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™.
For one senior shelter dog and the Navy veteran who adopted him, the name "Buddy" says it all.
James served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War as a hull technician, a combination of firefighter and welder. Currently on disability retirement, he's a proud lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The simple pleasures, plus one
The Vietnam veteran enjoys the simple pleasures in life, like relaxing in front of the television to watch his favorite shows, such as NCIS and The Big Bang Theory, as well as movies. But recently James added an activity that brings him even greater joy: taking long walks with Buddy, the newest member of the family.
Buddy is an eight year-old Manchester Terrier. He was up for adoption at the Meridian Valley Humane Society, waiting patiently for his hero. Someone who would look beyond the puppies; someone who would realize how much love he still has to give, despite the fact that he's considered a senior pet.
Mourning the loss of a beloved pet
It was the death of another terrier that brought James and his girlfriend to the shelter in the first place. When Susie's 12 year-old Boston Terrier passed away, she started to browse the web with James to find a new pet.
"Susie can't be without the love of a pet," he says. They came across the Meridian Valley Humane Society's web site, found Buddy's picture and decided to meet him. It was love at first sight.
Buddy found the people he was waiting for, who understood that "there's more than meets the eyes," as James says. He decided to open his heart and home to this older dog in need. In reality, James admits it was the other way around: "He had more or less chosen us."
The Navy veteran learned about Pets For Patriots at the shelter while he was completing Buddy's adoption application. He recalled the anticipation he felt in wanting to take Buddy home right away.
"It had taken us a whole week to wait to pick him up," he says, acknowledging that in reality it wasn't that long - it just felt that way.
In addition to the benefits James received from Pets For Patriots when he adopted Buddy, he is also eligible for ongoing discounted care from Habitat Veterinary Health Center, the charity's local veterinary partner in Boise.
"Pets For Patriots has a very good plan to help all veterans obtain a good friend and companion. Susie and I have already been talking with other veterans about the program, and they all have said they will look into it when the time is right for them to get a pet," James says, adding, "If they only knew how much better the love of a pet would make them feel, they would do it right now."
James and Susie have provided Buddy with his forever home, and Buddy has returned their kindness with his unconditional love.
"He's quite the character, a total crack up," says James. "He loves to play, is very loving, sits on our laps and goes to bed with us. But most important, Buddy just takes our minds off of other things, makes us laugh a lot. And on top of all that, he's a very good listener."
How has your life been changed by the love of a senior pet?