As a first-time pet adopter Brandon was unsure of what to expect. But it did not take long for the Army veteran to commit to saving another shelter dog.
From service to civilian life
Brandon served in the Army Reserves for five years as a 92A logistics specialist.
These professionals are responsible for managing the stock, storage, and shipment of ammunition and equipment vital to our combat forces. Their role involves managing the supply chain for medical and food supplies as well.
While with the Reserves Brandon served in Opelika, Alabama, and during active duty he was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. After five years of service Brandon separated from the military to start a new life.
The young veteran currently works as a dispatch supervisor, and lives with his wife Ken’isha in the Dallas Fort Worth area.
First-time pet adopter
While some veterans come to Pets for Patriots as experienced adopters, Brandon was not among them.
“This shall be be my first pet,” he shared when he applied. “But I’m ready to for this opportunity. I’m excited to have a dog as a pet and part of my family.”
So immediately after New Years 2019 Brandon became a first-time pet adopter.
“I never had a pet before and I’m 25 years old now,” Brandon shares. “My wife and I [were] looking to adding to our family. Adopting a dog just felt so right.”
The couple visited our partners Prairie Paws Adoption Center. Since 2016 the shelter has offered half-priced adoption fees to veterans in our program who adopt eligible dogs and cats. It was there that they met Tulip, who barely tipped the scale at 10 pounds.
At the time Tulip was a two year-old Dachshund with heartworm disease. She had been in the shelter for a few weeks after being found as a stray, so her history is unknown.
Still, Brandon was smitten. And in the blink of an eye the Army veteran became a first-time pet adopter. Tulip was soon renamed Nutmeg, owing to her coat being the same color as the Indonesian spice.
“…four-legged bundle of joy…”
The young veteran has no regrets about being a first-time pet adopter. He has his new, tiny charge to thank for giving him such a wonderful introduction to the life of a pet parent.
“Nutmeg has been great addition to our household,” Brandon says. “She’s been four-legged bundle of joy and happiness.”
The pint-sized Dachshund – a breed informally known as a Doxie – has adapted effortlessly to her new life. It is almost as though she knows that Brandon is a first-time adopter and wants him to appreciate all of the benefits of an adopted pet.
And the Army veteran seems to have gotten the message.
“Our Doxie has been a very touching addition to our household and family. She’s loving and very passionate. She loves napping, walks, playing with her toys a lot and being nearby 24/7,” he says. “I don’t know how life would be without her in the family.”
Adopted dog is a “true gift”
It was Ken’isha who told her husband about Pets for Patriots and our companion pet adoption program for military veterans. She often assumes the responsibility of finding various programs that would benefit her husband and their family.
“My wife is amazing with doing research for different resources that help soldiers and veterans,” he says. “We choose your group. Y’all seem to really show love and appreciation for what you do for pets and their owners.”
Pets for Patriots is open to veterans from WWII to those currently in service, from all armed forces.
Companion dogs and cats are natural four-legged therapists. They help veterans living with Post Traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Pets help ease the transition from service to civilian life. And companion animals are wonderful surrogates for military families who are coping with the absence of a parent or partner.
Simply put, pets are beneficial for veterans, whether or not they have deployed, served in combat, or suffered physical or emotional injuries.
“This is my first pet ever,” Brandon says once more with pride. “Having her really is a true gift.”
Sugar and spice and all that is nice
It was just a few months after Brandon adopted Nutmeg that he added another pup to his pack. He and Ken’isha enjoyed having a dog in their home and believed that two dogs would double the joy. Plus, they wanted Nutmeg to have company when they were not home.
The couple returned to Prairie Paws Adoption Center where they met Jessie, a then eight year-old Bichon Frise. The Army veteran admits he was unsure if he was prepared to adopt a senior pet.
“I’ll be honest with you, I was a little skeptical at first because she was older. But I changed instantly when meeting and her getting comfortable in her new home.”
Unlike Nutmeg, Jessie – renamed Sugar – had a known past. She had a family for several years who brought her to the shelter when they could no longer care for her. While many dogs and cats are surrendered to shelters every day, it is not the only responsible way to rehome a pet.
Luckily for Sugar, she found a great new home with Brandon, Ken’isha and Nutmeg.
No place like home
Since adopting Nutmeg and Sugar, Brandon has become a doting, experienced pet parent. He enjoys equally the spicy personality of much-younger Nutmeg and the sweet disposition of his older dog Sugar.
“They truly are amazing dogs that my wife and I love so much,” he says. “The girls are inseparable since getting adjusted to one another. They comfort and play with one another.”
Brandon may no longer be a first-time pet adopter, but adding another pet to his home was no less transformative. Each pet has her own personality and contributes to the household dynamic. The Army veteran encourages other veterans interested in adopting to apply to Pets for Patriots, calling it a “great opportunity” that enhanced his life.
In fact, Brandon now advocates for others to consider a senior pet as well. While he was unsure at first, it did not take long for him to realize that they make equally wonderful companions.
“I will say, ‘do not be afraid to get an older dog.’ They need love and appreciation just as a young pup,” he shares. “Sugar acts now as if she been with us all of her life. Older dogs will be bring you so much comfort and joy.”