Navy veteran learns that luck is a shelter dog named Lady

Navy veteran learns that luck is a shelter dog named Lady

A shelter dog named Lady proved an old saying to be true. Luck is a lady, or at least it was for one homeless pup who found a family for life.

In the Navy

Todd served for more than 20 years in the United States Navy, entering in 1982 and retiring in 2002. He had a rough start during his first few years of service.

“I served on both coasts and was stationed in Japan for my first two years in the Navy,” he says, “which was extremely hard due to that being the first time I was away from my family, and the added stress of culture shock.”

But Todd was determined and had joined with only the best intentions.

“I entered the military to serve my country and to learn a trade since I had no job prospects after high school,” he explains. “The first job I had was a boiler technician on a fast frigate, and it was always hot in there.”

The heat of the boiler room was only one of many enduring memories Todd has of his time in the military. Serving in the Navy offered him a chance to see the world in ways that he always dreamed of; military service made those dreams come true. His most memorable experience was visiting the tombs of the kings during a port visit to Egypt.

“I had often thought about going to Cairo to visit the temples, but could not afford to go there.”

A shelter dog named Lady

After retiring from the Navy Todd remained in Virginia Beach, where he has lived since 1996. While his job as a plumber keeps him busy it is his family that keeps him grounded.

“My wife and I have two children who are autistic,” Todd says.

Todd’s children and his upbringing are part of what led to his adoption of a shelter dog named Lady.

“I chose to adopt a dog because I grew up with a dog in my house and wanted the same for my house. I have adopted from the Virginia Beach SPCA before and so I decided to adopt from there again, and because our two boys wanted a pet as well.”

In November, 2012 Todd and his family met Lady, a sweet and spunky mixed-breed dog at the Virginia Beach SPCA. It did not take them long to decide that life would not be the same without the then three year-old dog. The shelter staff introduced Todd to Pets for Patriots and told him about the various benefits he could receive by adopting through our partnership.

The Navy veteran appreciated our mission to pair veterans with homeless animals. He liked how we reduce the lifetime costs associated with adopting a pet as well, including a ‘welcome home’ gift certificate and discounted veterinary care.

Lady, for her part, was happy to leave shelter life behind.

Luck be a Lady

It is now several years after their adoption. To Todd, everything about Lady is special. The rescue pup helps make every day that much brighter and more purposeful.

“She has become a member of the family, one of many reasons to come home at the end of the day,” he explains. “She has a calming demeanor that helps me to relax after a bad day of work, and [is] always there to listen to me, especially when no one else is.” Navy veteran learns that luck is a shelter dog named Lady

Todd touched on one of the many reasons why people who are considering a pet should adopt, not shop. These are animals who are homeless through no fault of their own, yet have tremendous love to give. And adopted pets seem to know that they have been given a second – or third or fourth – chance at life.

Lady knows who spared her a potentially grim fate.

“The biggest thing I love about Lady is that she knows when I get home and will not go lay down until I greet her and pet her,” Todd says. “She also loves to lay with me while watching TV with her head on my lap. As corny as it is, I love it when she does that.”

Saving Lady

Todd’s sons may have been the initial inspiration for the family to adopt a shelter dog named Lady, but in many ways Todd has benefited the most. It is not an understatement to say that Lady has become this Navy veteran’s best friend.

When Todd adopted through our partnership with the Virginia Beach SPCA, he joined our extended family as well. He appreciates that we check up on all of our adoptions to see how person and pet are doing.

“That is like unheard of these days,” he says.

In the course of our long-term outreach we learned recently that Lady is battling cancer. We are standing by to help Todd and Lady through our Hero Fund for veterinary care, which defrays the cost of life-extending medical care for pets adopted through our program.

Please make a life-saving gift for Lady and other pets with extraordinary medical needs. Your donation not only saves the lives of these animals, but of the veterans and families who adopted them.


  1. Alyson

    Thank you for your service – and for rescuing sweet Lady.

  2. Betty

    Who rescue who, right? I’m glad you two found each other…a dog’s love is so unconditional.

    Hopefully, Lady will get the necessary treatment to prolong her years.

    Keeping my paws crossed.

  3. Christine E

    Todd, I love your pup Lady. You two look so happy together. So glad you two have had the opportunity to love each other and be best friends.

  4. Audrey A Gallipeau

    What I wonderful story. I love a happy “beginning”. Lady is very lucky to have you and your family Todd. I’ll say thank you for her, she looks so content and loved. Also, Thank you for serving, not only our country but as a humanitarian shown by your love and kindness given to Lady. I wish you all Health and Happiness for a long life together.

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