Jessica wonders how an abused old dog could be such a sweetheart after all he had been through. The Navy veteran vowed to give him the loving home he never had yet so richly deserved.
Caring for others on the high seas
From 2002 to 2007 Jessica served as a Navy Corpsman, during which time she was deployed to the Persian Gulf aboard the USNS Comfort, a sea-going medical treatment facility providing both rapid response medical care to the Marine Corps, Army and Air Force as well as humanitarian aid around the world.
“The most memorable part was getting the chance to do real corpsman work aboard the Comfort,” she recalls. “We provided care to allied forces and Iraqi POWs. We were able to rehabilitate people, take care of wounds, and I learned a great deal from all the people we served.”
Although separated from service for nearly ten years, Jessica stays busy. She is a civilian contractor for the Navy, attending school full time, and active in her church.
Old dog, new life
In 2015, Jessica decided to adopt a dog.
“I had always had animals growing up,” she shares. “In my newest apartment there were no breed restrictions or weight restrictions so I was finally able to get a larger dog. It would be a companion, hopefully a guard dog, and would cause me to be more active.”
Phillip fit the bill. The nine year-old German Shepherd mix was in desperate need of a new start in life. He was heart worm positive and has Horner’s Syndrome, a relatively common neurological condition that causes drooping of the eye and some of the surrounding facial muscles.
The old dog was found abused, living in a hoarding situation. Rescued and ready for adoption, Phillip was in the care of the Virginia Beach SPCA when Jessica started her search. It was through the shelter that the Navy veteran learned about Pets for Patriots, and how if approved she would be eligible for a discounted pet adoption fee and ongoing discounted veterinary care.
Since 2009, Pets for Patriots has helped military veterans adopt the most overlooked sheltered dogs and cats, giving these often last-chance animals their first prospects for hope and a home. We provide a broad range of benefits to reduce the lifetime costs associated with pet parenthood which, in turn, reduces the chances an adopted pet will be returned to the shelter due to short-term financial hardship.
“I chose to adopt through Pets for Patriots because of the benefits,” Jessica says. “The money they give really helped when I needed to get an orthopedic bed for my dog.”
The older, the better
Jessica has no regrets adopting a senior dog. While Phillip may be a little slower and more mellow than his younger counterparts, he brings just the right amount of energy into his Navy veteran’s life.
“He helps me to get up in the morning, instead of hitting my snooze a bunch of times, because I know he needs to go outside,” Jessica says. “He brings a lot of joy because he’s a big goof. Whenever we go outside he will try to find a plot of grass and immediately roll around in it.”
The Navy veteran recommends adopting older companion pets whenever possible, and believes that many people are unaware of the benefits of more mature dogs and cats.
“They appreciate you more, you don’t have to worry about potty training – usually – or other training, and they don’t have as much energy or attention needs as younger dogs,” she says. “They help ease your stress and keep you motivated. They are great companions!”
For his part, Phillip is relishing every moment of his new life. Freed from the abusive, neglectful situation in which he was found, he gains confidence with each passing day. Jessica finds it remarkable that the old dog could be so loving after having been so badly mistreated.
“Phillip loves people,” she says. “I’m not sure how a dog could be so sweet and docile when he’s been through so much. He greets everyone and actually will hug people with one of his paws around their leg or arm. And he loves to show his belly!”
Oldies are goodies; learn more about the benefits of adopting senior pets.