A Navy veteran recovering from cancer and his wife, who is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease, are saved by a rescued dog who finds his purpose in life.
Little dog with a big heart
Chico, a tiny two year-old Chihuahua Crested Chinese mix, was distrustful of men. Possibly abused by a man before he ended up in an animal shelter, everything changed for Chico when he met Emil, a Navy veteran living in Idaho with his wife, Judy.
Chico was meant to help Judy cope with her Alzheimer’s, so Emil was very surprised when the rescued dog started crawling into the Navy veteran’s lap at every opportunity. Chico may be a little dog, but he has a big heart. He always makes sure to give Emil and Judy equal time, attention and affection.
Emil chokes up when he says, “What this little guy has brought to our lives, well, you just can’t imagine…”
Emil served in the Navy for 10 years in the 1950’s. He was stationed in Korea and was part of the Korean Prisoner Exchange. He participated in the Passage to Freedom in Vietnam and the experimental nuclear bomb explosions at Enewetak. Emil witnessed a lot, most of which he’s reluctant to talk about in any great detail.
Changing of the guard
Prior to the recent adoption, Emil and Judy had a 19 year-old Papillion, Nicky, who was nearing the end of his life. Emil is confident that the love he and Judy had for Nicky is what helped him live so long: “He lived for us; we lived for him.”
The couple wanted to resue another small dog before Nicky passed way. When they went to the Meridian Valley Humane Society, a Pets for Patriots adoption partner, they saw this one particularly good looking dog, but it was another who quickly caught their attention. Emil recalls a dog “looking so sad, he needed a home.” That was Chico, or it was until Emil and Judy brought him into their lives. The Navy veteran is still baffled as to why on one wanted the tiny mixed breed dog whose sad face belied a joyful spirit.
Before Nicky died, he taught the little newcomer about the ways of the household. “Chico learned how to be a good dog from Nicky,” Emil says.
As with any new relationship, each day brings a new revelation.
Chico doesn’t like cats, but he does love to be outside and is even a bit of an escape artist. Like most dogs he loves to eat, but is very polite and doesn’t beg. And until he realized his new family wasn’t abandoning him, he hated car rides. Emil and Judy even discovered that, with a little prompting, Chico loves to sing. The joyful sounds of all of them belting out “wah, wah, wahs” would make anyone smile and want to join in.
Perhaps what’s most endearing about Chico is his ability to know when Emil or Judy aren’t feeling well. And Emil and Judy’s love for little Chico is helping him overcome his fears and thrive; he is their “treasure.”
Adoption with a purpose
The Meridian Valley Human Society told Emil about Pets for Patriots. While he didn’t really need the financial benefits of joining the charity’s pet adoption program, he did so because of their purpose and what they represented.
“They’re awesome!” he exclaims.
As a result of his experiences, Emil recommends that veterans thinking about having a pet in their lives should adopt, and adopt through Pets for Patriots.
“Who would want to be without a pet?”
Little Chico needed to put aside his fears and whatever happened to him in his past when he adopted Emil and Judy. His purpose in life became clear: take care of these people, comfort them, make them laugh, bring them joy. In his own way he saved them both, helping them through troubled times.
How has your pet saved you?
Hi Pets For Patriots,
Endearing story. It’s really true that a cat or dog can save lives by comforting them and making them laugh. A pet can make a person feel good about caring properly for the pet as well. It can give them a daily purpose – feeling needed and appreciated.
It works out well for the pet in the same way.
Thanx for the warm story,
=^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=
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