Mission accomplished: Army officer gives abandoned dog new leash on life

John and Izzie

It’s mission accomplished for an Army Lieutenant Colonel whose compassion and sense of duty led him to give an abandoned dog a second chance at life. Izzie was found in an apartment without food, water or family, and spent nearly four months in the care of our partners at the Washington Humane Society. Despite attending numerous adoption events, no one took an interest in her until an Army officer saw what no one else could see. This is their story.


A storied Army career

I initially began my military service as a junior in high school by enlisting into the New Hampshire Army National Guard. My military occupational specialty was Cannon Crewmember (13B). I remained in the National Guard through high school and college. Upon graduating from Norwich University, the nation’s first private military college, I was commissioned a 2LT in the US Army and was branched Field Artillery. Throughout the last 20 years my family and I have been all over the country and we currently reside in Northern Virginia.

Currently, I am stationed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia and am assigned to the Command and General Staff College (Satellite Campus) where I serve as an instructor for the Department of Joint, Interagency, and Multinational OperationsJohn and Izzie

After 20 years of active duty military service, I have experienced many great things. I have jumped out of airplanes, rappelled out of helicopters, fought forest fires in Montana, traveled to many countries, and even landed on an aircraft carrier— as a passenger, of course. I have also had the pleasure to serve in two of the Army’s most storied divisions— the 101st Airborne Division and 10th Mountain Division.

My most memorable experience in my career was when I commanded a field artillery firing batter in the 101st Airborne Division. During my time in command, I was blessed with great leaders and Soldiers who taught me so much more about leadership, service, duty, and selfless service than any school or book could have. I looked forward to going to work every day.

We chose to adopt a pet because we wanted to provide a dog a second, and much better, opportunity at life. For us, having dogs brings balance to our home.

Abandoned, overlooked dog gives Army veteran a new mission

The main reason we chose Pets for Patriots is because they placed focus on hard to place dogs.

Izzie has been a great addition to our family. Shortly before we adopted Izzie, we had to put our dog Cannon down due to his advanced age and illness. By bringing Izzie into our home, she has helped us heal after Cannon’s passing. She has also gave us a mission— make her feel safe and loved. That mission has provided a sense of accomplishment for all of us. Izzie and family

Izzie has such a zest for life. She is incredibly affectionate, curious, and playful. We consider ourselves very lucky to have adopted her. I would absolutely recommend the program to others.

I think veterans need to understand they are uniquely qualified to adopt a dog (or cat) due to the ethos and values each service member or veteran has. Service members and veterans understand the never quitting and mission accomplishment. I highlight those two because a shelter dog can seem like a bit of a challenge at first. No dog, or cat, arrives at a shelter because of great circumstances. Because they are often abandoned, abused, or were unwanted, they can take time before they are completely comfortable in their new home and trusting of their owner(s). In our case, it took about three months before Izzie finally showed us all she has to offer.

Leading up to that point, it wasn’t always easy, but we were not going to give up on her because we knew that somewhere inside of her there was so much more she wanted to give. She just needed the opportunity to show it.


How did you know when your second chance pet was finally “at home?”

1 Comment

  1. Beverley Hanlin

    This is so true, we adopted our Husky from a shelter and it honestly took 2 years for her to recover from her first year of life. It’s a horror story we only know a few facts about, but she has been a loving addition to our childless (not our choice) family for 6 years now. The early days were rough, but when you look back and see the leaps and bounds she has come…… it makes every lick(kiss) worth it!

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