Veterans and service members who honorably adopt shelter pets through our program often speak about the empathy they have for their last-chance dog or cat. Many feel isolated, lonely and unwanted, and tell us how they can relate to the animals they ultimately save.
Ben and Siren formed a strong bond through the abandonment they each experienced in their lives.
Ben is a Staff Seargent in the Air Force. Stationed at Langley Air Force Base (AFB) for six years, he works the stealth coatings for the F-22. Like many military personnel, Ben serves where the military needs him; throughout his career he’s served temporary duty at Tyndall AFB, Nellis AFB, Hickam AFB, Ft. Hood, Wake Island and Kadena AFB. He cherishes going home each night to his adopted dog, Siren.
“I work long hours and in a stressful environment, and it’s great to come home to Siren after a hard day of work.”
But Ben didn’t always have a loving companion greeting him at the door. When asked why he chose to adopt through Pets for Patriots, his answer is heartbreaking.
“I chose to adopt Siren through the program because I knew that she and I could relate our lives to each other,” he says.
“I got Siren shortly after my wife left me. After I heard that Siren was also abandoned and stuck in the pound for half of her life, I knew that we would be a great match.”
It’s well established that companion pets provide valuable mental and physical health benefits to their guardians: fewer feelings of isolation or depression, improved sense of well-being, lower blood pressure and cholesterol among just a few. Less easily quantified is the profound bond between people and pets who intuitively feel the other’s pain. Some may question whether animals have the capacity for empathy; we’ll leave that for others to argue. What we do know is that they love without judgment or condition.
“Siren has dramatically changed my life,” he says. “When I get off of work and come home to Siren, she is just as excited to play with me as I am with her. The love and gratitude that she shows me proves that she is happy in her new home.”
At Pets for Patriots, we’re honored to have played our part in connecting Ben and Siren, two souls who needed – and continue to need – one another. But Ben says it best:
“I feel that I’m in a much better place in my life now that Siren is in it.”
What life challenge has your pet helped you through?
6 yrs at Langley is enough to stress anyone out without taking into account life’s big stressors! My husband and I were there for 6 yrs as well and also got a rescue dog (though we didn’t know about this program at the time). Rescues are so special they know you’ve saved them and they save you right back! Glad you found eachother!!
So happy you two got together animals are wonderful they have unconditional love God Bless both of you
We resuced our cat Lia in 2007, about 4 months before my (then) boyfriend was sent for USAF training halfway across the country. I was at the beginning of what would become a pretty big alcohol dependency and being alone was really hard for me. Lia was then and continues to be a great source of stress relief and companionship. I have since gotten married to my wonderful Airman, I have 2+ years sober under my belt and we are expecting twin boys within the next month or so! Through it all, Lia and our other rescue cat, Sheamus, that we got 1 1/2 years ago, have been such wonderful companions to both of us. I honestly don’t know where we would be without their unconditional love. Congrats to all the miitary members and their rescues who more than deserve each other!!
Alison, congratulations on your two years’ of sobriety, your marriage and the impending birth of your twin boys! It sounds like Lia provided the love and stability you needed to turn your life around. Thanks for sharing and keep up the outstanding work of staying on the right path.
I will never understand what Ben goes through but I do know what a dog’s love has done for me. I am so happy they found each other. And that they have this adoption place for soldiers. There is no greater love than unconditional love. And that can definitely be gotten from a dog. I wish you the best and each of you have saved the other.
Great storey, I’glad Ben and Siren found one another. I also own a pit and they are the best, but seriously Ben, Siren needs to lose some weight
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