This is the story of a Navy war veteran who finds a buddy, literally, in the form of a homeless shelter dog.
bud-dy (noun): a good friend, companion or partner; a comrade.
Buddy is truly the perfect name for the orphaned two year-old cockapoo who honorably adopted Bill, a Navy veteran, during a trip to Lollypop Farm in May 2011.
Let’s be clear: Buddy chose Bill, not the other way around. Bill was merely at the Rochester, New York animal shelter to appease his wife, Michelle, who had been combing internet websites and nearby shelters for a furry companion to adopt.
“We had talked about getting a dog for a while,” says the Desert Storm veteran, who served on the USS Peleliu out of Long Beach, California from 1988 to 1992. “But I wasn’t expecting to rescue one that day.”
A dog chooses his new family
After walking past Buddy’s kennel several times looking at the other dogs, Bill and Michelle noticed Buddy was watching them. “Buddy was looking at us. I mean he was really looking at us,” Bill recalls.
“Buddy chose us.”
Despite the fact they were not initially interested in a smaller sized dog, Buddy quickly won over the couple; they started the adoption process immediately.
“We had read an article online about Pets for Patriots and knew Lollypop Farms was a participating shelter,” says Michelle, “but we had not researched the application process because we didn’t expect to find a dog that day.”
The staff at Lollypop Farms started the paperwork for the McDonalds and called Pets for Patriots as they waited. “Everyone was so helpful and accommodating. We got approval on the spot.”
Mystery often surrounds adult pets
Bill and Michelle were happy to find an adult dog who needed a loving home and who was already partially trained, with the puppy phase far behind. However, one of the challenges of adopting an adult pet can be the lack of information available to the new family. When adult dogs are surrendered, the history provided to the shelter by the previous owners can be limited, leaving even the most basic information such as age or medical history a mystery.
It was estimated that Buddy was about two years-old, but the veterinarian believed he was actually closer to four. Although Buddy appears to be healthy, there is evidence of abuse in his past: a toe on one of his back paws is missing, causing him at times to walk on just three legs. In addition, he can be skittish and timid.
“We were told that Buddy was surrendered to the shelter because his previous family was not able to give him the attention he needed, but his behavior and reactions to certain situations indicates something else might have been going on,” says Bill.
These days, Buddy hardly suffers from lack of attention or love. He thoroughly enjoys his cuddle time on the couch, being a full-time lap dog and checking out the couple’s three chinchillas, two of whom are rescues as well.
“He really likes them, but I think he is also a little confused by them,” jokes Michelle.
The timid little cockapoo has brought a lot of energy to his new home, even getting Bill and Michelle out into the community and walking more, which benefits the entire family.
“We have met a lot of our neighbors on our evening walks,” says Michelle.
Unfortunately, Bill lost his teaching job shortly after Buddy’s adoption, but has found the additional assistance Pets for Patriots offers with discounted veterinary fees to be especially helpful and a great comfort during this uncertain time.
One thing Bill is certain of is that Pets for Patriots offers a great service to the military community.
“I highly recommend this program to veterans and appreciate all it has brought to our lives,” says Bill.
“The unconditional love Buddy offers just makes our day. We’re so happy he chose us.”