When Staff Sergeant Stone met Carl, it was love at first sight.
Bobby Stone, a veteran of four Iraq tours, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. While still in Afghanistan, he contacted Pets for Vets—a program dedicated to providing a second chance for shelter pets by rescuing, training and pairing them with America’s veterans, who could benefit from having a companion animal.
Pets for Vets paired Stone with Carl—Patch's Jul. 12, 2010 . The 3-year-old Pitt Bull had spent months at the and was close to being euthanized when Canine Adoption and Rescue League (C.A.R.L.), a non-profit animal rescue group, stepped in to save him.
Thanks to long-time shelter volunteers Jan Owen and Stacy Brody, I met Carl at an adoption event where even in the melee of throngs of dogs and people, he maintained his quiet, stoic composure. He looked at me with deep soulful eyes that reflected an old spirit, and I knew he was a perfect fit for Stone.
"I can see now the deep soulful eyes that he has, and in a huge way, I can relate to the hurt and heartache that he has experienced throughout his life as I go through that a lot with all the battles that still go on with me," Stone said.
"We as service members make a lot of sacrifices every day to be away from our families for months at a time," he said. "For a few of us that come back to an empty house and a lonely couch, this is just the thing that we need—someone to talk with, who doesn't care when you cry from the memories of lost friends and other thoughts that rage in our mind."
Walking around his neighborhood with Carl by his side was the first time Stone said he did not feel threatened or uncomfortable since returning from Afghanistan.
"It puts me at ease knowing that he is here with me," Stone said, "comfortable and happy and knowing that the both of us have nothing to worry about as long as we are together."