Dog News

Abused Pit Bull & Young Navy Family Are A Perfect Match

by Amy Drew

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Diesel has proved to be a wonderfully stabilizing force in Joshua’s family home.


Joshua is a proud Navy Chief Petty Office who has been in service to his country since 2005. In the time since joining the Navy, he has been stationed all over the world, serving alongside all the branches of the U.S. military, as well as foreign military counterparts.

Stability can be a challenge for a serviceman or woman; Joshua is no exception. Moving around as much as he has, along with his many deployments, makes it difficult to feel rooted to a community and often separates him from his family.

Back in 2011, he and his wife decided it was time to start a family. Before too long, they had two beautiful daughters, but the desire to again grow the family returned. This time, they were out to have a fur-baby!

The Pets for Patriots program helped facilitate their wishes.

“It’s a great program and is very helpful,” Joshua says, “and it’s there to help both the service members and the animals. If you have the option, you should do it.”

More than 7 million pets enter animal shelters nationwide every year, many having suffered from abuse and neglect. Such was the case for Diesel, a then 6-month-old pit bull mix.

When Joshua and his family met Diesel at the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services in San Diego the dog had been through something of a war himself. Diesel had faced starvation and abuse. Although he was 43 pounds at the time, which was ample enough to be adopted, he was well below a healthy weight.

“When we first picked him up, he was recovering from being abused and starved,” Joshua told Pets for Patriots’ Wet Nose Blog, “so we had to feed him slowly and carefully because he was already underweight.

“The first time he walked around our house, he went to the stairs and went up one step and curled up into a ball and slept on the step,” says Joshua. “When we showed him his bed he got so excited he peed, it was the funniest thing.”

While moving around can be considered an exciting part of military life, for many active duty families, it can create an air of uncertainty — changes in duty station, long separations — these can be taxing.

Joshua says Diesel is great with his girls. “He is their mobile jungle gym, and always tells us if they are getting into trouble.”


Joshua and his family discovered that Diesel brought a certain comfort and stability to their lives. It helped soften Joshua as well, something he – like many veterans – sometimes struggle to do.

“Diesel has helped me maintain my civil side that is often times hidden below a hardened military way of life,” Joshua shares. “He is my comfort zone and is great with my girls. He is their mobile jungle gym, and always tells us if they are getting into trouble.”

Joshua’s family became Diesel’s — saving him from his life of neglect, but Diesel pays it back in spades

“There is nothing as comforting as always being welcomed by a wagging tail and an excited animal who is always happy to see you,” he says. “Having a dog opens up a part of one’s heart that often times closes up as a result of military service.”