Puppy’s Affection Helps Adopter Get Back on the Open Road

With Charlie at His Side, Butch is Ready to Take on Anything!

Butch + Charlie

When Butch was suffering from depression, a chance meeting led him to a puppy he named Charlie Mike: “continue the mission.” Now the two are getting a second chance together.

"As I approached, the puppy seemed to speak to me with his eyes. He was calm and seemed to understand that I needed him as much as he needed me."

My furkid helps me stay alive. I’ve had dogs my entire life, and every furbaby enriched my life but none more than Chewy—and now, Charlie. I’ve battled PTSD since childhood, and was diagnosed in 2004. After my psychologist suggested adopting a dog, I adopted Chewy from a shelter on the morning he was to be euthanized. Two weeks later, I nearly succeeded in ending my life. While medication was likely the trigger, there were no warnings or indicators. Luckily Jo, my wife, left work a few hours early and found me unconscious and near death.

Charlie the dog on a motorcycle

Since then, my dogs have truly helped keep me alive. Both Chewy and I loved riding a motorcycle, and we rode over 102,000 miles together before he passed away in April 2017. Chewy was also part of a mission assisting and bringing awareness to the challenges faced by veterans, including carrying casualty rosters of soldiers from the Iraq/Afghanistan wars across the United States.

After Chewy passed, I slowly began to slip into depression. A non-profit organization offered me a PTSD service dog, but I declined. Then in January, while driving near Petco in Holly Springs, North Carolina, Jo saw a puppy from a distance. As we approached, a beautiful 8-week-old Australian Shepherd mix stared back at us. The puppy seemed to speak to me with his eyes. He was calm and seemed to understand that I needed him as much as he needed me. I knew he was the one.

Charlie the dog on a motorcycle

As Pawfect Match Rescue and Rehabilitation closed the event, Debbie asked me to name the puppy so he could learn it over the next ten days. “Charlie Mike” immediately came to mind, which means Continue the Mission. The mission is to serve God, assist veterans and raise awareness for the issues facing our veterans as they return home from military service.

Charlie the dog

Charlie is my first puppy. Ironically and appropriate for me, Charlie’s birth date is estimated to be around Veterans Day. He keeps me active, which helps me in my battle. With PTSD, I need a purpose, a companion, and someone who will be there. Charlie is active and intelligent, but failed the first class of obedience training five times because he was distracted by people. That failure demonstrates his greatest gift: his ability to connect. He loves people!

Charlie the dog on a motorcycle

In March, I introduced Charlie to motorcycling. Like his dog-brother before him, he loves to ride! Charlie has happily accepted the life-long role of keeping me alive and assisting others. He supports non-profit organizations and is part of a ministry, keeping me engaged with life and sharing a purpose together. In short, Charlie and I are a pawfect match!

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Butch won Pawfect Match Rescue and Rehabilitation in North Carolina a 2018 Holiday Wishes award.

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