Nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic David realized that something was missing. Thankfully a playful pup transferred into his local shelter made the veteran’s life more complete.
For more than a decade David has been serving our nation as a member of the United States Air Force.
“I have been in the Air Force and Air National Guard for 14 years,” he says, “my first six years on active duty before moving back home for school.”
The airman currently serves in the Ohio Air National Guard as an assistant criminal prosecutor and has acquired many experiences over the years. However, like most veterans, it is the bonds with fellow service members that create his most enduring memories.
David is hard-pressed to choose a single event that stands out above the rest. In the end, it is all about the people with whom he served.
“It is hard to pick one moment,” he shares, “having been in 14 years – just the friends you gain over the years.”
“We felt like something was missing”
Everyone has been touched by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in one way or another. David and his wife, Laura, were no exceptions.
“We felt like something was missing in our home,” he shares. “2020 was a hard year for many people and the expansion of working from home made it more bearable.”
Yet at the same time life felt somewhat empty. Although the couple enjoyed having more time together, there was a certain joy – a spark – that was missing from their daily routines.
Over the course of the pandemic many people across the country decided to adopt a companion pet. Some had more time to devote to a pet because they no longer had to commute. Others sought the comfort of a dog or cat as an antidote to months of solitude.
Despite having one another, David and his wife wanted to give a loving home to a pet in need.
Little did the pair know that one particular playful pup would uplift their lives with her sweet and spirited nature.
The high flying playful pup
The couple started their search with a visit to their local animal shelter, Columbus Humane.
Since 2018 the shelter has offered veterans in our program 50 percent off adoption fees when they save program-eligible dogs and cats.
It was at the shelter that David learned about our companion pet adoption program for military veterans.
“I never heard about Pets for Patriots before and saw a sign in our local animal shelter,” he says. “After looking into it we figured we would give it a chance. It was an easy process and the help they provide is truly beneficial with gaining a new companion.”
The many benefits we provide – both directly and through trusted partners – help make lifetime pet adoption more affordable for military personnel. David appreciates the range of support available to him as a member of our program.
“Pets for Patriots is a great organization that helps vets with many of the unexpected cost that comes with adopting a pet,” he says.
The Guardsman and his wife were fortunate to have met their match so quickly.
At the time, Haskell was a large, relatively young, mixed-breed dog who had been transferred from another shelter. She has a spirited, easygoing personality that helped her stand out among the many available pets hoping for forever homes.
David and his wife were drawn to the dog’s sociable nature. So just three days after the playful pup entered Columbus Humane, the Guardsman adopted Haskell.
There’s no place like home
Like many newly adopted pets, Haskell’s new life came with a new name: Willow. And she wasted no time making her mark in the household.
“Given my spouse and my work schedule we are routinely alone in the house,” David explains. “With Willow we never have to feel alone in our home, and she sparks so much joy in our life with her energy.”
Willow has proven herself to be an equal opportunity playmate. She enjoys the company of her people and makes friends easily with other dogs.
The playful pup has proven to be exactly what David and Laura needed – a fitting reward for having saved her life.
Long walks and visits to the dog park are just some of the activities that the new family enjoys together. It is long known that companion pets contribute to our physical and emotional well being.
But it is the more intangible benefits of Willow’s presence that the Air Force veteran and his wife value most of all.
“She is the sweetest, most playful dog,” David says. “She made our house feel like a home.”