Pint-sized pup to the rescue of lonely lady sailor

It’s often said that good things come in small packages. This proved true for one pint-sized shelter pup who came to the rescue of a lonely Navy sailor looking for some four-legged love.

It’s a small world after all

Kelsey grew up in Kansas and in 2012 enlisted in the Navy. She was stationed aboard the USS Pearl Harbor LSD-52 in San Diego before receiving Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

Leaving California meant leaving a close personal connection, as well.

“My boyfriend is a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego,” she says, adding that he will be relocating to Tampa early in 2016. Kelsey USN and Bruce Wayne_cropped

During her time in service Kelsey has learned that the world is not as big as it may seem; she marvels at how life in the military has expanded her horizons in so many ways.

“The people I’ve met and made connections with all over the world,” she says. “Anywhere I go, I have a mutual friend with someone. Makes me realize how small the world really is.”

Yet the Navy sailor’s move across the country had quite the opposite impact; her world started to feel more empty and lonely than ever before.

Someone to love

Like all veterans, Kelsey moves where the military needs her. When she PCS’d from San Diego to Tampa, she was relocating to a place that was absent the familiar places and faces she had come to know. Suddenly her world felt very small, and wanting.

“I was in a new city, all alone, and didn’t have anyone to come home to,” she says. “It was really lonely.”

Little did Kelsey know that the answer to her loneliness rested with a 16-pound Chihuahua-Dacshund mix, waiting at a local shelter to make someone’s world complete.

Pint-sized pup gets life-saving relocation

Bones was a three year-old dog transferred to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay from a shelter where his life was at risk. These types of transfer arrangements among shelters and rescues are common – within communities and even across state lines. The goal is to relocate adoptable animals to areas where they may have a better chance of finding a permanent home than where they were found, rescued or surrendered.

By this time Kelsey had decided to get a dog, preferably an adult.

“I wanted a dog that didn’t require all the extra attention that a puppy needs,” she shares. “I needed a companion.”

The Navy veteran started her search online, where she first found out about Pets for Patriots and our companion pet adoption program for military veterans. She learned about all the benefits we offer, and how the Humane Society of Tampa Bay waives pet adoption fees and offers discounted veterinary care for our members.

The decision to apply was an easy one.

“With my recent move I was low on funds,” Kelsey says, “and Pets for Patriots offered a variety of ways to help me bring my new pet friend home without breaking the bank.”

As an adult pet, Bones met our criteria for adoption. Pets for Patriots is focused solely on dogs and cats most overlooked for adoption: older and special needs animals, and large breed dogs.

Within days of his arrival at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Bones went from homeless to home.

Love to the rescue

Bones was soon renamed Bruce Wayne, after the legendary superhero character Batman. While not world famous, this Bruce Wayne proved to be just the type of hero that Kelsey needed most.

“He gives me something to come home to and love on,” she shares. “He’s loyal in ways I never could have imagined.”

For his part, the little pup is fully embracing his second chance at life. Together he and Kelsey are making Tampa their home.

“He’s so affectionate,” she marvels. “He loves to cuddle, and play outside with the squirrels.”

Adopting a companion pet changed Kelsey’s world for the better. She likens it to an unexpected form of therapy, and encourages other military veterans to consider bringing a pet into their lives.

“It’s a great opportunity! You’re not only helping an animal,” she says, “but you’re helping yourself without knowing it.”


  1. Betty

    Hey Kelsey:

    Wonderful ending…Let’s hope Bruce Wayne welcomes your sweetie in 2016 w/o any jealousy. K-9’s can and do get attached to their owners and want to be the Alpha Male of the family. So prepare yourself when you welcome your significant other…making sure to give ‘equal’ time to both the men in your lives so as to avoid unwelcome traits. (lots of doggie treats in introduction will aide) Glad to see you’ve also made new friends through this website. One is never truly alone. Best to you in your new realm.

  2. BonnieJean Dunne

    Hi Kelsey! Bruce Wane is going to bring so much happiness you are going to wonder how you ever got along without him. I’m not a veteran but I am an animal lover and a firm believer in adopting pets. I was widowed a couple of years ago and if it wasn’t for my critters I don’t think I would have survived. My beloved Gracie died a few months later and I was beyond heartbroken. Six weeks later I adopted a little Chiuweenie,( Chihuahua/ Dacshund mix named Lucy. She was one hour away from being put down. Her life saver and foster mom runs a small shelter in Arkansas and so my little girl came to me on a 16 wheeler with 100 other lucky dogs who were on their way to their forever homes. These dogs have no idea what lifesavers they are. Enjoy and cherish Bruce Wane, May you both enjoy a healthy,loving long life. God Bless you both, Bee& Lucy

  3. Kathi Lynn

    Hi Kelsey,

    I’m a Army veteran and I have three special friends from the Humane Society of Tampa bay and like Bruce Wayne, they are my best friends Karlie, Brittany and Jackson are fun and loving I can’t wait to get home when I for the kisses. And the Humane Society is the best organization for pet care, congratulations on your new addition and welcome to Tampa.

  4. Jeanne

    Hello Kelsey:

    It is wonderful that you found a pal to bond with, there is nothing like the friendship of a dog/cat to get us through our lives; they heal us with their unconditional love.

    I have also recently found Pets For Patriots, and I am now in search of my pal, with the help of this wonderful organization..

    I also live in Tampa, so if you need any help what-so-ever, please contact me; and I will be very happy to ease your worries..Just tell Beth, wonderful person, to let you have my phone number.

    My father was military, and we were stationed overseas and at many U.S.A bases, and I am also a Veteran nurse of the Vietnam era.. So, I can completely understand what it is like to move to a new place and not know one person; trust me everything will be fine.

    Best wishes for you and your new pal,

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