Damian had a long Naval career as an aviator and flight instructor. After years of constant change, he embraced post-military life and shared his newly permanent roots with a friend: a shelter dog named Bella.
Although mobility is a job requirement of anyone in the military, relocating is still a complex event and can take its toll. The effects of constant moves – often called ‘mobility syndrome,’ ‘relocation stress’ and ‘relo shock’ – have been analyzed by many experts over the years.
One thing is not in dispute: constant change is often the only sure thing military personnel experience during their years of service.
A Navy career on the move
In 1993, Damian enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and for nine years traveled from coast to coast without the comfort or stability of a permanent home. He climbed the ranks to Officer and Naval Aviator and, in 2012, separated from service after completing his last tour of duty.
Once out of the military, Damian moved to Washington DC and earned a masters degree in special education. Enjoying his newfound security and stability, the Naval aviator felt it was the right time to share his home with someone else in need: a Pit Bull and Dalmatian mix from the Washington Humane Society.
Damian heard about Pets for Patriots while still in the Navy. Within a year of moving to DC and once having completed his graduate degree, he started his search for a companion pet and best friend.
“As soon as I had the chance, and was off duty settled in permanent roots,” he says, “I paired up with the Washington Humane Society.”
The Navy veteran speaks highly of the shelter, which offers veterans approved by Pets for Patriots a 50% adoption fee discount on any eligible dog or cat – all in addition to other cost-saving benefits provided by Pets for Patriots, including access to discounted veterinary care and help with ‘welcome home’ pet food, supplies and other basics.
Originally named Perdita, Bella was more than 40 pounds at the time of her adoption, qualifying her under the Pets for Patriots program requirements.
An “instantaneous” best friend
Since their mutual adoption, Damian and Bella have become fast friends who like to do many activities together. They happily exchanged the dog park for the ballpark, where Bella is the Dodgers’ biggest four-legged fan.
No longer on the move, Damian can fully invest his time and love into Bella, and gets nothing less in return. With the former shelter dog as both family and friend, the ex-aviator finally feels that he is at home.
“[Adopting a] pet is an instantaneous opportunity to have a best friend that will be there for you,” he says, “no matter where you are or where you move from.”
How does your pet make your house a home?