War Veteran Finds Hope in Abandoned Dog

Joseph and Mollie. (Photo: Pets for Patriots)

Joseph and Mollie. (Photo: Pets for Patriots)

The healing and helping potential of dogs never ceases to amaze. Joseph is a veteran of the Korean War, and is still active in veteran's organizations 60 years after his service. Another steadfast part of Joseph's life has been his dogs.

Joseph adopted his first dog shortly after getting married, and his home had not been without once since. He had many dogs over the years, including a Rhodesian Ridgeback he adopted on a mission trip to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.

That dog's name was Naegle, and she was his constant companion for eight years before passing away unexpectedly in her sleep.

The trauma of war never left Joseph, and he has long suffered from PTSD and depression. Naegle's sudden death was devastating for him, and he was unsure if he would ever be able to bring home another dog. But thanks to the support of his family and help from the Pets for Patriots program, which makes pet adoption affordable for military families, Joseph took a trip to his local animal shelter, where he met Mollie.

Mollie was a 4 year old Australian Shepherd who was in dire need of a home. She was overweight and had possibly suffered abuse in her previous home. Joseph slowly gained her trust, and now the pair are inseparable, spending much of the day walking together on his two-acre property.

Perhaps the most incredible part of this story is that Mollie's presence rescued Joseph from his depression. He says that having her company and dependence on him is "the greatest cure" for this debilitating condition.

Who rescued who? It's hard to tell.


  1. Beth

    February 5th, 2014 at 12:22 am

    Oh i know how therapeutic animals are. I have many disabilities and know how awesome the calming power of animals are.

  2. chriss

    February 5th, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    This is lovely to read. I suffer from PTSD (first responder related) and a head injury and my positively trained cats have changed their own routines and behaviours to help me. They are both rescued, too, but now they rescue me nearly every day. Alerting me to emotional states I may slip into, reminding me to feed them (haha), applying pressure and insisting on being pet and purring close to my face during specific symptom onsets. If I have a migraine they each sleep on one side of my head at night, as well. How amazing animals are... I trained them for fun and out of love for them and the craft, and the bonds we share has grown immeasurably now.

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