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.
Haunting story of the military man and his Beagle. Thanks for bringing awareness to this worthy organization, and I look forward to reading more in future posts. What a great service they provide, and I just voted at Pepsi Refresh.
Miss Kodee says
What a touching story and Pets for Patriots sounds like a fabulous project.
hidden exposures says
i just voted too. just a quick word of advice – since i was new to pepsi refresh i had to sign up when i tried to vote. i thought that after i signed up it had registered my vote, but apparently not…so those who are new, sign up and then vote for it, if that makes sense.
Annette Frey says
Will do and will also post! Great program!
Pup Fan says
Such a touching story… heading over to vote now. Thanks for sharing info about this program!
My husband has been in the Air Force for 12 years now, and we had to put our 14 year old German Shepherd Missy to sleep last week. It was so very hard on him, we had her longer than we were married. She was always the second one (after me) to welcome him home from deployments…….
pet beds says
A fantastically worthy project. The more we learn about the relationship between pets and humans, the more we see that pets are a stabilizing force, helping people to handle anxiety and depression. War is inherently traumatic, and many returning veterans come home with some kind of emotional damage, sometimes even full-blown PTSD; for these vets, the unconditional love of a pet can help them towards healing those invisible wounds.
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pet beds and more
Shelley @ Green Eggs & Hamlet says
I voted, posted on facebook, and tweeted on Twitter. What a great program! I’ll keep voting.