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Veteran adopts future service dog

On Veterans Day in 2019, Francis came to the Dumb Friends League with the hope of finding a new companion. Francis is a veteran of the Army and National Guard, where he served a total of 12 years. He was looking for a dog who would not just meet his needs as a best friend, but one that would also help act as a service dog to help with daily tasks.

After spending time meeting with dogs at the shelter, Francis wasn’t sure if he’d find his match that day until he remembered a dog he met with the day before, Storm. Storm, a 1-year-old Siberian husky, had been on an adoption hold for another patron. When Francis found out that adoption didn’t happen, he knew it was meant to be, and the two left to start their lives together.

Nearly a year has passed, and Storm, now Samantha, has settled in perfectly. She is in the process of becoming Francis’ certified therapy dog, training for tasks like picking stuff up off the floor and opening doors. Becoming a service dog is no easy task and can take up to a year to complete. She will need more than 100 hours of training. Fortunately, Samantha is up to the challenge, and Francis showed off some of her skills she’s already learning, including “up” where Samantha jumps in his lap for pets.

When asked how Samantha has changed his life over the past year, Francis said she has had such a positive influence on him, sharing that, “having a pet helps you take care of yourself, too.” Feeding Samantha in the mornings reminds him that he needs to eat and that he should take his medications. Also, it helps that Samantha’s goofy personality makes Francis “laugh throughout the day.”

Samantha goes everywhere with Francis, including work to keep him company during his duties as a security guard. And things are going so great for Francis and Samantha that there’s even talk of adding a cat to their family.

The story of adoption and companionship between Francis and Samantha shows what an incredible impact pets have in our lives and just how powerful the human-animal bond truly is. Thanks to support from Lockheed Martin, we can offer 50% off all adoption fees to veterans and active military.

You can learn more about this program and pets we have available for adoption at

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