Third dog is the charm for retired Marine with soft spot for rescues

Third dog is the charm for retired Marine with soft spot for rescues

Jeff had no plans to add a third dog to his family. But the plight of a petite pup subject to previous abuse pulled at the veteran’s heart.

The few, the proud

In 1992 Jeff enlisted in the Marines. Over the course of his long career he served as an assault amphibian vehicle mechanic, recruiter, and battalion safety officer.

“I initially joined to gain a skill and get out after four years,” he shares. “I really enjoyed what I did, the places I went, [and] the people I served with – so I stayed in for 20 years.”

Jeff retired from the Marine Corps in 2012. During his two decades of service he acquired too many memories to count. But his first duty station of Okinawa, Japan remains an enduring memory.

“[I was] 19 years old, away from home for the first time – thousands of miles away,” he recalls. “A totally different culture, experiencing things that most people only read about.”

After 20 years of honorable service, Jeff retired from the Marines. He lives in Indiana, where he works as a senior environmental, health, and safety officer for a global logistics company.

Third dog is the charm

Jeff did not intend to adopt a third dog. But he would soon learn that fate had other plans.Third dog is the charm for retired Marine with soft spot for rescues

In 2023 his employer organized a volunteer event to benefit Humane Society for Boone County.

Earlier that year the organization joined our nationwide shelter partner network. They offer our veterans reduced adoption fees of $75 for dogs and $10 for cats.

While Jeff missed the original day of volunteering, the event put the shelter on his radar.

One day – while browsing the shelter’s website – the retired Marine saw a picture of a dog named Smokey. The petite pup was five years old and is a Yorkshire Terrier – or Yorkie – just like his two resident dogs.

It was love at first sight for Jeff. But he already had two Yorkies at home: Layla, a playful pup, and a loner named Gizmo.

Jeff hesitated to introduce a new tiny terrier into his resident pack. He was unsure if a third dog would disrupt harmony of his household.

Love wins

In the end, the retired Marine’s heart won out over his head. He knew that he could give Smokey a better life.Third dog is the charm for retired Marine with soft spot for rescues

“As I was perusing the site I looked and saw a Yorkie that needed a stable, forever home,” he explains. “I already had two Yorkies, and thought I have the ability and room to give the little guy a wonderful, loving home to live out his years.”

So six weeks after we approved Jeff into our program he welcomed a third dog into his heart and home.

“…two beings that need each other”

Jeff could have adopted Smokey on his own, without involving Pets for Patriots. He learned about our partnership with Humane Society for Boone County on their website. It was an easy decision to apply.

“I absolutely recommend Pets for Patriots to other veterans looking to adopt. Matching fur babies and veterans who both need companionship and love is a very noble thing, and you guys facilitate that,” he says.

“You guys were fantastic to work with, very attentive and great communication.”Third dog is the charm for retired Marine with soft spot for rescues

Among the many benefits of our program is a generous ‘welcome home’ gift card and a year of follow up from our team.

But it is the core of our mission – unleashing hope™ for people and pets alike – that touches Jeff the most.

“There are many veteran organizations out there and they all do great things, but I think what you guys do is just exceptional,” he says.

“Taking two beings that need each other and making it easier to pair them up is just remarkable.”

There’s no place like home

Jeff believes that Smokey had been mistreated in his previous home. Yet from his adoption day forward Smokey would know nothing but love from every member of his new pack.

Smokey adapted well in his new family’s loving embrace. It did not take long for his spirited personality to emerge.

“Smokey has brought a lot of joy into my household,” Jeff shares. “Smokey came in and gave Layla a playmate – and surprisingly got Gizmo to play with him, so it was a win-win for everyone.”

The retired Marine admits that he worried how a third dog would fit in. His newest charge dispelled his concerns in short order.

“I was worried in the beginning that he might not get along with my other dogs,” he says. “But when he got home it was like he was always there and they all grew up together.”

“…I’m thankful to have him”

Despite Jeff’s initial reservations, adding a third dog to his pack has proven to be a success.

Smokey left a hard luck life behind. Some might say he is learning ‘to dog.’ This includes adapting to the rules of household living as well as enjoying normal canine activities – like walks, play, and even a little outdoor mischief.

“Smokey is just a goofy, very vocal ball of energy,” Jeff shares. “Smokey loves being outside running around the yard, chasing birds, rolling in the grass, and enjoying the sunshine.”Third dog is the charm for retired Marine with soft spot for rescues

And no dog’s life would be complete without a little squirrel chasing. The petite pup patrols the fence line in the yard in search of any four-legged invaders.

“He’s just really a good boy who fit in perfectly with our little family,” Jeff says, “and I’m thankful to have him.”

The Marine Corps veteran feels fortunate to give not one or two, but three dogs a loving home. So when he received his ‘welcome home’ gift card he donated it to the shelter to help other animals in need.

Jeff is grateful to give back – and for our mission that brought Smokey into his life.

“I really appreciate everything you do for the fur babies needing a forever home,” Jeff says, “and for the veterans who desperately need the companionship.”

1 Comment

  1. Carolyn J. Miller

    You’re to be applauded as a Me veteran and a man who has opened his heart and home to another cutie pie. Your dogs are adorable! Thank you, Jeff!!


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