A rescued Chihuahua dog named Muchacho lived up to his name: rambunctious, demanding attention, and stealing the hearts of a career Army soldier and her two children. Stormy, still serving in the Army, tells her family’s story.
I am currently serving on active duty for the US Army. I am assigned to Fort Meade, Maryland’s Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center. I am a mother of two amazing children: 14 year-old Easton and Kaitlyn, who is 10. I have been serving in the Army for 16 years as a radiology specialist.
I entered the Army upon graduating from college at Western Illinois University and left my small hometown – Havana, Illinois – to try something new and different.
I started my Army career in 1997 and upon completion of AIT, I served my first duty assignment at Fort Irwin, California at Weed Army Community Hospital. During my tour I gave birth to an amazing young man, Easton, who was later diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Upon his diagnosis we moved cross country on a compassionate reassignment to Fort Gordon, Georgia’s Eisenhower Army Medical Center. While there I served in a variety of positions which culminated in me serving as an Army recruiter during my six year stay in Augusta.
While assigned to EAMC we added to our family a beautiful young lady, Kaitlyn. Both children have been a blessing and have given me the strength to continue serving our country, not just for me, but for them and future generations.
In 2008, I was reassigned to Fort Belvoir, Virginia where I was part of history as Walter Reed Army Medical Center transitioned to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and DeWitt Army Community Hospital transitioned to the medical center of the 21st Century, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. In October 2012, I PCS’d to Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center at Fort George G. Meade.
My career in the Army has been the best choice I ever made and has made me into the mother, soldier, and NCO I am today. Over the years I have had the honor of meeting some very amazing people in various assignments. Their friendship, mentorship, and leadership has touched my life in many ways.
A family brought even closer by an adopted dog named Muchacho
For years my children have been asking for a pet.
When Easton was a baby we had a Pug who was amazing with him. After Easton got sick, we decided it was best to wait before getting another animal. As time passed the excuse became we weren’t home enough and it just became habit to say this.
Last summer I decided it was time to move forward and adopt a dog.
At first the kids wanted guinea pigs, but we decided to get hamsters to start off with. Kaitlyn was always frightened of animals, so working with something small that she could get used to was the easiest way to begin helping her overcome her fear of all animals. In March we were visiting a friend and a stray dog was sitting on the sidewalk. I was concerned how Kaitlyn would react, but she walked up to the dog and began petting him. I was amazed at her change of heart and how she didn’t seem scared. She began asking for a dog for her birthday, so we began the search for the perfect pet for her and her brother.
We must have visited at least ten adoption events and shelters until we heard about Pets for Patriots, and through Pets for Patriots we found the Washington Animal Rescue League. We took the time to drive into Washington, DC to visit. We found a couple of amazing dogs that we fell in love with, but Muchacho was our first choice.
A charity that cares about veterans and their pets
I chose to adopt through Pets for Patriots because I believe in doing business with organizations that have the approval of another organization, especially one that is veteran friendly. I found out about Pets for Patriots though a Google search and wanted to learn more about the organization.
I am very impressed with both the Washington Animal Rescue League and Pets for Patriots. Their concern and care for their friends and finding homes for them are top of their list. I’m grateful for this program and the opportunities it offers for veterans who may be unable to pay the higher cost of adopting through some of the other rescue organizations.
A little dog with a big heart for his new family
Muchacho has brought such joy and love to our family. He is an amazing family member to us all. While he stays closest to me, the kids enjoy playing with him and walking him. Kaitlyn loves taking him for short runs. Both Easton and Kaitlyn love to just hug him as Muchacho gives them kisses.
For me, Muchacho has given me the companionship when my children are out of the house and filled a void that is beginning to empty as my children are growing up. He is such a joyful addition and one that we all love very much.
Muchacho can be a very calm animal and loves to cuddle more than anything. However during his playful moments he is a ball of energy that jumps high and makes us laugh. He is waiting for us when we get home and whines as one of leaves for work or school. He shows us such love and has fit in perfectly with our family.
I often tell other service members and veterans about Muchacho and how we found him through the Pets for Patriots program. I tell them about the opportunities and the partnerships that are formed through the program. Most of all, I tell them about the difference adopting such an amazing dog has made in our life and rescuing him gave him a permanent home with us.