and she jumped right in our car."  Because Lyra was so happy on the ride home from the shelter, Kip and his wife decided to rename her Ceilidh, an Irish Gaelic word for party or celebration (interestingly, this term derived from the OldIrish cele meaning "companion").

Kip tells the story about their first afternoon home with Ceilidh: "She was tethered in the backyard. When my wife opened the door to bring Ceilidh inside, she took off. My wife thought 'Oh my god. It's only been 15 minutes since we got home with her and I've already lost her.' My wife then yelled out ?Ceilidh' and the dog came running right back. Ceilidh is as smart as a whip!"


Today, Ceilidh spends a lot of time taking road trips with her owners. "She absolutely loves riding in the car," Kip says. "We can take her anywhere. We even took her with us on a trip to North Dakota."

Ceilidh is mostly Hungarian Vizsla, a hunting breed. Kip and his wife think Ceilidh might have been bred as a hunting dog, but turned in to the shelter as a stray because she's afraid of loud noises. "Nothing compares to the greeting we get from Ceilidh when we come home," Kip says.

"She lights up my life. Whoever had Ceilidh before me missed out on a great dog."

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