Skip to comments.Marine returns, reunites with pup
Posted on 09/14/2008 8:39:35 AM PDT by KeyLargo
A Marine who dropped off his German shepherd at PAWS when he was deployed in February has been reunited with his dog.
Marine returns, reunites with pup
September 14, 2008
BY DONNA VICKROY, Staff Writer
Call it fate. Call it destiny. Call it, simply, a happy ending.
On a cold day this past February, a young Marine said farewell to his best friend, knowing he might never see him again.
Bound for a second tour of duty in Iraq, the Marine had no one to care for his German shepherd pup. His family was scattered across the country and the relative he was living with locally preferred not to keep the animal. So the Marine relinquished his pet to the Peoples Animal Welfare Society in Tinley Park.
"It was such a sad day," said PAWS director Larry Menconi. "Here was this tough Marine fighting back tears. This dog was his family. He slept with him every night."
The Marine asked that the SouthtownStar not publicly identify him because he's pursuing special ops training with federal law enforcement. He left the dog with shelter volunteers, hoping Ryno would be taken in by another family.
German shepherds, Menconi said, are popular. And Ryno, he said, was a perfect-looking German shepherd.
"He had the tan body, long legs, the black saddle. He was a good-looking dog," Menconi said.
PAWS volunteers fully expected him to be adopted in no time. He was a sharp, friendly dog, who liked to pal around with the pit bulls. But month after month passed, with prospect after prospect passing Ryno by.
"Every time we got close to adopting him out, the person would decide no," Menconi said.
In March, the SouthtownStar featured a photo of Ryno on its front page under the headline "What About Me?" The story encouraged readers to consider adopting one of the many cats and dogs housed at area shelters.
Ryno, it turns out, was too high energy for most would-be adoptive families.
"It broke our hearts," Menconi said. "All of the volunteers bonded with Ryno. Yet we couldn't convince anyone that he was a loving, loyal pet."
Their disappointment turned to wonder a few weeks back when the young Marine again called the shelter, wanting to know how his dog had fared, where the animal had ended up. Upon hearing Ryno was still at the Tinley Park facility, he told them that as soon as the military discharged him, he was coming to get his friend.
When word came Sept. 4 that the Marine would be by the next day to reclaim Ryno, now a 11/2-year-old dog, volunteers made plans to greet the young man with fanfare. They made signs and hung American flags and other decorations.
On that recent Friday, more than 15 volunteers gathered to greet Ryno's owner on the parking lot.
"Ryno was just laying on the ground by the bench outside," said Menconi, "when all of a sudden, he jumped up, looked, did a double-take and then - wham! - he just ran to him.
"It was just a beautiful sight," he said. "There wasn't a dry eye in the place, except, of course, on the face of the Marine."
Ryno ran halfway across the parking lot, jumped up on his owner and put his front paws on the man's shoulders, Menconi said.
The Marine "just rubbed and patted and rubbed that dog," Menconi said.
"I've seen a lot of dog-owner reunions in my day, but this was just tremendous.
"We all walked out of there that day feeling really good."
Volunteer Lisa Gress said the moment made up for all the tough times animal workers can experience.
"Every scratch, every bite, every unhappy person - that reunion made it all worth it," she said.
Karen Schutt, the board's first vice president, and the other volunteers wonder if there wasn't a larger force at work.
"It's just amazing," she said. "Like this was meant to be."
The shelter did not charge the Marine for any of Ryno's care. Instead, they sent him off with bags of food, toys and a carrier he could use to move the dog to his next assignment across the country.
Donna Vickroy can be reached at email@example.com or (708) 633-5982.
This needs a “Pass the Kleenex” alert.
I’m crying just as I read this wonderful story.
It's almost like it was meant to be somehow, maybe.
Kudos to that PAWS group and workers.
(( ping ))
“Like this was meant to be.”
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. What a wonderful story.
My son came up with the idea of an organization that would take care of pets that belong to our deployed service men and women.....not sure how to do that but it would be a great idea.....
I am glad there was a happy ending to this story....personally I think the dog was passed over for adoption because he was supposed to be with this Marine.....I call it a God moment....
Semper fidelis ping
I hope so, stopped short of calling it a miracle myself because I'll never forget the people who lost their pets in Katrina, especially that little boy and his dog, Snowball, at that bus. Story broke my heart, and I will never forget it. Now people who have lost their homes are turning their pets into shelters.
Your son sounds like a wonderful, compassionate person, and I think it would be a good idea, too, would be willing to support such an organization. If I weren't getting old, I'd be willing to take in a pet for our troops. I couldn't handle a big dog like that especially if it is hyper. That wears off in time, and the dog will settle down now that it's reunited with its owner. It could have been the hyperactivity was a form of acting out, such as people do. Pets do engage in aberrant behavior sometimes when they feel insecure.
Me too. I love stories like these.
Thank you so much.....
