One quiet Thursday afternoon, a young man in fatigues came running into the lobby, a beagle cradled in his arms. She was not in good shape.
As it would turn out, Sandy had lymphoma. There was not much we could do, and the young man- a veteran of multiple tours of duty to Iraq and Afghanistan- made the difficult decision to euthanize her.
Sensing the need for solitude, the staff cleared out of the room, leaving me alone with him and with Sandy. It was only then that he started to show his emotion. “What am I going to do without you?” he said to her through his tears. “You are the only one I could talk to.”
He gave himself 10 minutes, squared his shoulders, and strode out of the room back to his duty. I never forgot that glimpse into his world and the depth of meaning pets bring into the lives of our military families.
It is because of men and women like him that I am such a fan and supporter of Pets for Patriots, an organization that seeks to help both our military members and adults in animal shelters by encouraging and facilitating the adoption of one by the other. This one is a no-brainer- everyone wins.
I’ll be talking about them in more depth in a later post, but for now I want to ask you all to take a moment to vote for Pets for Patriots in the Pepsi Refresh Project. It’s free to do and only takes a moment. *A commenter brought up a good point: the sound of the soda can being opened means you logged in, but you still need to click on “vote for this idea”. If that button is visible, you haven’t voted. You can vote once a day!
Pets for Patriots’ “Bring Loyalty Home” program will expand the number of people we serve and pets we save in the U.S.
We connect veterans, wounded soldiers and service members with animal shelters in their community to find a new pet friend. Eligible pets are a dog or cat two years or older, a large dog (40+ pounds), or a special needs dog or cat – those most in need of a loving home and at greatest risk of being killed. Veterans are eligible at any stage of their careers and from all armed forces.
Our charity offsets the veterans’ costs of pet food and supplies, and provides access to ongoing discounted veterinary care.
Currently we operate in seven states. In July we launched a program with the Army AW2 Wounded Warrior Program to help wounded soldiers adjust to civilian life through adult pet adoption. Over the next year we’d like to expand to other armed forces’ wounded care programs and strengthen outreach to national and regional veterans’ organizations.
This is such a great project and I really hope we can help them with this grant that would mean so much to many service members as well as dogs in shelters needing homes.