This is my story of a Marine Staff Sergeant Stephen and his dog Max. The 2 pals started their trip in the middle of a drought in Texas and headed to sunny Florida. They drove 900 miles from San Antonio TX to Pensacola FL for Stephen to attend mandatory training. Once they arrived they were looking forward to settling in and taking a long walk to explore the area and stretch their legs.


Stephen had checked with the apt complex before leaving and was assured that their would be no problem having his dog stay with him. Once they arrived he went to talk to the complex manager and get his key and to his surprise was told that there were breed and weight restrictions! His best friend, a friendly, calm, well socialized, well trained 90lb Doberman would have to find another place to live. Stephen was 900 miles from his home, family and any resources that he might have been able to call on if the apartment complex had been honest with him in the beginning. Not having a local support system or a place to put his dog, Stephen found the closest kennel and Max had to spend his first night in Florida in a $45 a day crate.

Not knowing what to do Stephen was worried that he would have to put Max in a shelter because he could not afford $45 a day for a month much less for the whole 6 months.  Luckily this Marine had a smart phone that would allow him to search the internet and he came across the Guardian Angels for Soldiers Pet website.

At 8 pm on Thursday night I received an email asking for help. I quickly responded informing him that we needed an application before we could start looking. 10 minutes later I received a call saying that he had spent his day trying to get Max safe and his computer was still packed and his phone would not allow him to fill out the form. I took his information over the phone and filled out the application for him. I then made 2 calls. Both calls were to people that had fostered for us in the past.  The first had just adopted a 2nd dog and wasn’t sure they could handle a 3rd right now. They offered to watch him the for a couple of weeks so we could find something more permanent.  Not the best arrangement but at least it was a start.

The 2nd call was a to a foster who had just returned 2 of our foster dogs (after a year) to their soldier only a week before. She hesitated for only a second and decided to take in this displaced Dobbie.

So in the course of a day Max had traveled 900 miles thru 5 states, was homeless, kenneled, saved and placed in a wonderful home with a huge back yard, 3 cats to torment and 2 dog buddies to play with. Whew! I bet he was exhausted.

The foster emailed the next day and said Max was settling in fine and was having a great time romping thru the yard with one of the other dogs.  It always amazes me how many people are willing to step up when there is a last minute need. It’s a good warning to our soldiers to get promises in writing, double check regulations for breed restrictions and always have a back up plan!

– Written by Sarah James, National Coordination Director