Proud to serve, by sea or by air
A recent college graduate and current Air Force Reservist, Kyle is working through a management program with a major, multi-regional supermarket chain. However, it is abundantly clear that service to country is part of this veteran’s DNA.
“I entered the military having the desire to give back in some way even if I did not go active,” he says. “I feel the need to give something back to America, and still feel the need to do more.”
In 2009, Kyle joined the Navy Reserves as a Seabee – their motto, “We build, we fight.” At the time, he planned to attend college and eventually transition to active duty, but elected to stay in school. After more than four-and-a-half years with the Navy he switched to the Air Force Reserves, attached to the 512th CES (Civil Engineer Squadron) in Dover, Delaware.
“Even though I am serving as a Reservist,” he says, “I feel the need to put on the uniform and stand up to protect the rights of every American. I want to create a future not just for my family, but also many others, as long as I live.”
Like many veterans before him and no doubt many to follow, Kyle thrives on the profound sense of camaraderie that is the bedrock of military culture.
“I cannot explain these relationships that are developed between the men and women you meet,” he explains, “but the bonds built, memories made are some of the best times you could ever be a part of. Only other service members know the feeling I am talking about.”
As a Reservist, Kyle has the opportunity to pursue a life and career in the civilian world while maintaining his military commitments, a circumstance that gives him a unique perspective on many things in life, including companion pet adoption.
“As a military member we fight for the rights for people who cannot. We leave our families to ensure safety for the masses. We will give the shirts off our backs to help anyone in need,” he says, adding, “I use that same motto for animals in shelters.”
The dual Navy-Air Force veteran understands that homeless animals are innocents. They “did nothing wrong nor did they want to be in a shelter;” their only desires “love and companionship.”
No stranger to pet adoption – Kyle had two dogs at home prior to adopting through Pets for Patriots – he admits that he and his wife would adopt even more if their finances allowed. For them, adoption is the only option.
“I chose to adopt to give a pet a second chance,” Kyle says. “I adopt to spare a life, I adopt to give another chance, and I adopt because I want to help.”
The savior and the saved
Kyle is a previous pet adopter and believes that there is something special, even unique, about the bond created with a rescued animal.
“The love from an adopted pet is not like any other,” he says. “You can feel the love and see it in their eyes when you take them away from their nightmares.”
Cam is a large, adult Great Pyrenees mix who found himself homeless and in the care of the Virginia Beach SPCA, a Pets for Patriots adoption and veterinary partner. While Kyle and his wife were visiting the shelter and thinking about adding the big dog to their four-legged family, Cam was adopted by someone else.
“He was adopted before we could get him, but returned,” the veteran recalls. “It was like a sign.”
The shelter told Kyle about Pets for Patriots and our companion pet adoption program for veterans, including the many benefits for adopting harder-to-place pets like Cam. The Virginia Beach SPCA allowed Kyle to foster Cam while he completed his application to our program, which gave him the opportunity to ensure that his newest charge would get along with his other two dogs.
“Cam seemed to fit right in helping everyone in our home feel whole,” says Kyle.
“An angel sent from up above”
Kyle was approved by Pets for Patriots and the foster was a success, paving the way for him to convert Cam’s foster to a permanent adoption. The veteran was not the only one in the family who appreciated the newest addition.
“Reese, our Saint Bernard, needed Cam,” Kyle observes. “They are similar in size and love playing with each other.”
Decidedly smaller Apollo – a Beagle-Hound mix – is Cam’s cuddle buddy.
“He [Apollo] desires the need to cuddle and sometimes Reese does not want to,” Kyle explains. “Cam always lets Apollo lay with him.”
“It [Pets for Patriots] gives a voice to service members who desire companionship,” he says. “It also helps save not just the animal’s life, but also the veteran. Through Pets for Patriots you combined two lost souls that only seek a single bond. And there seems to be no better bond similar to the service than that of a bond with a pet.”
Kyle has honored our work by calling Pets for Patriots “our animal version of the USO.” But fittingly, his most passionate words are saved for Cam, the big dog who almost got away.
“Being all white it is as if he was an angel sent from up above,” he says. “Nothing but happiness has come from bringing Cam home.”