At the height of the Vietnam War in early 1968, Richard joined the Army. He joined because, quite simply, “Uncle Sam decided he wanted me.” He loved the opportunity to see different states, like Colorado, and meet different people. He valued the sense of camaraderie as well.
“You took care of your buddy and your buddies took care of you.”
Richard was scheduled for deployment to Vietnam, but there was an issue with his unit and he no longer had to go. He subsequently got injured and separated from the Army altogether.
Without the camaraderie Richard so enjoyed while serving, he turned to the next best thing: man’s best friend. “I’ve always had a dog,” Richard explains.
Growing up, he fell in love with his aunt’s Chinese Pug and, in turn, she got him one for Christmas. He had two more Chinese Pugs after that, but when someone stole them from their pen, Richard decided that was it – no more dogs. “I got too attached,” he says.
“I’m gonna get me a dog”
He was looking for another one of his beloved Chinese Pugs, but found them difficult to find. Instead, a little shelter dog found him.
Richard visited the Lake City Humane Society, where the volunteers showed him a puggle, but when he saw the dog he realized it wasn’t mean to be: “I didn’t have that feeling.” However when he turned around, he saw a little brown tail sticking up among the other dogs in the pen.
“You couldn’t even see her,” Richard recalls. Then the other dogs parted and there she was, a Miniature Dachshund the color of cinnamon. Richard knew he’d found his dog, or maybe it was the other way around. “It’s the way she looked at me,” he explains.
Richard took his new little battle-buddy home and changed her name from Jetta to Cinnamon, to match her coloring.
“She looks just like Cinnamon.”
Battle buddy rules the homestead
From the moment Richard brought Cinnamon home, he relinquished control of his home.
“She rules the house,” he says, but wouldn’t have it any other way. Cinnamon keeps Richard company – and keeps him busy. Thought to be at least two years old, in many ways she still acts like a puppy: constantly on the go, always wanting to go outside to play. Richard will take her out for two or three hours at a time just to tire her out.
“She keeps me company, keeps me busy,” he says. “I have my hands full.”
Every veteran needs a buddy
Richard takes Cinnamon to Caring Hands Animal Hospital, a Pets for Patriots veterinary partner, because it’s the most convenient and he’s heard people speak highly of it. During Cinnamon’s spay surgery, Caring Hands called him twice to let him know how she was doing.
“I thought that was good of them,” he says, but most important, “Cinnamon seems like she likes them – that’s the main thing.”
In addition to offering an ongoing 10% discount on services to member Patriots who adopt through the charity’s companion pet adoption program for veterans, Caring Hands provides affordable pet care and owner education with “Pet U,” a free online resource with information about vaccinations and parasites. Richard is equally appreciative to Pets for Patriots for sending him a $150 Petsmart gift card to help with the cost of pet basics for Cinnamon, like food and supplies.
Prior to this pet adoption experience Richard had never heard of Pets for Patriots, but he’s very glad that he did.
“It’s been a good experience from A to Z. I wouldn’t trade Cinnamon for the world, and I think every veteran who’s by themselves should do it, too.”
How did you know that your rescued pet was “the one?”