Damn, tears from the story mixed with season allergies are making my eyes and nose a mess. God bless this shelter for their love and care for the pup. And, God bless our brave soldier.
I took in a stray cat when I didn't want any more, just felt so sorry for him when one winter came on; he's sleeping behind me now, follows me all over the house. My last cat died not too long ago, and he still acts like she is waiting to ambush him, and he could have cleaned her clock. I'm just not in a position to take in any more pets with my uncertain health, but I certainly would if I were younger.
It's a worry at my age what will become of any more if something were to happen to me. That's why I didn't want any more but couldn't help myself, and do worry about that a lot now.
It's sad, but I can't take any more in. The cat I have doesn't trust anybody but me, my granddaughter a little when he's inside, and introducing any more into the house might cause him to run away because I let him go out at night because that's what he's used to, and I don't want him to feel trapped. My other cats I kept inside all the time after we lost a few years ago to traffic and whatever. I had to say no when my granddaughter asked me to keep her two cats for an indefinite period. It's not about money except for vet bills which can go sky high. I'd have been perfectly willing to buy all their food.
I do hope there are people more able to do it. Maybe I should contribute to that organization which is better than doing nothing.
There are more like that on the ‘net but that’s the first one that came up.
Googling ‘foster military pets’ will get you more national and local organizations and efforts.
A simple but easy thing is to put up posters near military bases offering yourself or whatever private fostering group you might form.
Couldn’t hurt to ask local boarding kennels for “donations” of kennel space.
Considering the loyalty that the pets show our soldiers, who in turn, show their loyalty to us and our country, it’s a sin that *any* of them should have to give up their pets.
The government blows so much money on other useless “programs” yet they can’t spare the money for military pets?
I rather see my tax dollars going to this noble and legitamate cause than buying some welfare queen a new Lexus.
You have to know and admit your limits.
There is no shame in that.
For many years I went around and brought home all the throwaway Dobermans from the shelters and “free dog” postings on grocery store bulletin boards.
I didn’t mind that I was a clearing house/rehab center for them...I loved it.
I loved finding them new, *good* homes.
But, when the ex left me stranded with $400 a month to live on, times got really hard and I had to stop.
I paid for their food first, my light bill next, car expenses third and if any money was left, I ate.
The dogs looked great but I nearly starved to death, literally.
I hated having to stop saving them but I did...what good was I to them if I dropped dead from malnutrition?
Things are *much* better now thanks to a new, kind, generous hubby and I have 5 Ibizans who all came from the same hideous place.
I recently held a benefit auction for 2 other “stunted” Ibizans in a shelter on the west coaast and am awaiting them being medically cleared for flights to their new homes.
[one of them is coming here]
If it were possible, I would save *everything* but years ago
I realized that regardless of my will and desire to do so, it is simply not possible.
You save what you can.
A good and faithful friend sent me this when I was grieving that I was only one person against so much suffering:
Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day he was walking along the shore.
As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer he called out, “Good morning What are you doing?”
The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish in the ocean.”
“I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?”
“The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”
“But, young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said,
“It made a difference for that one.”
That's how I look at it and still grieve over a dog I took to the pound because I didn't want her, she had hemorrhoids or was in heat or something. On the way to the shelter, she laid her head in my lap as I was driving. They put her in a cage, and I looked at her. She was shaking in terrible fright, and the look in her eyes like "how could you do this to me?" I can never shake it.
There was a stray cat across the street who got her shoulder broken in the winter when she had climbed on the engine block to get warm. I took her to the vet, and they wanted way more than I could afford. I had a full-time job, and they suggested I drive her many, many miles to Ames where they might save her for free. My dad kind of put his foot down, and he was sympathetic towards animals, just more practical, so I had to have her euthanized. And pay for it. It didn't occur to me to try to find someone to help because so few ever offered to help me in my trials; I had no faith in people. Just God. I will always believe that God got me through those awful years.
I was never blessed to find the right man. It breaks my heart that I have a farm and can't live on it. I could have cared for a lot more then. The tenants, a third cousin, like cats and have at least 30 or more. He does give them distemper shots and feed them well, but they should be spayed or neutered.
I was thinking years ago about the farm as a refuge for people, not animals, and could never work it out in my head. It was idealistic and not practical the way I know people are now. I have helped too many people who have taken advantage of me, some with large chunks of cash, never expecting or wanting to be paid back. Do I regret it? No, let God deal with it, but I'm not as generous like I used to be. I'll give $5 to a stranger on the street if nothing more than to get rid of them. I know they might be lying but give them the benefit of the doubt.
My husband left me, too, but I wouldn't have starved myself like you did or my kids. My father helped us, and somehow there was always enough and then some for my what some would call idiosyncrasies or eccentricities. I had a terrible time remembering that last word as it once would have been right on the top of my head.
