Zinc is a pup with a purpose. She adopted the role of nanny dog to her rescuer’s baby boy after being adopted from a St. Louis animal shelter.
Shoulder to the wheel
In October 2017 Nikki enlisted in the Army. She trained as a 91B wheeled vehicle mechanic and was attached to a reserve calvary unit.
Wheeled vehicle mechanics are responsible for the repair, maintenance, testing, and performance of a wide range of armored military vehicles. It is mission-critical work that literally keeps the Army rolling.
Nikki was stationed in Germany for the majority of her enlistment. She recalls one occasion where she had been given a sledge hammer and ordered to dismantle metal shelving.
“It was a punishment one of my NCOs came up with,” she shares, “however, it was a fabulous workout and super fun to do!”
The young Army veteran separated from service after completing her military obligations. She would soon embark on another vital mission: motherhood.
Be my baby
Nikki was raised in Texas and currently lives in Missouri, where she is assistant manager at a casual eatery chain.
However, the Army veteran’s real pride and joy is her baby boy, who recently turned one year old.
Nikki believes that it is important for him to be raised with a dog in his life and started to think about adopting.
“I wanted my son to grow up with a best friend,” she shares. “My dog is going on 12 years old and unfortunately is starting to slow down.”
The young veteran knows that her senior dog is in the twilight of his life. Yet despite his age he continues to play a vital role in Nikki’s emotional health.
“He helps me mentally on the daily, and I knew I would need to find another dog who would be well enough equipped to take on that duty once Scott passes,” she says.
“So Zinc will serve multiple duties here in our home and she makes for a great nanny dog.”
“…I wanted to adopt”
It was January 2022 and Zinc was a large, year-old Pit Bull mix in the care of our partners Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis.
Since 2013 Humane Society of Missouri offers veterans in our program a 10 percent discount on adoption fees when they save program eligible dogs and cats. The organization maintains shelters in St. Louis, Chesterfield Valley, and Maryland Heights.
A shelter employee told Nikki about their partnership with us and encouraged the young mother to apply.
“I had been researching different options and I knew I wanted to adopt instead of buying,” she says. “I had already been to the humane society a couple times to look at dogs, however nothing had clicked so to speak, and one of the employees mentioned Pets for Patriots.”
“I wasn’t sure what the organization was so I did more research, and Pets for Patriots happened to be the best fitting option for our adoption process!”
It would not be long til the young Army mother revisited the shelter to adopt a self-appointed nanny dog.
Love and snuggles
At the end of January 2022 Nikki was approved into our program. That very same day she went back to Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis and adopted Zinc.
“I think Pets for Patriots is a wonderful organization,” she says. “Y’all helped me in my search for a new family member.”
At the time Zinc was a year-old, 60-pound, energetic Pit Bull pup. Almost immediately, she tasked herself with entertaining and protecting the family’s littlest – and youngest – charge.
Nikki is delighted that Zinc took on the role of nanny dog, and that she brings so much joy to her infant son.
“Watching him play with her, and she is so sweet and protective of him. That’s her baby and I’m just here to feed everyone,” she says jokingly.
Deed not breed
Every dog and cat is an individual.
An animal’s breed or breed mix is but one of many factors that contribute to her behavior. Equally important is how that animal is raised and treated by people. Sadly, the scourge of animal fighting has contributed to the negative perception of Pit Bull dogs and has led to an untold number of these dogs’ deaths.
Zinc is among the fortunate ones. She was rescued at a young age and is now part of a loving home. Her kind demeanor earned her the role of nanny dog and cemented her place in the pack.
“Zinc is weird and quirky, and she fits in perfectly here with us,” Nikki says. “She is a super sweet, loving, 60-pound lap dog that just wants love and snuggles and all the snacks she can eat.”
The Army veteran is mindful that one day her eldest dog, Scott, will cross the rainbow bridge. At that time it will be Zinc’s turn to provide the emotional comfort that Scott has done so dutifully for so many years.
The big dog seems up to the task.
“She makes me smile,” Nikki says, “even on my really bad days.”
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