After a life at sea Navy veteran comes home to abused rescue dog

After a life at sea Navy veteran comes home to abused rescue dog

Scott enjoyed a fulfilling Navy career and home life until a series of events left him drowning in loneliness. His lifeline came in the form of an abused rescue dog who navigated them both to calmer waters.

Life at sea

For the better part of two decades the Navy has been Scott’s world. He retires in January, 2018 and is preparing for the transition from military to civilian life. In anticipation of this major change he reflects upon his long and fulfilling Navy career as an aviation boatswain’s mate, chief petty officer.

“I have been in Chicago, Florida, Maryland, Virginia,” he says, “and have made seven deployments. I work on the flight deck of air capable ships in the Navy.”

Scott believes his most important – and memorable – experiences are those formed through the camaraderie with his fellow sailors.

“What sticks in my mind is being able to help mentor someone with wide eyes and little knowledge of life, and see and get to watch them grow into men and women,” he shares. “I give them all my phone number and I get calls all the time asking for help with something, and it makes me smile.”

“Beyond lonely”

Although Scott’s Navy career has been gratifying, his personal life was another matter. In a very short period of time his world turned upside down; he lost everyone close to him.

After a life at sea Navy veteran comes home to abused rescue dog

“In a span of a month got separated and had two dogs die. The Basset Hound of eight years got cancer and passed away, and the Irish setter of 14 years died eight days later,” Scott says. “I had a three-story house and it was beyond lonely in it after all of this.”

The Navy veteran had gone from a full house to a painfully empty one in a matter of weeks. Like many people facing such abject loneliness he decided to adopt a companion pet. Yet little did he know that his salvation would come in the form of an abused rescue dog who was in a world of hurt as well.

“I was in a bad spot in life and needed someone to come home to,” he explains.

Although Scott could have adopted a pet on his own, he chose to do so through Pets for Patriots.

Our organization is dedicated towards military veterans from WWII to active duty personnel. We often work with people who are experiencing emotional hardship and who find renewed purpose with a rescued dog or cat.

“Who better than Pets for Patriots to sort of understand what I might be going through as a military member,” Scott says.

Abused rescue dog to the rescue

The Navy veteran’s search started online – and ended almost as soon as it began.

“I knew I needed to do something,” Scott says, “so I got on a website and the first dog I saw was Zoey.”

After a life at sea Navy veteran comes home to abused rescue dog

At the time Zoey was a two year-old English Mastiff who was saved from a horrible existence. She met our adoption criteria and, more important, filled the void that had suddenly taken over Scott’s life.

Yet due to her rough beginnings, Zoey had never learned good canine manners. Scott sent her to an obedience school to learn basic commands, as well as on- and off-leash walking.

The big dog has had an even bigger impact on her veteran’s life and well-being.

“What hasn’t she changed,” Scott asks aloud. “[We] found each other in bad spots of our lives. She had been abused and relinquished to a rescue. Once she learned that I wasn’t going anywhere she warmed up and we started living life together.”

Scott sums up the impact that Zoey has had in his life with three simple words: trust, dedication and devotion. And he recommends other veterans adopt through Pets for Patriots as well.

“Do it!! I did and have no regrets,” he says, “and I will do it again in the future.”

New dog, new life, new wife

It would be fair to say that both the big, abused rescue dog and her Navy veteran are works in progress.

As Zoey becomes more confident and balanced, she helps Scott feel more grounded. And her progress is possible only because of the time, love and passion he devotes to her recovery.

“She taught me patience, and the joy of watching and working with her to see her grow and trust. I taught her trust, how to swim,” he says, “how to ride on a boat. Barking and running around the boat after the dolphins is her favorite thing.”

Scott and his four-legged battle buddy share nearly every adventure – together. Despite her size, it seems that there are few activities that do not involve Zoey.

“She loves sitting in the seat in the back of the truck with her head out the window,” Scott says.

Zoey has even weighed in on Scott’s love life. The big dog lets him know when someone he is seeing does not meet with her approval. Scott would take Zoey’s opinions to heart.

After a life at sea Navy veteran comes home to abused rescue dog

“When I would let someone I was dating meeting her she was standoffish and would bark and not come near them,” he says. 

Luckily, Scott was not destined for eternal bachelorhood. One day Zoey met the woman whom she thought deserving of her savior.

“I met Tracy – now my wife – and said, ‘Well let’s see what Zoey says about her.’ She was the first woman I introduced her to that she didn’t bark at, she instead ran over to her and sat down and wagged her tail.”

The Navy veteran got the message.

“I said, ‘Okay, okay Zoey, I got it, I got it,'” he shares. “Now I have a dog and wife who are totally inseparable.”


  1. sarah

    Hi Scott

    It was heartwarming to read your post. My husband and I have been owned by Old English Mastiffs for over 20 years. Im a animal lover of all shapes and sizes but theres an additional bonus in living with this “tremendous” breed of dog. They intuitively know whats right and wrong for their owners and just have a sick sense of knowing whats in their best interests> We’ve been blessed to live our lives with this breed of dog for long enough to know that they are truly a “Gift from God” and trust me we’ve weathered our fair share of life’s catastrophies. Im so glad you met this dog, treasure her, she will be alight in your life in every way and that of your new partner. You are truly blessed. I wish you all the best.

  2. Alyson

    Thank you for your service – and for sharing this beautiful rescue story.

  3. Suhail

    God Bless you all! I will definitely adopt my future furry best friend from Pets for Patriot. Navy veteran myself & getting ready to adopt soon, God willing.

  4. Judith G

    Such a touching story on all levels. So glad you 3 found each other!

  5. Wayne

    Scott, I too, am a veteran and had dogs all my life. After having to put down my dog of 12 years, I was in a zone that I didn’t realize. After several trips to the local Humane society saw a dog who was supposed to have several problems of her own and had been returned twice by previous families. Her future was a little bleak! I knew immediately that she was my choice and said she was the one I wanted. After two years together she is my shadow and knows who she thinks I should associate with. She hasn’t picked me a mate yet but I think she’s working on it.

  6. JonE McCarty

    Such a sweet, uplifting account of you and Zoey’s lives. Thanks for sharing Scott!!!❤️

  7. DeplorableMarineBarry

    If dog owners paid attention to who their dogs like and dislike, they could learn a lot!!

  8. Suzanne ZLee

    This is a great story and I love my son and grand dog.

  9. Michelle

    Amazing story, so happy for you Scott and Zoey. Happy she made such a big impact in your life. Your just like her big loveable, kind and caring.

  10. Anne-Marie Boyce

    Such a sweet, uplifting story. Animals are Gods gift to help us be the best we can be.
    Thanks for sharing yours’ & Zoeys’
    journey. ????????????

  11. Natasha Brenner

    Beautiful! Made my day.

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