Combat veteran adapts to civilian life with second-chance Pit Bull pup

It was a tough decision for an Army combat veteran to bring a Pit Bull into his young family, but his decision to give the much-maligned breed a second chance paid off for all involved. Chase (Montrell)_cropped

Army strong, Army proud

One year after the 9/11 terror attacks Montrell joined the United States Army. It was September 2002 when he enlisted and was subsequently stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia with the 3rd Infantry Division. Formed in 1917, the unit has become one of our nation’s top military units for dealing with contingencies around the world.

Early in 2003 Montrell arrived at Fort Stewart March in Southeast Georgia at a time when his unit was actively deploying to Iraq.

“At that point I had to quickly adjust,” he recalls, “things started to move at a fast pace.”

It was not long til the young Army infantryman found himself in the thick of battle.

“I soon joined up in the fight with my fellow brothers of field artillery,” he says. “After seven months, we returned from deployment and soon began preparation for a one-year long deployment in early 2005.”

By the following year Montrell had completed his full tour of duty.

“After returning to the states early 2006,” he says, “I began to prepare for out-processing after completing my service obligation with the Army.”

In 2006 following deployments to Iraq and Kuwait, Montrell separated from the Army with an Honorable discharge and started his life anew.

Life after wartime

While the Army prepared Montrell to fight, it did not prepare him for what would come next: life outside of the military.

“As I began to transition back to civilian life,” he shares, “I then began to ask myself the question, ‘now what?'” Montrell and daughter selfie_cropped

Montrell left Georgia and settled in Indianapolis, where he started a family. He is currently employed at Defense Finance Accounting and Services (DFAS), where the combat veteran feels that he is still making a contribution to his fellow service members. It is clear that he is a man proud of the many accomplishments in his life, chief among them military service and fatherhood.

“I am proud to give back and provide support to the warfighter and the services which support the United States Department of Defense,” he says, adding, “I am a proud father of three beautiful daughters ages four, six and eight who are the joys of my life.”

By all measure the young Army veteran seemed to have weathered a transition that proves deeply challenging for so many. Yet a nagging feeling haunted him long after his separation from service.

“After some years I began to feel like something was missing,” he says. “Being in a house of all ladies, I thought it would be a good idea to look into a male pup.”

Montrell’s decision was not one of simple household chemistry; he realized that he needed a different kind of support – the kind offered by a companion pet.

Pit Bull pup gets his second chance

“As a combat vet, times weren’t always so easy,” Montrell says, “so the idea of a furry friend didn’t seem like a bad idea.” Montrell, family and Chase_cropped

The combat veteran had no idea what kind or type of dog he was looking for, other than believing he would prefer a male. For weeks he searched the online profiles of available pets at the Humane Society of Indianapolis which, unbeknownst to him at the time, is one of hundreds of Pets for Patriots adoption partners around the country.

“One Friday a pup name Cagnie was added on their page. Cagnie fit every quality of a dog we were looking for except for the fact he was a Pit Bull mix.”

Montrell had negative preconceptions about Pit Bulls, and was concerned for his young family’s welfare. In fact, Pit Bull is a generic term that refers to a wide variety of dog breeds that have become unfairly associated with tenacity and aggression.

“[I was] initially reluctant of the Pit Bull breed due to their negative perception and me having three small children,” he says, “I decided to give him a try and work with him as necessary.” 

“My new best friend”

Although it was Montrell’s idea to adopt a dog, he knew this was ultimately a family decision.

“After the initial meet and greet with Cagnie and my family, we decided that this dog could possibly be the one,” he says. “From that day until today, Chase, formerly Cagnie, has been such a great addition to the family.” Chase (Montrell) and the girls_cropped

Montrell admits that he did not know about Pets for Patriots and our companion pet adoption program for veterans until he started his month-long search for a dog.

“The organization was created for vets like myself and serves the exact same purpose of what I needed in my life.”

The combat veteran believes other veterans who “have any desire to fulfill a missing link within their lives” consider adopting through Pets for Patriots.

“I can honestly say I’m so glad I did!” he exclaims.

As it turns out, Montrell could not be happier that he gave Chase a second chance, and set aside the negative perceptions he had about Pit Bulls.

“Not only is he well-mannered and loves my kids,” he says, “he became my new best friend.”


  1. Raye Mayhorn

    I loved this story so much I favorited & retweeted it because I am a Veteran, I love the Pit Bull breeds and I am one of three sisters. Feels like it could be my story. Great job, good news!

  2. Vanessa

    I am proud of you Montrell. Beautiful family with a beautiful dog.

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