When a bonded pair of dogs breaks so does their Navy veteran’s heart

When a bonded pair of dogs breaks so does their Navy veteran's heart
A veteran and her two first mates

Kristine serves in the Navy and in March 2018 adopted a bonded pair of senior dogs. Ned and Marge were each eight years old and met Kristine through our partnership with Virginia Beach SPCA.

Bonded pairs – called perfect pairs as well – are among the hardest pets to place. Contrary to popular belief these animals are often not related. They may have developed a relationship together in a previous home, or bonded while kenneled together at an animal shelter.

And as more mature pups, Ned and Marge faced a grim fate until Kristine sailed into their lives.

For nearly a year, Kristine and her perfect pack had a wonderful life until a devastating disease changed their world. The Navy veteran tells their tale.

Canine cancer claims a four-legged soul

Unfortunately, right before our one year anniversary, I had to make the decision to let Ned pass, as cancer had unknowingly taken over his stomach.

When a bonded pair of dogs breaks so does their Navy veteran’s heart

It was quite a shock, we had just moved to our new home in Newport, Rhode Island and I noticed even after we settled in he still didn’t want to eat much, no matter how yummy the food. His energy wasn’t normal so I took him to the vet thinking he would just need some meds and we would be on our way, however that was not the case.

Even though I knew I adopted senior dogs, it still was heartbreaking to lose him on only our one year anniversary.

It still is hard for me to talk about, mostly because he had come so far in that year from the timid, scared, stray dog he was when I adopted him.

The unbreakable bond of a bonded pair

I never really got the chance to grieve because Marge (now called Katina because I discovered she answers to it!!), did not take this loss well, after all they were a bonded pair.

When a bonded pair of dogs breaks so does their Navy veteran's heart

The separation anxiety was brutal.

I have taken her to the vet a few times after she injured herself, including breaking all of her top teeth trying to rip things apart while I simply took a shower.

With a mix of medication and lots and lots of training over the past few months, I am finally starting to see her grow out of her grieving phase.

A heart that is no longer whole

As the hole in my heart grows bigger and I notice the improvements in Katina, I have discussed with my vet that another dog may potentially help her, as she still is uncertain and learning things and her vision at night is declining.

I have begun a search and have been working with the Rhode Island SPCA, however dogs can be more picky than humans.

Any dog that has the potential for joining my family will definitely be through you because this is an absolutely incredible foundation.

Thank you so much for all that you do. Pets are so important and they really do bring us a love and comfort that we cant find anywhere else!

Learn how our companion pet adoption program for current and former U.S. military veterans works and see if you are eligible to apply.


  1. Valerie Cintron-Perez

    Thank you for your service and for adopting a senior bonded pair. So sorry for your loss of Ned. We lost our Pets for Patriots senior Jazzy in October and then In January her kennel mate Abby was returned to the Rescue at age 8. So we took it as a sign from Jazzy and Abby became our new Pets for Patriots dog. Prayers as you and Katrina search for your new fa member. Abby has brought me hubby and 2 other dogs so much joy.

  2. AMANUEL Euell

    Great heart warming story.

  3. Jody

    Kristine, thank you for your service and thank you for having a huge heart and adopting a bonded pair. So many wonderful seniors are overlooked in the adoption process much less a bonded pair. It was meant to be with Ned and Marge. You were brought into Ned’s life to give him a loving home during his last months on this earth, he knew love, that is the most important thing you can give. As for Marge, thank you for knowing she needs another buddy, the right buddy will make her world happy again. Wishing you, your sweet Marge and your new soon to be addition the very best with many wonderful years of love and companionship. RIP sweet boy Ned. He may no longer be of this earth but he is in your heart and walks beside you always. Best Always, Jody and the Campbell Critters

  4. John A. Smaldone


    Thank you for your service in the Navy and I am so sorry to hear of your loss of Ned. We have lost many of our family pets over the years and not one was ever forgotten.

    We always replaced one so the other would have a companion, we have two Dogs now, one is Hope and the other one is Copper. Copper was obtained through the Pets For Patriots program, they are wonderful people!

    I can only hope your grief can turn into wonderful memories, hopefully you will consider geeing another companion for Marge!

    God speed,

    John Smaldone
    US Air Force Veteran

  5. Panda Johnson

    Thank you for your service, Kristine. I am so very sorry about your loss of Ned…I understand that pain all too well. I hope that you and Katina will find the perfect companion soon, and bring comfort and joy back into all of your lives. I will pray that the Lord will bless y’all.

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