Companion pet fills “dog-shaped hole” in veteran’s life

Kip and Ceilidh

Kip insists his that reasons for adopting a companion pet were anything but dramatic, yet the full-time Guardsman admits that he had a “dog-shaped hole” in his life that only a rescue pup could fill.

In 1982, Kip enlisted in the Air Force as a security specialist and several years later accepted cross-training into computer operations. Since that time he has been a self-confessed “nerd.”

After three tours of duty Kip felt the lure of the civilian world, an attraction which would be relatively brief. In 2003, after several years out of the military, he re-enlisted and joined an Army National Guard infantry regiment.

“The demands of the infantry took too great a toll on my health,” he says, “so I transferred to the Air National Guard unit that I am currently in.”

Kip is now the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) in charge of the Computer Support Helpdesk with the 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In his free time he studies early American history and volunteers as the traditional woodwright at a local historical site. He and his wife of 15 years enjoy time with their grandchildren, as well.

Kip and Ceilidh

As a security specialist Kip is accustomed to responding to various alarms.

On Thanksgiving Day in 1987 the veteran was stationed at Grissom Air Force Base when his dinner was interrupted no less than three times in the course of an hour.

“Alert klaxon, duress alarm and secured area automated alarm,” he recalls.

Perhaps in a nod to the holiday, Kip and his partner were pleasantly surprised each time they returned to finish their dinners.

“We found that the dining facility staff had replaced our half-eaten food with fresh, fully-loaded plates at no charge.”

Choosing companion pet adoption

Kip notes that his decision to adopt a companion pet “is not a tear-jerker story,” but it does not make it any less emotional – or meaningful.

“Dogs and cats have been a part of my life since birth,” the veteran shares. “A home without a pet is a very lonely house.”

In addition to filling an emotional void, Kip wanted a protector for his wife for those occasions when the military requires him to travel. When it came time to look for a dog there was only one option: they would adopt.

“My wife and I are big believers in rescue over purchase, when it comes to pets. So far we have been lucky enough to attract some great dogs and cats,” Kip says. “The incentives that Pets for Patriots offers were just icing on the cake we planned on baking.”

Kip refers to the various benefits we provide to veterans who adopt program eligible pets through our nationwide network of shelter and rescue partners.

In addition to a generous ‘welcome home’ contribution to take the financial sting out of purchasing pet food and supplies, we provide access to discounted veterinary care and exclusive discounts on pet products offered by businesses that share our vision to end animal homelessness.

Rescue pup makes veteran’s life complete

Kip’s search for the perfect pet ended in the same place where it began: at his local town shelter, City of Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control.

Like many municipal shelters the organization is involved in all aspects of animal welfare, including pet adoption, licensing, humane education, community support and the enforcement of animal-related laws.

Kip and Ceilidh companion pet

What the veteran did not realize prior to his visit is that the shelter partners with us to help the most overlooked dogs and cats in their care find loving homes with veterans.

At the shelter Kip and his wife met a beautiful two year-old dog with a honey-colored coat and a sweet disposition. Kip adopted her, and the couple named her Céilidh (pronounced Kay-lee).

Every day, Céilidh shows her outright joy at having been giving a second chance at life.

“She always greets me at the door when I get home from work with the enthusiasm that only a dog can express,” Kip marvels.

Between veteran and rescue dog, it is hard to know who is giving – or getting – more out of the relationship. Kip insists it is not about him at all.

“Céilidh fills that dog-shaped hole I have in my life,” he shares. “Besides, it’s not about what the pet gives me; it’s about what the animal needs from us.”


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