By Eric Stieglitz, Pets for Vets Coordinator
As the Pittsburgh Chapter of Pets for Vets®, we are honored to work with veterans and active members of our military who have many different stories and backgrounds. We take great pride in getting to know these special adopters and their families. From the moment they walk through our doors, our goal is to work with them to carefully select an animal based on their specific needs, interests and the lifestyle they live.
That’s exactly how we met Joe, a Vietnam War veteran and his wife Kathy – and how Bubba found his very own home.
Every Pets for Vets® adoption is special to me, but the story of Bubba being matched with Joe and Kathy holds a special place in my heart. Bubba is a lovable brindle Pit Bull who came to Animal Friends as a transfer from another organization. He was dealing with some severe skin issues and hair loss, but despite his tough start in life, Bubba was an incredibly social and friendly dog. He quickly won over the hearts of our staff and volunteers when he arrived, but as the weeks turned into months, it was clear that Bubba needed to find a loving family.
Joe and Kathy came to Animal Friends after hearing about the special services we offer to veterans. We met with them and learned Joe’s incredible story. During his second tour of duty in Vietnam, Joe was hit by a mortar and suffered a back injury that changed his life. All these years later, he still suffers from night terrors of his time in Vietnam and lingering effects of the injury he suffered while he was serving.
I’ll never forget the look on his face when Bubba walked through the door of the meet-and-greet room. I can’t help but think this match was meant to be. As Bubba turned on his signature charm, Joe and Kathy fell in love and suddenly, Bubba’s search for a family had come to an end.
I still hear from Joe and Kathy regularly and I never grow tired of hearing stories of “Bubba just being Bubba.” This sweet dog has transformed their lives. Now, when Joe awakes from night terrors, it is to the feeling of Bubba gently licking his neck. The two enjoy the companionship of playing catch from the couch and Bubba continues to embrace his role as a social butterfly as they walk around the neighborhood.
Joe has told me countless times of the joy that Bubba has brought to their lives. “Bubba is precious to us and we want him to know that he will always be in a loving home, no matter what he does.” And, I think it’s safe to say that they aren’t the only ones who found their perfect match – Bubba would agree.
Click here to learn more about our Veterans Programs and how a companion animal can help you live a happier and healthier life.