Dolly was a fully grown, homeless hound looking for love in a Connecticut shelter when a Devil Dog crossed her path and made her family.
The other day that will live in infamy
It was September 11, 2001, a day that Brad recalls vividly as his most memorable day in military service.
“[I was] sitting in an ambush site in Kosovo when we got the call on the radio that terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”
Later that same year the Marine Corps veteran sustained a serious injury while on deployment, ending a military career that started in 1999. Now in his final year of law school, Brad interns with the United States Attorney’s Office and works part-time as a real estate agent. He shares a home with his girlfriend, Shannon, and her teenage son and younger daughter.
“It was fate”
Brad was like many pet guardians who mourn the loss of their beloved four-legged friends: missing a four-legged companion, yet conflicted about adopting another pet.
“I had lost both of my dogs last year to illnesses associated with old age,” he says. “Having a dog-less house was strange and felt empty. I knew I wanted to get another dog, but felt as though I would be dishonoring the memory of my dogs.”
To cope with his grief and still show support for local animal shelters, the Marine Corps veteran decided to run a 5k race in support of the Danbury Animal Welfare Society. Unknown to Brad at the time, the shelter had joined Pets for Patriots several months earlier and offers discounts to veterans in our program who adopt an eligible dog or cat.
As Brad crossed the finish line he saw something – or rather, someone – he did not expect, and who would forever change his life and that of his young family.
“At the end of the race there were refreshments and some of the shelter dogs were milling about. Then along came this dog who strutted in to the gymnasium.”
That dog was a homeless hound named Dolly.
“I went over to check her out and it hit me instantly that we needed her and she needed us,” he recalls. “It was fate.”
Once homeless hound makes a house a home
Brad did not adopt the then six year-old Redbone Coonhound on the spot, but was determined to find out more about this dog who stole his heart. It was upon his return visit to the Danbury Animal Welfare Society that the Marine Corps veteran learned about Pets for Patriots, and about the many benefits of adopting through our partnership with the shelter.
“It was certainly helpful to have the benefit of this program,” he said, adding, “it made the process very easy, and helped with the transition for Dolly.”
Once Brad adopted Dolly it was clear that she was the perfect choice for his family.
“We have a complete home again,” he says. “She settled in very quickly and has been a huge part of our lives in such a short time.”
To say she settled in quickly might be an understatement. Within an hour of going to her new home Dolly managed to “claim her spot on the couch.”
Devil Dog is heaven sent
Dolly may be the family dog, but that does not make her any less part of the family. She gets rather vocal if she feels slighted from any plans that Brad, his girlfriend and the kids might make that do not involve her.
“She is so sweet and just wants love,” he says. “She loves to ride in the car, and she howls at us if we don’t take her with us. She thinks she is very funny!”
The big hound gets in on more vigorous family plans as well, including “a few hikes and a 5-mile run.” Brad concludes that “she has been amazing” and is with his family “for life.”
Since Brad had dogs in his life before Dolly he was well-prepared to welcome the big hound home. It is critical for all potential adopters to make sure that their home – and their family members – are ready for companion pet adoption. Brad believes that people who are looking for a pet should look no further than their local shelter, rescue or municipal animal control.
“If you have the time for a pet and have the space, then please go save a shelter dog,” he says. “It will change your life in the best way. You think you are saving them, but really, they are saving you.”