Tails from the Front Line

Official Blog of Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet


Military Support

A Homeless Veteran and His Best Friend Zeus

How many of you adore your dog and treat him as if he were your child? I know I do. I talk to him, I feed him, I walk him, I hug him and I generally spoil him rotten. In return he follows me wherever I go, he licks my face, sleeps next to me, protects me and loves me unconditionally.
Now imagine that you have to decide whether to give your dog up or become homeless to keep him? How many of you would choose homelessness?

Zeus vet story 4

For veteran Airman, Clarence, the answer was clear. Go homeless. He would not leave Zeus behind no matter what. “We’d been together for 8 or 9 years and basically he’s the only friend I got.”

Clarence had fallen on hard times after being injured on the job as a corrections officer. “I got injured in Lebanon prison. I was a CO (corrections officer) up there for a couple of years and I got into a fight in a phone booth with an inmate. And what happened when I came out? I got two vertebrae’s touching a nerve and I got another chipped vertebrae.”

Despite being unable to return to work Clarence was denied disability. “If I get in an accident or if I slip and fall I could be paralyzed for the rest of my life.”

After losing most of his income Clarence moved in with his sister for a short time, but she wasn’t allowed to have dogs in her apartment so he eventually got kicked out. “We stayed down the street in an open field in a tent for a couple of days.”

Clarence had been working with Gentry, a case worker with the Veteran’s Affairs office so he gave him a call. “I told him what was going on and he hooked me up with you and Martha and a few other people. And we put him (Zeus) in a kennel for a while.”

It was Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet© (GAfSP) that had put Zeus up in the kennel until they could find a foster home for Zeus. While he was there, GAfSP paid not only for the boarding fee but they also paid for Zeus to be neutered and to have a microchip.

Victoria S., the Northeast Regional Director, put Jamie M., the Pennsylvania Foster Coordination Liaison in charge of finding Zeus a foster home. According to Jamie, “It was fairly urgent that we got him (Zeus) out of there just for the cost and for Zeus’s well-being. Unfortunately Clarence thought Zeus needed to be an only pet so that limited our search. It was even harder in that a lot of people shy away from Akitas.”

And so the search began. “So I called I think every single person in the Ohio workbook. I reached out to VA’s I reached out to VFW’s American Legion, you know, all types of veteran organizations in Ohio. I sent out flyers.” Jamie got a couple of responses but each family already had other pets. “I opened up the search to Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey and I thought that if we found the perfect place we’d figure out how to get Zeus to his home.”

According to Jamie, “It wasn’t just me. I had an army of people.” Some of those most involved include Liz D., the New York Foster Coordination Liaison, Victoria S., the Northeast Regional Director, Jamie even recruited her mom and dad into helping.

Putting the word out finally paid off when a friend of Jamie’s recommended a friend of his who was a veteran himself who loved dogs. Thinking this was the ideal solution Jaime sent her husband, David, to Dayton, Ohio, to pick up Zeus while she went to do a home visit. What she discovered was shocking. “It turned out that he was a hoarder and there was not even one path through his rooms, he lived alone and things just unfortunately got out of hand. So I was panicking. I would not leave my dog there; it was dangerous. It was dangerous even for him (the hoarder) and I didn’t feel comfortable.”

Meanwhile David was almost to Columbus and thankfully Jamie’s father lived there so David was able to put his trip on hold and stay the night in Columbus. Once again Jamie was in a panic. “I called everybody I knew, every single dog person I knew…got the word out there because we needed a home right away.” Luckily Jamie found a woman in New Jersey who had just signed up to be a foster and although she wasn’t 100% comfortable at first knowing that Zeus was such a large dog, she finally came around when Jamie explained that Zeus was an older dog and he was a big teddy bear and a couch potato. For the first time in a long time Jamie was finally able to sleep easy without worrying about where Zeus would go.

