Rescued Chiweenie brings cheer to veteran grieving loss of beloved pet

Rescued Chiweenie brings cheer to veteran grieving loss of beloved pet

After losing a cherished dog it would be a spirited Chiweenie who restored joy to an elderly veteran’s home.

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Deon enlisted in the military after graduating high school, like many teens of his day. It was the 1960’s and he decided to join the Army. The young enlistee was stationed in New Jersey, Kentucky, and Missouri over the course of his tour of duty.

Deon recalls his most cherished memories.

“I got to operate big equipment.”

The Army veteran has long since separated from service. He and his wife, Diane, live in a retirement community with a lot of outdoor amenities.

“There are many wonderful walking trails that are very scenic and dog friendly,” he says.

Pets have always had a prominent place in the elderly veteran’s home. Therefore, when he and Diane suffered the loss of a trusty companion the couple knew it would not be long til they visited their local shelter once again.

“My wife and I have always had a pet during our marriage and we had just lost our beloved Cocker Spaniel,” Deon explains. “The house seemed so empty without a dog, so we went to the humane society to adopt a new family member.”

Doobie doobie do

In September 2022 the couple visited our new partners Humane Society of Sonoma County in Healdsburg, which offers veterans in our program fee-waived adoptions when they rescue eligible dogs and cats.

The organization’s primary location in Santa Rosa is part of our shelter program as well.

“I found out about Pets for Patriots through the humane society,” Deon recalls, “and was thrilled to partake in the program and enjoyed numerous benefits.”

Among those benefits is a generous ‘welcome home’ gift card to help with the initial purchase of food and supplies. In addition, we follow up after each and every adoption for a full year. These are just two of the many benefits we provide.

Meanwhile, at the shelter the Army veteran became smitten with a then four year-old Chiweenie named Robby.

The Chiweenie is a mix of Chihuaha and Dachshund, known for its easygoing, affectionate nature.

Robby had been found as a stray in Solano County and transferred to the Humane Society of Sonoma County to increase his prospects of adoption. He is a mostly black, tricolor dog with impossibly big ears.

The impish pup was just what Deon and Diane needed after losing their previous dog.

So just one day after being approved into our program Deon and Robby – since renamed Doobie – went home and have not looked back. The pair was our first adoption through Humane Society of Sonoma County’s satellite shelter in Healdsburg.

The not so teeny Chiweenie

Doobie’s diminutive size is deceiving.

The Army veteran’s 18-pound pup is surprisingly strong. Long walks in the community help Deon and Diane stay healthy while allowing Doobie to expend some of his energy.

However, at home Doobie is happy to play with his many toys or sun himself in the family’s backyard.

Nighttime brings a different routine.

Doobie loves to be as close to his humans as possible, true to his Chiweenie nature. He will burrow under the covers of the couple’s bed and even shares Deon’s pillow.

“…our true companion”

It is hard to understand how this sweet, good-natured dog had been living on the streets – no less without a collar or microchip for identification.

Either Doobie’s previous family did not want him back or they failed to take the most basic steps to protect him if he strayed from home.

Still, the adorable dog with enormous ears appears to have had a good home at some time in his life. He is well trained, socialized, and knows numerous tricks as well.

Regardless of the little pup’s past Deon remains smitten. The Army veteran has only good things to say about his new charge.

“He is our true companion and great company,” Deon says. “He is well liked by everyone who meets him. He is quite comical at times and keeps us entertained all the time.”

Adoption through the ages

Doobie has an enduring zest for life.

Perhaps it is the little Chiweenie’s spirited personality that drew Deon to him in the first place. And it is a reminder that senior citizens – the human variety – should not be overlooked as adopters.

Some shelters shy away from adopting to older people out of fear that they will be too frail to care for a pet, unable to afford an aging pet’s care, or simply predecease their animals.

All adopters regardless of age should have a plan in place if they are unable to care for their pets, either temporarily or permanently.

Deon and Doobie illustrate that lasting adoptions start with a careful match of an adopter’s lifestyle with the needs of a particular pet.

In short, there is little doubt that the Army veteran and his Chiweenie were meant to be.

“He is a wonderful, loving, sweet dog. Also tons of fun. He definitely warmed our hearts and fits right into our lifestyle,” Deon shares. “My wife and I adore him. Thanks so much for making me a Pets for Patriots member and all you do for us!”


  1. Mary Eaton

    The above comments from Carol, Joan and MJ sum up my thoughts that now will go unwritten. Smile. Such a good read starting out my day.
    Thank you for your service Deon.

  2. carol kirkpatrick

    Doobie couldn’t have found a better family to be with. Looking forward to seeing him on your Christmas card this year.

  3. Joan Fraser

    Thank you

  4. MJ

    Your story warmed my heart. You and Doobie were meant to be.

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