Shelter dog brings renewed joy to Army veteran

Shelter dog brings renewed joy to Army veteran

An Army veteran and his wife hoped to recreate the special joy that only a shelter pet can deliver when they found a little black dog with a quirky smile and a lot of love to give.

In the Army and on the road

Fred is an 18-year Army veteran and currently serves in the Reserves. His time in service has included two major deployments and one partial deployment. He has been a communications NCO (non-commissioned officer) his entire career and is currently working towards his retirement. After serving his country for nearly two decades, Fred is still motivated by his work and continues to draw inspiration from the people he meets through his service.

“Everywhere I’ve been, either I have made an impact on someone’s life for the better, or they have made one on me,” he shares.

Fred lives with his wife in Florida, but spends a great deal of his time on the road. It can be personally grueling and lonely, and strain even a good marriage.

“My civilian job is delivering products to stores in the southeastern region of the United States,” he says. “So I’m a truck driver.”

Love at first underbite

When Fred and his wife realized they wanted to expand their family, making the decision to adopt a dog was an easy one.

“I am a dog lover and always have been. We had a pug once before that was a companion pet for [my wife] while she was ill,” he recalls. “We wanted to have that companionship again in our lives.”

After a lengthy period of online research the couple finally found Owen – a three-year-old black Pug mix – at the Humane Society of Pinellas, a Pets for Patriots shelter partner since 2010. The shelter waives pet adoption fees for our members who adopt an eligible dog or cat.

The couple immediately fell for the pint-sized pup’s quirky grin and silly underbite.

Shelter dog brings renewed joy to Army veteran

“Both me and my wife were searching for a pet for quite some time, and we both wanted a certain type of companion,” Fred says. “When I found Owen online I instantly showed the picture to my wife, and her first thought was, ‘Get him, get him now!’ She instantly fell in love with him without even meeting him.”

Fred was the first one to meet Owen face-to-face; their connection was instant.

“I spent a few minutes with him and loved him right away,” says the Army veteran. “In the same day I brought my wife to meet Owen and she instantly fell in love all over again meeting him in person.”

Fred and his wife adopted Owen that afternoon, realizing that they had found the companion they’d been seeking for so long. Almost immediately the little black dog had an outsized impact on the couple, who had long hoped for exactly the kind of energy and joy that only a shelter pet can bring.

“He came home showing that a true companion’s love can mean a big difference in one’s life,” he says.

The Army veteran and the four-legged “ball of joy”

Since bringing Owen into their lives Fred and his wife have observed a big and positive change in their moods, as well as the overall mood of their household.

“Where there were frowns and depression, Owen has brought smiles and happiness,” Fred says. “Owen is a little ball of joy. He takes turns staying with my wife and also traveling with me in my truck.” Shelter dog brings renewed joy to Army veteran

Although Fred and his wife have been married for many years, Owen has brought them closer together.

“Both me and my wife have gone through many trials and tribulations in our family life,” he adds. “Having Owen has been a blessing because he provides comfort and love in a way that no one or anyone else can.”

By adopting Owen through Pets for Patriots Fred was eligible to receive all the benefits of our charitable program, including a significant contribution towards ‘welcome home’ pet food and basics, discounts on quality veterinary care and other savings to help make pet guardianship more affordable. The Army veteran and his wife are quick to recommend Pets for Patriots to other veterans interested in adopting a new pet friend.

“Both me and my wife are happy that Pets for Patriots were able to help us attain such a wonderful and loving little friend,” he says. “And we hope that anyone who comes through the Pets for Patriots program can have the same experience that we have had.”

Shelter dog brings renewed joy to Army veteran

Fred advises potential adopters to take the necessary time to search for the right dog or cat. Explore online listings of adoptable pets in your area, visit local shelters, consult family and friends, and bring a potential adoptee home for a sleepover if the shelter permits it. 

“Don’t rush into the first pet that you find,” he cautions. “Look for just the right fit – one that is going to compliment you not only as a soldier, but as a family member.”

The career Army veteran marvels at how his life has changed for the better since adopting Owen, both at home and when he’s on the road. He cherishes the ability to bring Owen along on his delivery routes to keep the loneliness of the road at bay.

“Pets for Patriots gave my family a unique opportunity to regain a friend for life,” Fred says. “It’s a decision that we do not regret, and we cherish his simple love that he bestows on us every day.”




  2. mary

    I too have a pug mix, tho she’s got an overbite as opposed to underbite and is light brown/white in her colors. Happy I am that you found each other. It sounds to be a perfect “fit”.

  3. VAe LLC

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Phil Ernst

    SO happy for all three of you!! God Bless all of you! You ‘saved’ Owen, but you will feel like Owen has ‘saved’ you!

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