Rescue Dog Rescues Veteran

A shelter dog gives back to a military veteran.

By Cari Jorgensen | Posted: November 11, 2014, 1:30 p.m. PST

Today is Veteran’s Day, a day we honor the men and women who served our country, be it years, months, weeks or even just days ago. Many of these veterans return from war needing a little rescuing from the pain and suffering of physical and/or emotional difficulties the experience left them with.

As dog lovers, we know that sometimes dogs are great rescuers.


Service Dog 

One such dog, a pit Bull Terrier mix, was found in a Los Angeles city shelter by Best Friends Animal Society, an animal welfare organization dedicated to the no-kill movement. It was soon discovered that Chata was a calm, sweet and loving dog – so much so that an adopter knew she would be great as a therapy dog for special needs children at the school where the adopter worked.

Chata soon became a certified therapy dog, thriving as she helped the children.

But as what sometimes happens with teachers, Chata’s adopter was transferred to a different school, one that didn’t allow pit bull terriers. Instead of leaving Chata alone all day, her adopter thought it best to bring her back to Best Friends Animal Society, where she could find a forever home that allowed her to continue to thrive in doing what she loved: helping others.

Just one week later, fate stepped in. Joseph Stanberry, a military veteran in need of emotion support, came in looking for a dog. Best Friends staff told him about Chata, but his heart was set on a Labrador retriever, like he had as a child. None he saw moved him the way his childhood pal had, so he welcomed an invitation with Chata.


Service Dog 

On that first meeting, Chata walked straight to Stanberry and sat down. He pet her and an instant bond was formed.

"I just felt like I couldn’t leave there without her,” Stanberry said, according to Best Friends.

They left together. Chata even got to take the service vest she had when she worked with special needs children.

Stanberry has since renamed her Summer and has enrolled her in a dogs and veterans training program. But she does so much for the young veteran just by being his dog. "She helps me with anxiety and depression,” he told Best Friends. "I’m also going to have her trained to help me hear [better] because I have a significant amount of hearing loss due to explosions and gunfire in the military.”


Service Dog 

Summer the rescue dog now goes almost everywhere with Stanberry, the veteran she rescued from the side effects of war.

All photos courtesy of Joseph Stanberry, via Best Friends Animal Society.

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