Osvaldo had always considered himself a reserved family man until an affectionate rescue dog forced the retired Army veteran out of his shell.
A distinguished Army career
It was 1987 when Osvaldo was living on Long Island, New York and decided to enlist in the Army. He would spent his entire military career in the Army medical department before retiring after 20 years of service.
“I wanted to serve my country,” he says, “see the world, and do something special.”
Ironically Osvaldo’s first duty assignment did not take him around the world; it did not even take him out of state. He was posted at Fort Drum in upstate New York.
“I guess Uncle Sam wanted to keep me close by,” he says jokingly.
However, over the course of Osvaldo’s military career he was stationed in New Mexico, Texas, Washington, DC, and Hawaii. An overseas duty assignment sent him to Germany, too.
The seasoned veteran retired several years ago after more than two decades of service to our nation. He lives currently in Baltimore, Maryland with his family, which in time would include a uniquely affectionate rescue dog.
Ready to adopt, not shop
Osvaldo had dreamt about a canine companion for a very long time. The undue quiet of his household finally prompted him to start searching in earnest.
“I wanted a companion during my retirement, and always wanted a dog,” he shares. “With a child at school and my wife still working, it seemed that the house would be too quiet.”
The Army veteran believed that a dog would not only be good for him, but for his family as well.
“I felt a dog would bring some extra affection in[to] our already very loving family,” he says, “and get me off the couch.”
As luck would have it, Osvaldo’s wife works for the Department of Veterans Affairs. It was there that she found a Pets for Patriots brochure and brought it home to discuss with her husband.
Like many veterans we serve, Osvaldo appreciated our exclusive focus on military veterans. We are proud to serve those from WWII to, and including, active duty personnel.
“I decided to adopt through this program because of the large, supportive network,” he says.
And so began the search for a shelter dog to join this military family.
70 pounds of love and kisses
It was late July 2022 when Rex was brought into Humane Society of Harford County. At the time he was a three year-old Rottweiler-Husky mix. He has a dark chocolate coat and piercing Husky eyes.
Since 2011, Humane Society of Harford County has offered veterans in our program 20 percent off adoption fees when they rescue program-eligible dogs and cats.
Rex was nearly 70 pounds of pure muscle and not the classic picture of an affectionate rescue dog. But the big, beefy bowser was an adoring pup who just wanted people of his own to love.
Osvaldo applied to our companion pet adoption program for military veterans and was approved just days after Rex entered the shelter.
The retired Army veteran appreciates not only the resources our program brings to bear, but how easy it is to work with us.
“Don’t put off getting a pet through Pets for Patriots,” he says.
“The Pets for Patriots staff are super supportive and the program’s participating partners – veterinary network, shelters and humane societies – do everything they can to make the adoption process easy.”
About 10 days after being approved into our program Osvaldo met his match. Rex would fulfill the veteran’s lifelong dream to have a dog in his life and Rex would have a family deserving of his affections.
“…happier and calmer”
Osvaldo admits that he was not entirely prepared for 70 pounds of unbridled puppy love. But Rex is an exceptionally affectionate rescue dog who likes to shower his savior with gratitude – and a little slobber.
It took some time for Osvaldo to accept Rex’s demonstrable affection.
“I’m normally very private, no-nonsense, and a bit OCD about animal hair [and] germs,” he says. “I couldn’t have imagined myself walking a dog much less getting dog kisses, unexpectedly, on my face.”
Rex is helping Osvaldo in other ways. He helps the Army veteran get out of the house more often. The pair take daily walks and engage in frequent games of tug-of-war.
“I’ve become a big fan of long walks and throwing the ball with him. He enjoys tugs-of-war with his rope toy and we do that very often.”
For his part, Osvaldo feels rejuvenated thanks to his loving and lovable new friend.
“Now we’re racking up the steps and I don’t mind the kisses so much,” he confides. “I’ve learned that I’m much more affectionate with animals than I ever thought I’d be, and he’s become a constant reason for smiles and laughter.”
The retired Army veteran had long wanted a dog, but did not realize how much he needed one. With Rex he has become more relaxed about things that may have bothered him in the past, like dog hair and pooch smooches.
Being open to having Rex in his family has changed Osvaldo for the better.
“I find myself happier and calmer then I have in years,” he shares, “all due to my new, furry friend.”