In one Army home, a rescued dog named Captain Jack rules the roost with his calm demeanor and winning personality. His unlikely hero is an Army veteran who was never too excited about having dogs in the first place.
Army takes teen recruit around the world
At the age of 18, Agustin – who goes by Jimmy – joined the Army to strike out on his own and to care for his young family. But his military service left very little family time; he was deployed immediately after basic training, including to Bosnia and Korea on what he affectionately calls “an all expenses paid trip.”
Once his tour of duty was completed, Jimmy re-enlisted, trained as a firefighter and was deployed to Iraq. Now out of the military and working as a firefighter in Colorado, he’s trying to recoup lost time with his family.
Pet adoption wasn’t on Jimmy’s mind, but it was near and dear to the two women in his life: his girlfriend and his young daughter. With some persistence to “get the small dog they were bugging me about,” Jimmy admits that he likes “helping a dog find a good home.”
Little dog comes with big benefits
Captain Jack is a four year-old Chihuahua with a “great personality” and easy going demeanor. In spite of his pint size, he has a lot in common with Jimmy’s existing dog, Jaqui, a two year-old German Shepherd-Husky mix. “They’re both the same color and I like that they’re both friendly, calm and easy to train.”
Prior to saving Captain Jack, Jimmy “didn’t know much” about Pets for Patriots. He was in the process of looking for another dog when he saw a flyer about the nationwide charitable program at Pueblo Animal Services, a Pets for Patriots adoption partner. To his surprise, the benefits of adopting through Pets for Patriots helped to seal the deal.
“I was very pleased to hear that the organization helped with taking care of Captain Jack,” he says. “I wasn’t too sure about getting him, but hearing that I would get help kind of pushed me towards getting him. Almost like a bonus for helping a shelter dog.”
Community partners support adult pet adoption
In return for saving the life of this adult dog, Jimmy became eligible for a range of benefits to help make pet adoption more affordable for veterans and service members: a $150 annual contribution towards the cost of pet food and other essentials, ongoing discounted veterinary care and pet discounts provided by the charity’s various sponsors. Pets & Friends Animal Hospital in Pueblo provides Jimmy and other area member patriots an ongoing 10% discount for the care of any pet adopted through Pets for Patriots.
In Jimmy’s case, dogs really did change the man.
“I didn’t really like dogs around the house until I adopted,” he says, but quickly adds, “I would say that they give me that extra reason to go on runs. They enjoy going on runs, so I go on runs. I can’t complain since I needed a reason to get back into a workout routine.”
Just being a new pet parent motivated Jimmy to spruce up his home.
“The backyard needed a lot of work, and since the dogs moved in I had to upgrade the fence. I trimmed trees to make more room for them to run around. One thing led to another and now I can’t stop working in the yard.”
A chance taken and rewarded
Captain Jack’s unlikely hero isn’t looking back.
“I took a chance with him and I was pleasantly surprised.”
Although the little dog initially had some bad habits, the Army veteran noted that Captain Jack listens well and was very easy to train. Still, Jimmy admits he was ambivalent about bringing another dog into his home.
“I was on the fence about going through another adoption,” he admits, “but reading through the Pets for Patriots pamphlet helped push me in the right direction. While money wasn’t the deciding factor, it was nice to see that help was out there to encourage adoptions.”
Of course, Jimmy had another inspiration even more important than money.
“My daughter can’t turn down the chance to help an animal in need; being a father I needed to set the right example. Even if I had already decided on adopting before letting her ‘talk me into it.'”
How has your adopted pet changed your views about having pets as part of your family life?