As a young Army soldier, Frank was not prepared for the loneliness he faced when he and his wife were relocated by the military to a place where the pair had no family or friends. In true Army strong spirit, he battled the blues by adopting a homeless hound who would become “the perfect dog.”
A passion to serve
In 2012, Frank joined the United States Army as a Watercraft Engineer. After attending basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, he and his wife relocated to Newport News, Virginia, where Frank is stationed at the sprawling Joint Base Langley-Eustis. It was pure heart that inspired him to join the armed forces.
“It has always been a dream and passion of mine,” he says. “I believe if you ever really want something in life you do it, and I am glad I joined and am able to live this experience.”
Although still early into his Army career, Frank recalls one of the most memorable experiences he has had as a soldier: twice being part of the Fort Eustis funeral detail.
“It was a very humbling experience to be able to render military honors to our fallen soldiers.”
Giving a second chance to last chance pets
Frank soon confronted one of the challenging realities of military life: moving somewhere new and having no family or friends nearby. To make matters worse his wife was traveling for work, which meant more often than not Frank faced an empty home when he left work each day.
It didn’t take long for a bad case of the blues to set in.
“I was feeling down and lonely due to my wife traveling for work and having no family in Virginia,” Frank says. “I knew adopting a pup would be the perfect solution to my loneliness. I could give it a loving home and attention.”
While browsing adoptable pets available through shelters in his community, Frank learned about Pets for Patriots, a nationally operating charity that creates life-saving opportunities for veterans to adopt homeless dogs and cats. Its local adoption partner, Portsmouth Humane Society, offers the charity’s members a 20% adoption fee discount. Pets for Patriots provides a range of other benefits that help make pet adoption more affordable for veterans and military personnel who adopt the most overlooked shelter dogs and cats.
That sealed the deal for Frank, who was inspired by the charity’s mission and message.
“The reason I chose adopt through Pets for Patriots,” he says, “is because they help military members such as myself and give an opportunity to last chance pets.”
Beagle mix helps Army soldier beat the blues
When Frank visited the Portsmouth Humane Society he met a then three year-old Beagle/Labrador mix. Named Gilliam at the time, she has since been renamed Samantha – Sammy or Sam for short.
“Ever since the first day I met my pup Sam and she came right to me, I knew I was meant to bring her home with me,” says Frank.
Gone are the days of leaving work for an empty home, and the Army soldier’s feelings of loneliness are a thing of the past.
“She has made me very happy; I couldn’t have asked for a better dog,” Frank beams. “I look forward to coming home because I know she is excited to see me.”
While Sam gives her veteran countless reasons to smile, Frank most enjoys how “she wags her little tail” when he comes home from work. True to her breeds, Sam is obedient, lovable – even silly. As a bonus, she “loves to cuddle.”
For Frank, Sam is the total package. The perfect dog.
“I am glad I chose to adopt because I found the perfect dog anyone could ever have. I feel so lucky to have my pup Sam,” he says, and encourages other veterans to adopt through Pets for Patriots as well. “Do it! You won’t regret it. They are really so helpful, I’m sure they will find a pup as amazing as my Sam.”
By choosing pet adoption, this Army veteran rid his life of loneliness and – at the same time – saved the life of an animal that gives him untold joy. Now with Sam in his life, Frank can better cope with the inevitable ups and downs that are typical of military life.
“I can’t imagine my life without her; I love my Sammy,” says Frank. “It is true when they say a dog is a man’s best friend.”