Philip had settled back into civilian life after finishing a career in the military when he felt like something was missing. Little did he know a furry angel in disguise would soon change his whole world.
He’d been out of the Army for a few years and had gotten a degree and a new job. He had his home and his routines. But he felt lonely. Philip had gotten pretty used to being around lots of people all the time while serving his country, but now his buddies were spread out across the U.S.
And so he visited the Connecticut Humane Society one July morning in 2012 to meet a puppy he’d seen on CHS’ website. The dog turned out to be a little more energetic than he was hoping for. Just as Philip thought he’d need to put his pooch plans on hold, an adoption counselor told him about another little one who needed a home.
“He put her down right in the middle of the room, and she sat there looking at me with those little, floppy ears. Someone walked by and asked if I was adopting her, and instantly I just said, ‘Yes.’ I had no reservations. She was just really calm and shy. She was perfect,” Philip recalled.
The bond was instant. She was his, and he was hers, for life. Philip named the two-month-old black lab mix Summer, and they became inseparable. He was willing to do whatever it took to make her happy—even keeping the lights on at night while sleeping that first week, because Summer was afraid of the dark. And she was willing to do the same for her new dad.
Over time, Philip helped Summer overcome her shyness, and she comforted him through tough days and emotions that come along with being a veteran. In the five years they’ve been best friends, Summer’s been right by his side through everything.
That includes hiking, traveling for work to places like Seattle, vacationing at the beach, jogging or having quiet time at home. Summer loves running into the ocean to splash around and swim and exploring new nature trails where she gets to see deer and other wildlife. She can sense when he’s had a rough day, or when things are going great.
It’s a lifelong friendship that was meant to be.
“With her, I know I’m always going to have a friend,” Philip said. “I definitely found the dog for me. I would never change what I have with her.”