photo 2
Clarence, Zeus and David

“So I called my husband and said instead of coming back home with him you’re going to Cape May, New Jersey with Zeus. He said yup that’s fine.” About an hour later disaster would strike once again. “Like an hour later I get a call from the woman in Cape May in tears.” It turns out she lives in a community where they can’t have dogs that weigh over 50 pounds. “So at that point we’re back to square one and Zeus is in the truck.”
Jamie immediately began calling more people in her Pennsylvania workbook including calling people that had pets. With little hope of finding a home that would work, Jamie made one more call to a woman named Martha. “She’s a brilliant doctor that does a lot of volunteering with different humane societies and her local shelters. She has horses and goats and dogs and cats and I said no way it’s gonna work there and she said yea drop him off it’s fine. She (Martha) just stepped up, like there was no thought involved. I told her this whole desperate story and she was like yea drop him off, no big deal. Like “well” you don’t understand he’s an Akita. Yea that’s fine. You don’t understand he’s 8 and he doesn’t get along with anybody. Yup that’ll work.” So once again Jamie called her husband and had him change directions. He was now headed away from New Jersey and toward Pennsylvania.

Zeus finally arrived at his new foster home and the big test was going to be seeing how he would get along with all of the various animals that lived on Martha’s farm. As Martha so eloquently put it, “I knew it was a big risk because I didn’t know anything about this dog because he’s big and potentially he could have eaten me and eaten everybody else here but he was a lovely dog.” (I have to say I was relieved to hear that Zeus didn’t eat anybody or any of the animals at Martha’s farm!)

Back in Dayton, Clarence tried not to worry about Zeus as he moved into transitional housing at Volunteers of America. He was working at Kroger as a greeter and saving up money so that he could get back into an apartment or house where he could keep Zeus. He would periodically make calls to Martha to check on Zeus and they would exchange emails, but he said it was emotionally difficult to have Zeus so far away.

But despite missing Zeus, Clarence needn’t have worried about Zeus’s care. Martha was making sure that all of his veterinary needs were taken care of and he had plenty of pals to play with. “He (Zeus) and the goat and sheep played a lot. The sheep and goat would chase him and then he’d chase them.” Zeus was also a gentleman when it came to the chickens, horses, cats and other dogs. According to Martha, “He was probably the best trained dog that I’ve ever had. So even though he was huge he was very nice which made it much easier.”

Jamie also stayed in contact with Martha and made sure to send her heart-worm and any other supplies she needed.

Zeus vet story
Gentry, Clarence and David at the Volunteers of America

What was originally supposed to be a 4 month stay turned into 10 months. But eventually the day came to take Zeus back home and Jamie was determined to get him there. “So finally when he got an apartment, I thought, whatever we need to do to get Zeus back home let’s do it and Martha’s like I’ll drive him out, no big deal. And she did. She drove him 5 hours one way and met him, did the whole reunion thing, drove back all in one day. She is awesome.”

Martha told me that she wanted to drive Zeus home. She wanted to meet Clarence and let him know about some health issues that he (Zeus) developed and make sure he had food and any other items he might need.

When she arrived she said, “I was like totally excited and just almost in tears when I saw he had a lovely quiet little cottage with a little nice yard around it and trees and, oh my gosh, Clarence is a wonderful man, beautiful man.”

When Zeus got out of the car Martha said, “He just jumped on Clarence’s shoulders, put his paws up there and danced around at his feet!” After that she jokingly said he was so excited he had to stop and do his business! Clarence described his reunion like this. “I thought it was great! A week later I became a granddad for the first time and it’s kind of like the same experience.”

Martha and Clarence both experienced something special from this arrangement. Clarence said of Martha, “Can’t ask for a better friend and I just don’t really know why people do things for you like that; it’s just amazing.”

But Martha shared a mutual respect for Clarence. “He’s a real gentleman, nice guy, and I really was just amazed and thankful that everything’s gonna…I think he’ll be okay.”

As for Jamie, she still keeps in touch with Clarence to make sure he’s doing well. She has even helped Clarence with some vet bills for Zeus when he didn’t have the money because he’d just paid his rent. She told Clarence, “I don’t want you to have to worry about giving him up again because of some silly $200.00 thing.” She added, “It’s Clarence’s dog, he’s had him since he was a puppy. They need each other at this point.”

