Retired Army officer touched by once-homeless dog

A retired Army Lieutenant Colonel was so moved by the plight of a homeless dog that he felt compelled to save her life.

Water retired as Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Army after more than 20 years of service. He currently works for the Army Training Support Command as TRADOC Capabilities Manager at Fort Eustis, Virginia, where he draws upon his vast military experiences, includes serving worldwide as a Field Artillery Officer and Comptroller.

Among Walter’s more memorable experiences in the service was working with the 528th Field Artillery Group and the First Turkish Army in Istanbul. He especially enjoyed learning and using the Turkish language to explore the back streets of Istanbul. Walter has fond memories as well of his experiences as Battery Commander in Wertheim, Germany – where his youngest son was born – and of his time as the Battalion Executive Officer of the 3-82 FA at Fort Hood in Texas.

“You do what you have to do”

When Walter and his wife visited their local animal shelter, Portsmouth Humane Society, when they decided to add a pet to their family. Once there, Walter was stunned by the unbelievable number of dogs abandoned by their previous owners. 

“The sadness in these poor animals’ eyes and the way they lit up when you walked by their cages inspired me to save one of them,” he says. “I am not even a dog person, but you have to do what you have to do.”

Walter did not adopt as much as he was adopted. Gracie is a large mixed-breed dog, who Walter characterizes as “full of love, like a young child.”

In fact, the big dog has “a never-ending need to show her love and be loved! My wife and I love her dearly and she is worth every ‘mishap’ in the house. She is a welcome addition to our home and brings endless smiles.”

Since joining Walter’s family, Gracie has pursued new adventures in the woods near their home.

“She may be a bit hard-headed when it comes to chasing the little creatures of the woods, but she is a hunting dog at heart and I love it,” says Walter.

Unconditional friendship and other benefits, too

The retired Army officer chose to adopt a pet through Pets for Patriots because he believes it is an excellent conduit for men and women in the military to save a homeless animal, and enjoy the unconditional friendship of a pet. The program’s benefits – discounted adoption and veterinary fees, as well as ongoing financial assistance for basic pet necessities – made it even easier for Walter to complete the pet adoption process.

According to Walter, Pets for Patriots is “the best program out there assisting veterans in adopting pets. I have recommended it to all my friends!”

Do you know a veteran who might benefit from a new pet friend?

1 Comment

  1. steven perlman

    This is just one of many wonderful stories about the positive connection between canines and human kind. I am a ‘dog person’. My 13 year old black lab-greyhound, Lilly, gives me incredible pleasure and love just as I hope I do the same for her. The neat thing about dogs is they accept the limited amount of time we give them while they give us 100% of their gifts 100% of the time. Please do whatever you can to support, with your time or money or both the humaine societies that shelter, treat & place these wonderful creatures of God.

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