After life of service Navy veteran rescues petite pup as his first mate

After life of service Navy veteran rescues petite pup as his first mate

Bob has led a life of service and now enjoys a well deserved retirement, one he shares with a tiny dog he adopted from a Florida animal shelter.

Great adventures

In 1967 Bob graduated high school; the world was his oyster. He enrolled in college courses and, after two years, decided to enlist in the Navy.

The majority of the young sailor’s tour of duty was spent in New Jersey, Tennessee, and Florida. He attained the AK3 rating of aviation storekeeper petty officer 3rd class. These professionals manage repair and general inventory for ships, squadrons, and shore-based activities.

Although Bob served mostly stateside, during his tour he was stationed at Keflavik, Iceland as well. He recalls it as a “great experience” and has mostly fond memories of his military service.

Two things come to Bob’s mind when recalling the high points of his tour of duty.

“Meeting new people and having great adventures.”

The Navy veteran separated from service in 1973 to begin his life as a civilian. However, while he was no longer in the military, Bob still had a strong desire to live a life of service.

“It was the right time to adopt”

After leaving the Navy Bob joined the Key West, Florida police department. Over the years he would serve in police departments in both Maine and Long Island, New York.

After life of service Navy veteran rescues petite pup as his first mate

Finally in 2007 – after 27 years in civilian law enforcement – Bob retired for good and headed back south.

“[I’m] living the life in Delray Beach, Florida,” he says.

However, eventually the Navy veteran found himself coping with an unspoken loneliness. The transition from work life to retirement was difficult.

Bob reminisced about having grown up with dogs – the ultimate antidote for the lonely.

“I always had relationship with a pet dog in my family,” he shares. “Always had a love for the canine.”

But it was another sentiment that fueled Bob’s desire to adopt a companion pet.

The Navy veteran found himself feeling a bit jealous of people in his community who had dogs. And he realized that he finally had a lifestyle that would be ideal to share with a new pet friend.

“After retirement I found more time to spend with a companion,” he says. “I started to envy people who had a dog. It was the right time to adopt.”

Let the sun shine in

Some friends told Bob about Pets for Patriots and our companion pet adoption program for military veterans. So in March 2019 he applied and was accepted into our program, and began his search for a dog of his own.

After life of service Navy veteran rescues petite pup as his first mate

Shortly thereafter a then two year-old dog named Sun entered one of our Florida shelter partners. The petite pup – a Chihuahua mix – would spend a few weeks in their care waiting for her hero.

Although small dogs like Sun are generally adopted quickly, each pet is an individual. Often there is no rhyme or reason why some are rescued right away and others languish for months, even years.

Fortunately Sun would not have too long to wait. Nearly one month after entering the shelter she went home with Bob. The pair have not looked back since.

Adopting a pet for life

After years of seeing other people with pet dogs Bob had an awakening to adopt one of his own. However, he recognizes that adopting pets for life is a solemn commitment and not one to be taken casually.

“It is a great responsibility to own a pet, whatever they may be. It is a truly awarding commitment,” he says. “Pets for Patriots is the place to go to find well cared-for pets to adopt.”

Since 2010 we are proud to have saved thousands of the most vulnerable shelter animals nationwide.

We focus solely on dogs and cats who are adult, special needs, or chronically homeless, and large breed dogs. These are the animals at greatest risk of death or chronic homelessness.

Sun – since renamed Roxanne, or Roxie for short – struggled to find a home until she met Bob.

Now the pint-sized pup is living large.

“She loves going for rides in the car to the park or shopping. I take her almost everywhere a dog can go,” Bob says.

Roxie’s antics keep the Navy veteran entertained. She is spirited and curious, yet enjoys settling in for a good snuggle as well.

“It is funny watching her trying to catch geckos,” he shares, “[and] comforting when she lies down with me and family members.”

“She makes me happy”

We often say that adoption saves lives at both ends of the leash.

Roxie was spared the prospect of spending months or even years in an animal shelter. She needed a loving home with a guardian who understands that adoption is for life. And Bob was rejuvenated in retirement – after a long life of service to others – with a companion who keeps his loneliness at bay.

“When alone, Roxie is a loving friend to have around,” he says. “She is a loving family member. She makes me happy.”


  1. Panda J.

    Thank you for your service, Bob. Roxie is a cutie! Wishing you and your family many years together. God Bless all of you.

  2. Jacquelyn

    Thank you for your service. So happy for you and Roxie.

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