Clarence says he will be forever grateful to Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, Martha and Jamie. “It kept me from losing him (Zeus) and we reunited and I’m passing the word on to other people at the VA.”

I would like to personally congratulate Jamie, her husband David, Victoria, Liz and all of those who assisted Jamie in getting the word out, Martha and Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet for a job well done and giving Airman Clarence and Zeus their happily ever after!
And to Clarence, God bless you for serving our great country!


Article Written by Laurie Sickles

Foster Coordination Liaison Volunteer Recruiting Need

We are looking for individuals who wish to become part of the Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet mission as a Foster Coordination Liaison (FCL) involved with working with our service members, wounded warriors, veterans, and families of our fallen warriors who need assistance via our MVP Foster Home program, which also includes vetting and interacting with those individuals and families who have registered as potential foster homes through our organization.

Primarily at this time we are looking for FCLs to cover the states of AR/OK, AZ, CO, LA, MN, MO, NV, AL/GA, NC/SC, TN, VA/WV, MD/DC, and TX.

This is a virtual volunteer role where your efforts can be accomplished via the phone and Internet (emails) and includes the following criteria:

  • A passion to help our military service members, wounded warriors, veterans, and families of our fallen warriors.
  • Interact and maintain communication with our registered potential foster homes, plus work with others (inside and outside the organization) as required
  • Be a self-starter, has excellent organizational, interpersonal, and management skills, plus able to work independently and as a “team” player.
  • Understand and agree to follow and adhere to the Organization’s mission, purpose, operating procedures, and organizational policies/guidelines.
  • Comfortable using and access to MS office (such as Word, Excel), communicate via the internet, phone calls, and email.
  • Previous customer service, volunteer nonprofit managerial and animal related coordination/placement experience helpful
  • Help promote the organization, it’s mission, and programs with others via sharing our flyers, brochures, and other items as requested by the organization’s National office.
  • Able to commit at least 1 year in this position
  • Provide the required monthly reports (coordination activity and volunteer service hours) by the date as determined by the organization’s National office.
  • Estimated Volunteer Time per Month: averaging 25-30 hours – Please be advised actual hours per month is variable on a state by state basis.

Those interested in learning more about the volunteer positions or to apply, visit HERE.

Get Cute for a Cause with Mary Kay

“What should I get my wife/girlfriend/mom/sister/grandma/friend for the holidays?”
“This cold winter air is making my skin so dry, what can I do?”
“I have a fabulous holiday party coming up, help me look fabulous!”
“What color of eye shadow goes perfect with my ugly Christmas sweater?”

The holiday season is here! And some of us (ok, most of us) could use some help, either with gift ideas or tips on how to look our best. Lucky for us, our friend at Mary Kay, Tina, has graciously offered her assistance and will donate 25% of the proceeds to Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet!

Feel free to contact Tina at with any questions about products or if you need help picking out the perfect gift.  It is easy to make a confident purchase when Mary Kay offers a 100% refund if you are not happy with your purchase.

It’s easy and fun to shop and help Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet:

  1. Visit to browse the fantastic options on the Mary Kay website
  2. When you check out, add “Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet” in the comment field
  3. Your products will be shipped directly to you for the low price of $5.75 per order
  4. Shop soon!  The party will run until December 8th

Thanks so much for your continued support and have a great holiday!

Flyer: Get Cute for a Cause with Mary Kay



Barry Robinson Center Fundraiser Benefits Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet

Sincere thanks to The Barry Robinson Center in Norfolk, VA for their efforts in supporting our mission this past Thursday and Friday.  During their 2 day “Forward March” conference in Fayetteville, NC they held an hourly drawing where the winner could select one of the listed military family based charities which included Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet.  Each charity chosen from the list receives $50 when chosen. Last word yesterday from Dr. Brooks was that we had been chosen several times and monies would be sent to our national office next month.
100% of the monies received will be allocated to our “Military Pet Assistance” (MPA) fund program.  For more information on MPA, please visit
The  MPA funds are primarily used in support of our Homeless Veterans’ beloved pets who need veterinarian care (including, but not limited to, being spayed/neutered, brought current on shots, Heartworm tested (negative results), and being micro-chipped, plus 6 months of  Heartworm/Flea/Tick meds) plus sometimes temporary boarding of the pet or pets while the appropriate Foster Coordination Liaison (FCL) volunteer can determine a potential foster home(s) for the pet  or pets and both parties are in agreement (pet owner comfortable leaving their pets with a specific foster home and the foster home feels comfortable foster the specific pet or  pets).  Thus far in 2014 we have disbursed $4,500 covering such items as temporary boarding, needed veterinarian care, and grooming related expenses.  The funds are disbursed directly to the service provider, no funds are  disbursed directly to  our clients.
The Barry Robinson Center has been in existence for 81 years and is a nonprofit children’s charitable foundation which operates a treatment center for children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders including children from military families.  Last year instead of giving out coffee mugs at their conferences they concentrated their efforts on raising money for military family support organizations.  As they began this year’s conference, Dr. Brooks came across our organization, spoke with the center’s director about us and after legal verification, Dr. Brooks added our organization to their list of charities.
We are extremely grateful to The Barry Robinson Center for their help and support.

Ohio Foster Home Needed for Beloved Akita

We need your help!  We are looking for a potential Foster Home (Guardian Angel) in or around Dayton, Ohio familiar/experienced with the Akita breed.  We have a beloved Akita furbaby of a homeless veteran in need of a temporary and loving foster home to care for him while his owner is getting a “hand up” from a VA approved “Homeless Transition” program.  Furbaby is approximately 8 years old and 100 lbs, neutered, current on shots, house trained, crate trained and would do best in a foster home without other animals. As a senior, he is a bit set in his ways but loves people and older children per his owner.

If you would like to apply to be this beloved furbaby’s Guardian Angel, please visit our website (, click “Get Involved”, then “Become a Foster Home” to learn more about being a potential foster home and submit required information via our secured online Potential Foster Home submission form.  Please add “Zeus/Dayton” following your last name.

Please help us assist this homeless veteran and his beloved furbaby.  It will be greatly appreciated and you will be making a huge difference in a veteran’s life.

Thanks for your consideration!

Brownies and cookies and chocolates, oh my!

It’s summertime!  The days are long and hot and packed with barbeques, birthday parties, family reunions and picnics.  Instead of slaving over a hot stove or wasting time making another batch of potato salad, order some delicious treats and help Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet at the same time!

Cookies for a Cause KY is a dessert shop offering delectable delights to satisfy every sweet tooth and graciously donates 25% of EVERY sale to a US Military charity.  They offer so many delicious treats including brownies, cookies, muffins, chocolates and much, much more!  They only use fresh, in-season fruit (never frozen or canned) and many of their products can even be ordered gluten-free, dairy-free or sugar-free.  My sweet tooth was especially drawn to the donut muffins, berry heaven brownies, and almond chocolate bites.   Yum!    Is your mouth watering yet?!  What a fabulous way to enjoy some delicious, homemade desserts and help our soldiers and their beloved pets at the same time. 

Order now at and add Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet as your designated charity.  

Thank you for your continued support!

Warriors’ Angels Training Facility Fundraiser

Between between May 1st  and July 4th in honor of Military Appreciation Month (May 2014), Flag Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day we have a goal to raise $65,000 to cover the material costs as defined below for the Warriors’ Angels (WA) Training Facility. Besides submitting Grants to various entities during the month of May we are asking for your help.

Full details about the Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet “Warriors’ Angels” program are available here.

Four (4) participation levels of recognition have been set up as follows:

  • Platinum: $1,000+
  • Gold: $500 to $999
  • Silver: $100 to $499
  • Patriot: $10 to $99

Contributions for this project may be made on-line via PayPal using this link here or via check/money order payable to Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet (memo line: WA Training Facility) and mail to:

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet
9725 FM 1783
Gatesville TX 76528-4739

Each level will be recognized via a “Certificate of Appreciation” for their support, wall plaques placed in the training facility building recognizing the WA Training Facility Contributors, and other tokens of appreciation will be determined and posted on the program’s web page. The threefold purpose of this project is to establish an official Warriors’ Angels Training Facility where we will be able to: (1) actually train the WA Teams for the Central TX area; (2) hold educational meetings involving the general public including local businesses about who these teams are and about PTSD and (3) have “Train the Trainer” type classes for program volunteer WA trainers where needed or qualified dog training professional who would like to join the program as a training service provider.