I will share one crazy story that happened, have told it before but don't think here. I can't stand seeing dead pets or even squirrels as "road kill" or injured. One night years ago I was coming home from work, odd that it was right across from the religious supply store. There was this dog lying lifeless on the green space between the sidewalk and street. People were driving by like it was nothing. My thought was that was somebody's pet and they deserved to know what happened to it. So what do I do? Stop my car, go over to the dog, it appeared dead and wasn't breathing, don't know how long it had been there, and drove home. It was 10 or 15 minutes like that at least. When I got home, I carried it in and laid it on the couch. I think I might have prayed, can't remember, as I often did. My "latchkey" kids, I had three young ones asked me, "Mom, why did you bring that dead dog home?" I couldn't even give them an answer. They could verify my story. I was on the phone, trying to figure out whom to call, when all of a sudden, one of my kids shouted, "Mom, that dog is alive!". I went back into the living room, and it was sitting up on the couch alert as any normal dog.
I still didn't know what to do, took care of it for a day or two. That weekend I went back to that neighborhood knocking on doors, hilly area, up and down bunches of steps, think nobody even answered their door not because I look crazy but because they weren't homw. I had this thing about taking animals to the pound. Anyway, a couple days later, my kids opened the door the way kids do, and the dog got out, went bounding a block up towards the busy street during rush hour, ran across it without getting hit, and was heading back in the direction where I had picked it up. I hope it found its way home and had a home to go to.
I've taken a lot of flak for wasting so much time on animals, all my life, could write a book about my successes, failures and not sure. Another big story and how I found a home for a mother cat and her babies, when we had to move from MA. My mother flew out to ride home with me, and I already had a puppy. She put her foot down that she wasn't riding home with those cats. So I make my husband drive me around the countryside trying to find a place to take them. Nothing. Somebody suggested I take them to this place for scientific research. No way! So this couple who lived on a farm in NH was visiting next door, and I gave them some money, and they agreed to take the cats back home with them. Won't ever know if it was a good thing or not.
If there is really a heaven, one of my biggest wishes is that I can have all my pets back, the ones most loved, the ones not so loved, and the wild creatures I made friends with. That is a big order, and there are so many I don't know how I could possibly care for that many. But heaven, if there is one, probably isn't like that.
You sound like a kindred spirit. I don't know what made me this way. My one daughter did the exact same thing taking in animals when she had too many problems of her own and they'd have to move, etc. I'm glad she has a loving heart towards animals, but I had to remonstrate with her to try to get the population down to less and find homes for them. Her son was resenting all the dogs. So she found homes for them, think she has only a cat or two now.
Sorry I went on so long. I get really emotional about it. Sometimes I just have to grit my teeth and accept what I cannot change, that there is so much suffering in the world, not just people, but animals, too. I still do eat meat and fish and if I had to kill it myself would have to be practically starving, so that makes me a little hypocritical, but I don't plan to change.
I ‘starved myself’ because although my parents would’ve helped me, it was conditional;
“Get rid of the dogs and we’ll help.”
My answer was not only “no”, but HELL NO.
I will not abandon my dogs the way I have been abandoned by my “loved ones” so many times.
It was during those dark days that God suddenly dropped my husband into my life in a quite miraculous way.
So, maybe my life now is a matter of repaying God’s mercy, in kind.
Marine returns, reunites with pup - ping
I'm sorry you starved yourself. Some would consider that pathological, but maybe taking in the dogs filled a void in your life. I started hearing those horrible accounts in the news about those people who take in animals, then get in over their heads, and you know the rest. Didn't want my life to go like that. Feeding 17 cats (the most, some were nursing kittens) is a lot cheaper than feeding full-grown dogs, but I always gave them quality canned food plus dry. But I wasn't perfect, and sometimes fleas and things got out of control. Then I had to deal with that. Now they have better stuff for that.
I don't blame you. My help was unconditional mostly. But I know it chafed with my stepmom, and probably got to my father, too. I don't feel good about it now. You do what you have to do to survive, and my dad didn't interfere in my life. Plus although he wasn't religious, I would have never thought of taking money from him and shacking up with some guy, plus I wouldn't have wanted to go that route anyway but "everybody was doing it". Plus "no daughter of his was going to be on welfare". I went back to school and worked. Even so, I never made enough to make it on my own, tops was $8.50+/hr, it doesn't matter now, that's the way things were. It was better than some women in my situation made then.
Glad you had enough backbone to take a stand. It all worked out. I don't have a husband, but my life is better in a lot of ways than it was then. Worse in other ways. I've been single too long now to adjust, but it sure wasn't my plan for my life.
Now I've got company, and it's a zoo lol.
I'm happy that your life took a turn for the better. It's not good to be alone especially if you find someone you can bond with. It's a real blessing, probably meant to be.
Check this historic poster.
Awww — me too! That was so sweet!
I can’t believe no one would take care of his pet for him, though. Makes me wonder just how often this happens. They shouldn’t have to give up their pets before a deployment!
Grweat stoudy... Sorry, can’t type cause of the clouds in my eyes... Awesome post. Thank you.