With four children and one on the way, Joshua is a veteran Marine infantryman who does not shrink from a challenge. He decided to add a rescue dog to his growing pack and bring the unique joys of pet companionship to his young family.
The few and the very proud
In 2005, Joshua joined the United States Marine Corps. Over the course of his military service the combat infantryman deployed three times, including to Iraq, and describes his entire time as a Marine as “life-changing.”
“I can’t point to one experience that stands out because of the nature of being a Marine,” he says. “The bonds, trials and achievements that make the Marine Corps different are present throughout a Marine’s enlistment.”
After earning an Honorable discharge and returning to civilian life, Joshua now works for a communications firm while pursuing a graduate degree. As if that were not enough he and his wife are expecting their fifth child, but found room in their hearts and home for at least one more.
This new dependent, however, would be a rescue dog.
For the love of dog
Jasper was a two year-old Retriever mix in search of hope and a home at at the Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter. The organization manages the local municipal shelter and partners with Pets for Patriots to help the most overlooked animals in their care find loving homes with military veterans.
Joshua and his wife had decided to add to their ever-growing pack, believing that a companion dog would be good for their young children. In fact, dogs and cats are shown to help children cope with the inevitable stresses of military life – not to mention the benefits that companion pets bring to all members of the family, young and old alike.
“My family and I wanted a pet to care for and enjoy,” the seasoned Marine veteran explains. “We all wanted the joy that only a dog can provide.”
Rescue dog a family affair
Like many sheltered animals, nothing is known about how Jasper became homeless. Despite his good nature, as a large, adult dog he would inevitably face a harder time getting adopted than younger, smaller animals that many people prefer. Fortunately for Jasper, his soon-to-be hero had just learned about our program and our partnership with the Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter.
“I found Pets for Patriots by accident,” Joshua says. “When I researched the program I realized that it was a perfect fit for me and my family. It was great to work with an organization that understood active duty service members and veterans.”
Jasper was renamed Trig, and instantly made himself a welcome and beloved member of the Marine veteran’s family.
Yet as any pet parent will confess, caring for a pet is not all play and no work. Companion dogs and cats are completely dependent upon their people for every aspect of their welfare. Through the everyday routines of caring for them, however, pets provide valuable life lessons as well.
“Trig is great! He has helped my children become more responsible and intentional with their time,” Joshua shares. “He has given us a reason to spend time together as a family in taking him for walks and to the park.”
Trig earns his stripes
For his part, Trig seems to enjoy being part of a big and growing family. Although an adult, his relative youth is occasionally accompanied by a little too much exuberance.
“He gets a little too excited when he sees us and he likes to jump up on everyone,” Joshua says, “but we are working on that.”
The Marine veteran endured multiple deployments, including to one of the fiercest combat zones in the world. No challenge is too great, much less one that has already delivered so many benefits and so much joy to his young family. As a military veteran, Joshua appreciates the unique understanding we bring to his family’s needs.
“There is no better organization to work with if you are interested in adopting a pet,” he says. “They understand the lifestyle and struggles of veterans, and do whatever they can to assist in the process. They have helped us both financially and with tips for training our pet.”
If you are a veteran or know one who would benefit from a companion pet, we invite you to learn more.