In addition to plans for implementing the Warriors’ Angels (WA) program in the San Antonio area prior to end of 2nd Quarter 2014, we are also in the planning stage of expanding the program to the Central TX area which includes but not limited to the areas of Austin, Fort Hood, Killeen, Temple, and Waco. With implementing in the Central TX area we will also be establishing an official “Warriors’ Angels Training Facility” building on the organization’s property in Coryell Counter (south of Gatesville off FM 116 and approximately 14 miles west of Fort Hood).

The 30’ x 42’ steel building materials are being obtained from Armstrong Steel Corp whereas the other items for the building to be totally operational will be obtained from local businesses including Tractor Supply, Lowes, Home Depot, and Habitat for Humanity in Killeen TX. Besides the actual training facility additional expenses include extending the utilities (water, electric) to the facility, installing a septic tank, having an inside “storm shelter” in the case of a major storm/tornado hitting the Coryell County area, extending the property road access to the facility, outside fenced in training area, installing a privacy fence at the back of the property where the facility will be, appropriate landscaping, and setting up Solar Power to help with the electricity expense.

The total anticipated amount of materials and areas defined above for this project is estimated at $65,000 which does not include any labor costs as we anticipate this project will be completed by volunteers (civilians, military, and veterans) including professionals such licensed electricians.

For questions or parties in and around Central TX who may be interested in being part of the WA Training Facility “Project Committee” or a volunteer for this project, may contact Linda Spurlin-Dominik, WA Project Director either via email ( or by phone (254-248-1818).

Warriors’ Angels program was developed in support of our service members and veterans who have been medically diagnosed with PTSD and their Primary Care Manager has determined that a specially trained “Assistance Service Canine” would help improve the handler’s quality of life.

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet© is a national all-volunteer 501(c)3 Military and Veteran Support Organization assisting active duty service members, wounded warriors, and veterans with their beloved companion animals or assistance service canines through various assistance programs.

Learn more at our website

We Need Your Help: Military Pet Assistance Fund

Please share this with your family, friends, co-workers, and any one else you feel would be interested in helping.

Due to helping our homeless veterans with their pets related to veterinary care (spay/neuter, bring shots current, and micro-chipping) plus temporary boarding (foster care needed before we can get pet into a specific registered foster home in our network) up to 14 days, we need your help to replenish the “Military Pet Assistance” (MPA).

Since January 1, 2014 we have helped our service members and veterans with beloved pets through the fund in the amount of $1,852.14 involving both veterinary care and temp boarding for 4 beloved pets. Average expenditures per a Homeless veteran’s pet is $1,000 (minimum $400-$500 for vet care and minimum of $500-$600 for temp boarding).

Our goal between May 1, 2014 and June 14, 2014 is to raise $3,000 for the MPA fund.

As more of our Homeless veterans seek a hand up via a VA and/or VA approved “Homeless Transition” program, our ability to assist them with their pets involving veterinary care and temp boarding increases and we can only help them with your help.

As of April 28, 2014, we have received calls from VA case workers in the states of CO, CA, VA, and MD with Homeless Veteran cases where the veteran has a 1-2 pets needing our assistance via the both our Foster Home and MPA Fund programs over during the month of May while they are receiving a “hand up” via Homeless Transition programs across the country. Please note these expenditures are paid directly to a service provider providing vet care and boarding services. We do not nor are able to send these funds directly to a service member or veteran at any time.

For those able to help replenish the MPA fund, contributions can be made as follows:

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet MPA fund 9725 FM 1783 Gatesville, TX 76528-4931

Thank you for your assistance and support!

