Dog News

Shelter Dog Finds New Home Helping Veterans


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laddieLaddie was an abandoned 5-year-old cocker spaniel who was struggling to find a home because he doesn’t get along with other dogs. Laddie’s relationships with people is a different story though, he is loving and supportive. When the Paget Center, a facility that helps homeless vets, contacted the Santa Cruz SPCA to find a house dog to help their residents Laddie was the perfect fit.

The Paget Center is a residential facility that helps homeless veterans recover from the trauma of war and transition back into civilian life. It’s funded by the Veteran’s Administration and it provides 90 days of emergency shelter for homeless vets along with other services including therapy, finding veterans employment and housing.

Lino Montes is the manager of the Paget Center and he thought the house would benefit from having a dog. Montes contacted the assistant manager of the Santa Cruz SPCA, Mandi Hart, and she knew right away Laddie would be a perfect fit.

A visit was set up for Laddie to come to the Paget Center and he was an instant hit with the staff and residents. A few days later he was officially adopted. He quickly made a big impact.

“The mood in the house is lighter,” said Montes. “People who were withdrawn are coming out of their shells. They’re taking an interest in walking and feeding him. It’s amazing to see the transformation.”

Laddie now has lots of people to interact with in his new home and he is helping them out in different ways. His first night there he helped one resident who suffers from insomnia brought on by PTSD sleep through the night.

“It’s awesome,” said Anthony Uzzi. “The first night he was here he slept on my bed. It was the best sleep I’ve had in years. Having the dog in the room does help me because I’m not constantly listening to sounds. With Laddie, it’s an extra set of ears that lets me stay asleep. He’s got my back.”

Laddie provides comfort, reduces stress and is a great listener for the residents of Paget Center. Often the men there are more comfortable talking to Laddie than the staff or counselors. Laddie finally has a home he deserves and he’s making it a better place.