David is an Air Force veteran with a passion for pets, especially seniors. But after losing two older dogs he decided to adopt a somewhat younger dog to bring new vitality to his family, both two- and four-legged.
Flying high from the ground
In 1985, David enlisted in the Air Force. He wanted to make a better life for Lori, who was his fiancée at the time, and who is now his wife of 32 years and counting.
David was stationed both stateside and abroad during the course of his military career.
“I did the usual basic training at Lackland Air Force Base (AFB). Then continued on to my schooling at Chanute AFB for aerospace ground equipment mechanic,” he shares.
An aerospace ground equipment mechanic performs the vital tasks of maintaining military aircraft and preparing them for flight. They play an essential role in assuring the readiness of our nation’s air forces.
After he graduated from training, David wanted to explore the world a bit. He requested and received an overseas assignment to Zaragoza AB in Spain. Following that tour he returned to the states.
“After my assignment there,” he says, “I was assigned to Holloman AFB in Alamogordo, New Mexico. That was my last before returning to the civilian population.”
David’s most enduring memories from his military service both involve a space shuttle. One event occurred during basic training. He and his fellow trainees were told that the Space Shuttle Challenger had exploded.
“This leads me to my second memory,” he says. “While stationed at Zaragoza, I was chosen to help setup and assist with a space shuttle recovery team. Seeing that Zaragoza AB had the longest runway in the area, it could be diverted there.”
In 1990, David received an honorable discharge. Since that time he has called Hertford, North Carolina his home.
An airman with a passion for pets
David and Lori have two grown children, Jonathan and Hannah. The couple now has the time to devote to a shared passion: adopting pets in need, particularly older dogs.
“My wife and I, since becoming empty nesters, have taken to adopting senior dogs and fostering those who need it through two great organizations, SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina and Currituck Animal Shelter.”
SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina is one of many rural shelters in our network, and offers a 50 percent discount to veterans who adopt through our partnership. They joined our free shelter partner program in 2017.
The Air Force veteran’s passion for pets is longstanding. He cannot imagine life without at least one four-legged critter in the house.
“We have always had pets in our lives,” David shares. “We had a few months prior put a pair of our senior dogs to rest, and our family was ready for a dog that was more active to keep our young Beagle and senior Beagle mix active.”
David learned about Pets for Patriots and our companion pet adoption program on the SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina website. From there he learned about all the ways we make pet guardianship more affordable for military veterans.
“I liked what I read about your organization, and the benefits to the community and the animals that needed saving.”
For the love of Finley
Pixie Dust was a two year-old Jack Russell Terrier-Dachshund mix when David and Lori met her at the shelter. Her name was a harbinger of the sweet energy that she would bring to her new home.
After her adoption, Pixie Dust was renamed Finley, but the small dog’s magical spirit was unchanged.
“Finley has brightened our household,” David says. “She has accomplished everything we thought she would. She keeps our other dogs active. Even a 15 year-old rescue we got this year. She has him playing, at least for a little while each day.”
The Air Force veteran is a true advocate for adopting pets in need. While David recognizes that pets can alter a family’s routines and lifestyle, he believes that it is always worth doing. He would not hesitate to tell other veterans the same. And whenever he has the opportunity, he shares his abiding passion for pets with others.
“I would tell them that the benefits of having a new family member outweigh the negatives,” he says.
Most of all, David likes the benefits we deliver and the fact that we personally follow up with every adoption. He hopes that other veterans make use of our nationally operating program.
Saving Finley changed the dynamic in David’s home, but her abundant love is its own reward. And it is her adoring nature that has this Air Force veteran and lifelong animal rescuer so smitten.
“The thing we most love about Finley is the way she is loving,” David shares. “She will jump up in your lap and lay her head on your chest just to be petted. She will burrow herself under the blankets and sleep right next to you to know you are there. You move away and she will move next to you again.”