It’s often said that good things come in small packages. This proved true for one pint-sized shelter pup who came to the rescue of a lonely Navy sailor looking for some four-legged love.
It’s a small world after all
Kelsey grew up in Kansas and in 2012 enlisted in the Navy. She was stationed aboard the USS Pearl Harbor LSD-52 in San Diego before receiving Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
Leaving California meant leaving a close personal connection, as well.
During her time in service Kelsey has learned that the world is not as big as it may seem; she marvels at how life in the military has expanded her horizons in so many ways.
“The people I’ve met and made connections with all over the world,” she says. “Anywhere I go, I have a mutual friend with someone. Makes me realize how small the world really is.”
Yet the Navy sailor’s move across the country had quite the opposite impact; her world started to feel more empty and lonely than ever before.
Someone to love
Like all veterans, Kelsey moves where the military needs her. When she PCS’d from San Diego to Tampa, she was relocating to a place that was absent the familiar places and faces she had come to know. Suddenly her world felt very small, and wanting.
“I was in a new city, all alone, and didn’t have anyone to come home to,” she says. “It was really lonely.”
Little did Kelsey know that the answer to her loneliness rested with a 16-pound Chihuahua-Dacshund mix, waiting at a local shelter to make someone’s world complete.
Pint-sized pup gets life-saving relocation
Bones was a three year-old dog transferred to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay from a shelter where his life was at risk. These types of transfer arrangements among shelters and rescues are common – within communities and even across state lines. The goal is to relocate adoptable animals to areas where they may have a better chance of finding a permanent home than where they were found, rescued or surrendered.
By this time Kelsey had decided to get a dog, preferably an adult.
“I wanted a dog that didn’t require all the extra attention that a puppy needs,” she shares. “I needed a companion.”
The Navy veteran started her search online, where she first found out about Pets for Patriots and our companion pet adoption program for military veterans. She learned about all the benefits we offer, and how the Humane Society of Tampa Bay waives pet adoption fees and offers discounted veterinary care for our members.
The decision to apply was an easy one.
“With my recent move I was low on funds,” Kelsey says, “and Pets for Patriots offered a variety of ways to help me bring my new pet friend home without breaking the bank.”
As an adult pet, Bones met our criteria for adoption. Pets for Patriots is focused solely on dogs and cats most overlooked for adoption: older and special needs animals, and large breed dogs.
Within days of his arrival at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Bones went from homeless to home.
Love to the rescue
Bones was soon renamed Bruce Wayne, after the legendary superhero character Batman. While not world famous, this Bruce Wayne proved to be just the type of hero that Kelsey needed most.
“He gives me something to come home to and love on,” she shares. “He’s loyal in ways I never could have imagined.”
For his part, the little pup is fully embracing his second chance at life. Together he and Kelsey are making Tampa their home.
“He’s so affectionate,” she marvels. “He loves to cuddle, and play outside with the squirrels.”
Adopting a companion pet changed Kelsey’s world for the better. She likens it to an unexpected form of therapy, and encourages other military veterans to consider bringing a pet into their lives.
“It’s a great opportunity! You’re not only helping an animal,” she says, “but you’re helping yourself without knowing it.”