Brian is an Iraq war combat veteran who decided to give an overlooked, older dog the second chance he deserved.
The Fighting Thirteenth
Currently working as a software developer for a medical billing company, Brian enlisted in the Marines because he “wasn’t yet ready for college.” Trained as an infantry rifleman, he deployed on the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), known as “The Fighting Thirteenth,” as well as the 31st MEU.
The young veteran’s tour of duty included a combat deployment to Iraq. Once home, he thought a dog would help make it easier to go from battlefront to home front.
“I learned of the Pets for Patriots program through a pet rescue’s website,” Brian says. “I decided to adopt through the program because it helped ease the transition from no pet to pet with buying required supplies.”
Pets for Patriots makes pet parenthood affordable for military veterans through discounts offered through adoption and veterinary partners, as well direct contributions towards the costs of welcoming a new pet home. The goals are not only to help the most overlooked homeless animals get adopted and give veterans a new best friend, but to reduce the chances of these pets being returned to shelters due to cost of care.
Send in the Marines
Preston was a seven year-old, gray Weimaraner at the Big Dog Ranch Rescue with few prospects for adoption. Since most people prefer younger or smaller companion pets, he had two strikes against him as a large, senior dog.
Fortunately, Brian saw something – and someone – worth saving.
“He’s older,” the Marine veteran says, “but still has a lot of lovable energy.”
Following a “meet and greet” at Big Dog Ranch Rescue Brian arranged to bring Preston home. The rescue offers Pets for Patriots veterans a deeply reduced adoption fee of $50, and through its affiliation with a Florida-based Weimaraner rescue the organization typically has dogs of that particular breed available.
Contrary to popular belief, one of the many benefits of older companion pets is their ability to adapt to new situations. For Preston, this included getting acquainted with the family’s other four-legged member: the cat.
“Preston is doing great getting adjusted to his new surroundings,” Brian says. “He is interested in meeting our cat, but is very gentle about it.”
The big dog’s gentlemanly demeanor around the cat should not be mistaken for a lack of vigor. To the contrary, Preston is a “high energy” dog who gets his Marine to take him out at least twice a day for walks. He “listens well – most of the time,” and has a “goofy” personality that Brian finds compatible with his own.
“We feel like we owe him, so we often take him with us if we go to outdoor events, including farmers markets,” says Brian. “We occasionally take him to a dog beach as well.”
Many shelters and rescues will keep companion pets, like Preston, for as long as it takes to find them the right home. Although this spares these animals the grimmest fate, life in the best animal welfare organization still pales in comparison to a loving home of one’s own. By adopting Preston, Brian not only gave the older dog a second chance at life, but gave his own new meaning as well.
“He really is a great dog that needed a second chance,” he says, “and because of his age he was often overlooked. I’m glad we are the ones to give him that chance as he makes a great addition to our family.”
Learn more about the ways companion dogs and cats help military veterans.