Vietnam veteran struggling with PTSD saved by death row dog

Ed and Sparkie

Ed is a Vietnam veteran and former Army Sergeant. After decades of coping with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and at the encouragement of his wife, he saved – and is saved by – an adult dog on death row. Thanks to our partnership with Macomb County Animal Shelter for helping us make Ed’s story possible; this is his letter to us.

I am retired. In 1967-69, I was in the US Army, and did a year in Viet Nam as a recon scout.  My year there gave me a lifetime full of bad memories and the stuff that nightmares are made of.  With a VA (Veterans Administration) rating of major PTSD, my life in general has not followed the usual trend of disaster upon disaster, but I never have been able to have a night’s sleep without dreams going back to my military service.

Thank God that my family (with three wives in the course of time) has supported me for so long. Ed and Sparkie

My current wife is a very kind, giving woman who had the foresight to see that having some canine companionship would help me find both a stress outlet and something to keep me up and exercising.  We had one dog we rescued eight years ago, but my wife felt that a more energetic animal would get me out of the house and moving again.

Enter our new dog, “Sparkie.”

When we found him at the local animal shelter, he was laying down in a too small cage at the end of a row of those animals who would soon be euthanized since no one had adopted them.  He was so skinny that my wife passed him by on our walk-through because she thought he was already dead.  When I saw him, I thought that here was another guy down on his luck who really, really needed a friend.

The people at the shelter let us take him out for a meet and greet walk around, and he was so thin and worn that we were not sure if he could survive the trip home.  Nevertheless, we decided to take him with us.  It was my wife who named him Sparkie because if there was anything he was not, it was sparking!

Well, the joke was on us, because once he had been fed regularly and given some TLC, he bounced back and now he walks my feet off when we take our “constitutional” across the street in the park each morning.  I tell everyone we meet that the dog is “keeping me alive!”  since he makes me take exercise I might not otherwise do.

The presence of such an animal in a person’s life is a blessing, not only to have such a source of love and warmth, but also to provide a connection back to the world around us. Taking that dog home with us was the best thing I have done lately!  A side benefit is that Sparkie now is making our old dog, Lu, run around again and act more youthful.

I really appreciate what your organization did in encouraging me to get a dog like Sparkie to make our home a much nicer place to be.  Thank you very much.  ~ Ed


  1. debbie radicchi

    thank you ed for your service and sorry you struggled. I so happy you and your wife found sparky. cheers and enjoy… debbie

  2. Colleen

    Such a wonderful story! God bless you Ed and Sparkle! He certainly sparkles now!

  3. Patty

    What a couple of handsome fellows!!!! So glad you 2 are enjoying your life together. Thank you, Ed, for your service. God Bless you and your lovely family.

  4. Natalie ~ the Coffee and a Book Chick

    What a beautiful story. Thank you, Ed, for everything you have done to keep us safe and free and I’m so happy Sparkie, you and your wife, and Lu are loving life together! 🙂

  5. Shannon

    While this is a beautiful story, and Sparkie looks exactly like my wonderful Lab/Pit – the fact that he was so skinny and lethargic that he looked dead – does not sound good for that shelter. This concerns me a great deal.

    Thank God for patriots like Ed who save these wonderful animals.

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