“…made me change for the better…”
Christopher joined the military for a fresh start.
“Things weren’t going very well after I graduated high school so I decided to go into the service,” he says. “I liked the idea of construction and knew I would get some experience in the Seabees.”
The Seabees form the U.S. Naval Construction Force, which builds, repairs, and supports a wide range of fixed and portable assets.
The Navy veteran has the fondest memories of his deployments to Spain and Puerto Rico.
“I met some very inspiring people who made me change for the better the person I was,” he shares.
In 2012, Christopher and his wife Peggy suffered the loss of their nearly 14 year-old dog, Brandi. Just prior to Brandi’s passing the couple visited one of our upstate New York shelter partners and adopted Cinnamon, previously named Faith.
“I wanted to adopt a pet because I knew the dog we had was not going to be around much longer,” Christopher recalls. “Having a dog has been very comforting.”
Luckily, Cinnamon was excellent with the couple’s seven grandchildren. Christopher spends a lot of time with them and enjoys watching them participate in various activities.
“Three are cheerleaders, one plays soccer, the other two play football and baseball.”
And once Brandi passed, the little rescue dog helped them fill the void in their own empty nest. Cinnamon helped navigate her Navy veteran through grieving his other beloved pet.
However, the little rescue dog was finding it difficult to adjust to home life. She was anxious, barked all the time, and was not as comfortable with Christopher as she was with Peggy.
“At first she was very skittish and barked at every sound,” Peggy shares.
Cinnamon would even bark at Christopher when she felt uneasy. But as time passed, so did the little dog’s anxieties.
“Now my husband can do just about anything such as sawing, pounding, even mow the lawn, and she won’t bark,” Peggy says. “Cinnamon has developed into a more confident dog.”
The Beagle mix has even cozied up to the Navy veteran who saved her.
“She will jump up on my lap and put her paws on my shoulders and lay her head next to mine,” Christopher says. “Then she will roll over like a baby so I can rub her belly.”
A hound at the home front
Now several years since her adoption, Cinnamon takes her job seriously as the family protector. Christopher’s work as a truck driver means that sometimes he is away from home for days at a time.
Peggy feels safer with Cinnamon at her side and Christopher appreciates his rescue dog’s vigilance when he is gone.
But the Navy veteran noticed that Cinnamon is selective when it comes to who needs protecting. He finds it amusing that only Peggy inspires Cinnamon’s bravery.
“When she [Peggy] is home Cinnamon barks at visitors,” he says. “If my wife is not home, she doesn’t bark.”
Still, Christopher loves that when he comes home he can count on Cinnamon to welcome him with adoration.
“Cinnamon gets very excited when I come home from work,” he says. “If I have been gone a day or a week she always gets excited to see me.”
Cinnamon, spice and all that is nice
Christopher is grateful that Pets for Patriots helped make Cinnamon’s adoption possible. He found out about our companion pet adoption program for military veterans when he visited Lollypop Farm, Humane Society of Greater Rochester.
Since 2011, Lollypop Farm has offered our veterans a 50 percent discount when they adopt a program-eligible dog or cat. Since Cinnamon was two years old at the time of her adoption she qualified to receive all the benefits of our program.
“Going through Pets for Patriots helped me be able to afford to adopt a dog,” Christopher says.
And while Cinnamon required a great deal of love and patience to overcome her initial fears, she repays that love many times over. The little rescue dog has her own way of showing her human family how much she cares about them.
“Cinnamon is a very quiet dog for the most part,” the Navy veteran observes. “She is a nervous dog, but is a cuddle dog. She is very loving, especially if one is upset or not feeling well.”
Perhaps what makes Cinnamon so endearing, however, is how she enjoys the simple things in life. She loves playing fetch with whatever is her favorite toy of the moment, usually a squeaky toy. And she has learned a few basic tricks to show off her good manners.
“She lays down, rolls over, plays dead, and shakes with both paws,” Christopher says proudly. “We love her very much.”