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™.
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.
"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. 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."
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," said Devin, "and we were certain we wanted to give a home to one of them."
"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."
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?