Founder of Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet Wins Home Instead Senior Care’s Salute to Senior Service for the Temple, TX Region

Founder of Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet Wins Home Instead Senior Care’s Salute to Senior Service for the Temple, TX Region


Ms. Linda Spurlin-Dominik
Ms. Linda Spurlin-Dominik

Gatesville, TX, April 14, 2014 – Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet© is pleased to announce that Ms. Linda Spurlin-Dominik, Founder and CEO, has won the Home Instead Senior Care’s Salute to Senior Service Award for the Temple, TX Region. The award is in recognition of her outstanding volunteer service. The Salute to Senior Service program, in its third year, recognizes the contributions of adults age 65 years and older who give at least 15 hours a month of volunteer service to their favorite causes. Ms. Spurlin-Dominik spends over 40 hours per week volunteering for Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet.

Ms. Spurlin-Dominik has a long list of volunteer hours with military support organizations, but it has been her dedication, passion and continued leadership of the organization that helped her win this award.

“She not only had the vision to create the organization, but also the daily passion to handle the day-to-day operations, develop new programs, wear multiple hats and guide the organization as we enter into the tenth year of service. Her daily dedication and passion for helping our military, veterans and wounded warriors is very evident from the moment you start talking to her,” said Jessica Semon, Board President and the individual who nominated Ms. Spurlin-Dominik. “She does all of this with a smile on her face, a passion in her voice, and a deep dedication to give back to our military.”

Ms. Linda Spurlin-Domink and Ms. Brandy Firebaugh
Ms. Linda Spurlin-Dominik and Ms. Brandy Firebaugh

The award ceremony took place on April 9, 2014 at 2:00 pm, at Sammons Community Center in Temple, TX.  Ms. Spurlin-Dominik was presented with a donation from Home Instead for the organization along with red roses and a certificate that read:

Home Instead Senior Care
Salute to Senior Service
Congratulations to

Linda Spurlin-Dominik

for outstanding commitment to Volunteerism in Central Texas.
Your contributions and service have made your community a better place.
Brandy Firebaugh
Franchise Owner
Judy Grayson (Garden Estates ALC), Brandy Firebaugh (HISC), Linda Spurlin-Dominik (Local Winner), Karen Handley (Hospice Compassus), Sonja Chupik (Seton Hospital), and Marie O’Neal (Cornerstone Garden Nursing & Rehab)
Judy Grayson (Garden Estates ALC), Brandy Firebaugh (HISC), Linda Spurlin-Dominik (Local Winner), Karen Handley (Hospice Compassus), Sonja Chupik (Seton Hospital), and Marie O’Neal (Cornerstone Garden Nursing & Rehab)

Not only was Ms. Spurlin-Dominik honored for her charity work, but also for her life and dedication to the community. She was presented with gifts baskets from:

  • Cornerstone Garden Nursing & Rehab
  • Garden Estates ALC
  • Hospice Compassus
  • Marcie Conde Encompass Home Health and Rose Conde Professional Medical
  • Seton Hospital

Attending the ceremony with Ms. Spurlin-Dominik, were Cacharina “Katt” Perry, Operations Leader, Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet and member of the Texas National Guard; Angelica Emma, Daughter of MAJ Nancy Emma whose pet Snowball was our first resident of our MVP Sanctuary – Texas; Lynn Dryer, Angelica Emma, friend of MAJ Nancy Emma.

On behalf of everyone at Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, we are extremely happy for Linda and believe that the award is 120% deserving for her passion, dedication, and leadership to a completely ALL Volunteer organization.

About Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet©:

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet is a national all-volunteer 501(c)3 Military and Veteran Support Organization assisting active duty service members, wounded warriors, veterans, and their beloved companion animals or assistance service canines through various assistance programs.  These programs include: the Military and Veteran Pet Foster Home Program, Military Pet Assistance fund, and the Warriors’ Angels Program (TX only). Unless stated otherwise programs are available in all 50 states and all Branches of Service including National Guard and Reserves.  Learn more at and follow our story on our blog,  Also check out our affiliate organization, the MVP Sanctuary – Texas at

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