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™.
A rescued dog always seems to know when it's been given another chance, and often returns the favor. This is the case with Charlotte, an adult dog who rescued her savior, a Coast Guard veteran, from the grips of his depression.
An avid diver, Al joined the Coast Guard in the late 1970’s. When he decided to enlist, it was the lifesaving aspects of the job that attracted him to the Coast Guard. Among the memorable events of Al's service were his tours of Antarctica. While the Coast Guard was hard work, Al enjoyed dives both on- and off-duty with his military buddies in Hawaii, the Polynesian Islands and elsewhere on his way to Antarctica.
Growing up in Michigan, Al and his family always owned dogs. His favorite childhood pet was a cockapoo named Smokey, who followed Al everywhere when he was home.
As an adult, Al thought about, but never owned a dog. His interest piqued last spring when he watched a segment about Pets for Patriots on Detroit’s Fox 2 News.
“They did a really thorough job explaining how the Pets for Patriots program works. After watching that piece, I thought ‘why not me?’”
Particularly appealing to Al was how Pets for Patriots makes pet adoption and ownership affordable for veterans.
“I’m on disability, so the adoption discount and the discount for veterinary services are a big help to me.”
In June, Al visited his local Pets for Patriots adoption partner, the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) in Westland, to search for his new best friend. There he saw for the first time a Puggle, which moments earlier had found a new home. It seemed like such a good dog that it inspired Al to adopt a Puggle as well.
Since no other Puggles were available at the time, Al left his contact information with Gary Roush, a dual MHS and Pets for Patriots volunteer, and requested that he be notified if any other Puggles were brought into the shelter.
Just a few weeks later, Al’s request was granted. Gary called him to let him know that two Puggles, Wilbur and Charlotte, had arrived at the humane society. Al fell in love with Charlotte – at 22 pounds, the more petite of the two dogs – and decided to give her a forever home.
Al immediately realized the benefits of adopting a mature dog. Apparently Charlotte had been house-trained and received some basic obedience training in her previous home.
“She’s well-mannered and loves to give kisses. She knows I’m a pushover, but really, I have no complaints.”
Over the past few months, Al has found that Charlotte has made his life a lot more pleasant.
“She’s changed my life. I enjoy our walks, spending time outdoors with her, watching TV with her.” As a bonus, Charlotte has become sensitized to Al’s bouts with depression, trying harder during tough times to lift his spirits.
“I couldn’t ask for a better buddy. She’s the best girl friend I’ve ever had,” remarks Al.
To other veterans considering adopting a companion pet, Al provides this advice:
“I couldn’t be happier with the difference that Charlotte has made in my life. Pets for Patriots made the pet adoption process a really positive experience for me. Get over to a Pets for Patriots shelter and find your best buddy today.”
How does your pet lift your spirits?