Army family finds joy in second chance cat

Martin and Heart

It was an adopted second chance cat that helped an Army veteran and family man keep a promise to his young daughter.

The commitment

Martin is an Army veteran who lives in Shelby Township, Michigan with his wife, an Army recruiter, and their six year-old daughter. He is currently a police training officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Detroit.

For years, Martin’s daughter had begged her parents for a kitten. However, with two family dogs – a Yellow Labrador and a Beagle-Jack Russell Terrier mix – Martin and his wife felt they already had enough to handle, and promised their daughter that they would allow her to bring home a kitten…eventually. Martin and Heart

That day arrived in March 2013 when the Army veteran and his family were honorably adopted by Heart, an eight year-old “kitten at heart.”

An Army life

Martin entered the Army in July 1994 and attended Military Police One Station Unit Training at Fort McClellan in Alabama. After completing OSUT, Martin spent a year in Korea. He then returned stateside to Fort Knox, Kentucky. When he was released from active duty in July 1999, Martin served in the Michigan Army National Guard until his term of service expired in January 2006.

Of his twelve years of military service, Martin says that he had “way too many memorable experiences…to narrow it down to just one.” He values most the camaraderie experienced only through military service:

“No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you always have your battle buddy to depend on,” he says. “I still keep in contact with many of those friends to this day.”

A promise honored: an adopted cat

Martin’s daughter never forgot her parents’ promise to get a kitten.

One day when mother and daughter were browsing in a local pet store, they found a flyer for Pets for Patriots. After researching the details of the Pets for Patriots program and its mission to pair at-risk shelter animals and veterans, they visited the Michigan Humane Society, the nationwide charity’s adoption partner located closest to their home.

Martin’s daughter “immediately fell in love with an eight-year old ‘kitten at heart’ and desperately wanted to take her home the same day,” recalls the Army veteran.

Unfortunately, Martin’s work schedule did not allow him to make it down to the shelter that day, and his daughter feared she might lose the opportunity to adopt the eight-year old feline.

As luck would have it,  Martin’s family returned to the shelter the next day and the aptly-named “Heart” was still there, waiting for a new home. It was clear to Martin that he could to make two dreams come true at once: his daughter’s dream of a pet cat, and Heart’s dream of a new forever home.

A cat named Heart lives up to her name

Adopting Heart brought new joy to this Army family.

The adult cat keeps Martin’s wife company while she works late at night on the computer (now known as Heart’s new bed). Martin’s daughter has the pet she always wanted. And, as a bonus, Martin’s wardrobe has been accessorized with cat hair, since Heart likes to nap in the veteran’s favorite chair when she isn’t busy keeping the computer warm. Mom daughter and Heart

“I feel our life has changed dramatically,” Martin says, “because it has given the entire family a bit of happiness.”

Martin describes Heart as a playful pet, who savors human attention.

“I also love how she craves immediate affection at 4:30 in the morning,” jokes the Army veteran. Heart gets along well with the family’s dogs, too.

The Pets for Patriots program appealed to Martin and his family because of its advocacy for homeless pets that are often the last to find new homes and the first to be put to sleep in overcrowded shelters: older or special needs pets, and large breed dogs. With Pets for Patriots’ help and benefits, Martin felt even better about adopting Heart. In addition to a deeply discounted adoption fee of just $10 for the adult cat, Heart is eligible to receive ongoing, discounted care at any of Michigan Humane Society’s three veterinary centers.

“We were able to give our new addition a second chance she may have never received,” he says, adding, “After all, everyone deserves a second chance.”

Have you ever given or received a second chance at life?


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