I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while. Many of you helped in the search for a home for Gizmo so you ought to know the outcome. Sadly, the veteran died before a home was found for his beloved Gizmo but I know he knew how much interest there was in Gizmo. Hopefully he passed with the knowledge that Gizmo would be placed suitably. What are the odds that another veteran who had just lost his dog ALSO named Gizmo would hear of this story and step up? I’m not an oddsmaker but as detailed below, this is exactly what happened.
Again, thank you to all that helped in the quest to find a home for Gizmo. Thanks to Pets for Patriots for all you do. Thanks to Mr. and Mr. Peterman for taking Gizmo. Thanks to social media for getting this story far and wide and a special thanks for my friend Michelle who not only brought this to my attention but went the extra mile in her efforts to help “Mr. Smith”. May he rest in peace and may Gizmo live a long and happy dog’s life!
Jul 05, 2011
By Beth Zimmerman, Pets for Patriots
A few weeks ago we were asked to help an elderly, dying Korean War veteran find a home for his dog, Gizmo. In spite of our efforts and those of many people across the country, this hero died before his wish could be fulfilled. But fate was about to play an unlikely hand in the tale of Gizmo, a pint–sized Shih Tzu with a Great Dane–sized spirit and a love for life.
Word spread like wildfire, fueled by the urgency of the veteran’s grave condition and the prospect of his pooch being suddenly without a home or anyone to care for him. Scores of people from across the country offered to give Gizmo a new life, each with a compelling story of their own. One was the daughter of another San Diego area veteran, whose appeal was so personal and touching — and so perfect — that we had a feeling that this was “it.”
We forwarded the information to Nick Winfrey at Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas, as we did with all potential adopters who contacted us. Nick is a Marine veteran who now dedicates himself to helping the countless homeless dogs and cats that find their way to Rancho Coastal; the organization is one of our charity’s outstanding shelter partners in California. Nick and I spoke about this one, very special adoption candidate. He agreed; this definitely felt like “the one.”
The woman who wrote to us is the daughter of Lyman “Tim” Peterman, a WWII veteran who will be 90 years young this month. Earlier in June, Tim lost his 15 year-old Shih Tzu dog whose name happened to be — Gizmo! Tim took daily walks with his Gizmo, and was completely bereft when the dog died after a long illness.
We wondered: was it possible that one veteran — who died, leaving his Gizmo unexpectedly homeless — could give renewed purpose to another veteran whose own Gizmo had just died?
Tim applied and was accepted as a member Patriot of our program, which entitles him to ongoing, reduced cost veterinary care and other benefits, such as direct financial support to make pet food and other basics more affordable. At nearly 90, Tim is the most senior member of our program, besting an 88 year-old Marine veteran who lives in Florida with her honorably adopted dog, Laddie. We’re proud to bring the unconditional love and joy of companion pet ownership to veterans and service members of any age, from all armed forces and from any stage of their military lives.
On June 30, Tim went to Rancho Coastal Humane Society, with his wife and daughter by his side, and honorably adopted his new Gizmo as three network television stations filmed the event. He met Chyba, a retired military K9 whose likeness graces Rancho Coastal’s Military Working Dog memorial — the first in San Diego and the only private such memorial west of the Mississippi. Speaking as one veteran to another, Tim thanked Chyba for her service.
And if all of this seems like just a sweet little pet tale, think again. Tim told his crowd of newfound admirers that this was the happiest day of his life since he was serving in the Army in Berlin, and the town crier announced that the war was over. We hear there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Today, a veteran is smiling from his heavenly perch, at peace in the knowledge that his beloved little Gizmo is bringing joy to a brother in arms.
About Pets for Patriots
Pets for Patriots, Inc., is a registered 501(c)(3) charity that helps service and veteran members of the United States military honorably adopt adult and at-risk shelter pets. Its mission is to consistently give the gifts of fidelity, joy and companionship to both pet and person. Pets for Patriots is one of the only organizations in the country dedicated to both homeless pets and military personnel at any stage of their careers and from all armed forces. The charity is a proud member of the Army AW2 Wounded Warrior Program national community support network, a national partner of the Real Warriors Campaign and is listed by the National Resource Directory for ill and wounded veterans. Visit Pets for Patriots online today and Be A Pet’s Hero(TM).
©2011 Pets for Patriots, Inc. All rights reserved.
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