Match Stories


David & Charley

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Matched: 12/9/2013

David is a Corporal in the Marine Corps and a veteran of two Iraq tours. David joined the Marines prior to September 11, 2001. He was part of the initial invasion and then returned to Iraq during the peak of hostility in 2004. David witnessed the death of a close platoon member. David contacted Pets for Vets looking for a companion dog to help him readjust to civilian life. He felt abandoned by society, angry, lonely and overwhelmed. After meeting David, Pets for Vets knew that a dog would help him overcome some of those feelings as well as help him to feel less anxious in public.

When David was introduced to Charley, a black Labrador Retriever, there were smiles from ear to ear. Charley was an owner surrender in Utah who was fortunate to be rescued and transported to California by Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue. When Pets for Vets met this happy and attentive dog, we knew he would be a great companion for David. Charley has a quirky, sweet personality who made everyone who met him melt. He quickly learned to sit politely for petting in addition to other behaviors.

David loves to take Charley on long walks, play fetch in his pool and do errands around town. Charley has helped David feel more comfortable in public, not feel lonely and even learn to accept situations where he is not in control.

Thank you, Corporal Harlan, for risking your life for our country. I am honored to be able to thank you and I wish Charley and you many happy years.

Pets for Vets would like to thank all of our friends at Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue (SCLRR) for saving Charley’s life and helping to connect Pets for Vets with this special dog. We would also like to thank Healthy Spot for helping to make this match possible.

Follow up

David Harlan married Susana Carrera in a small, beautiful celebration on the beaches of Maui. Pets for Vets founder Clarissa Black attended the wedding.

Susie credits Charley with bringing the couple together and says “Clarissa …it goes without saying if it wasn’t for all of your help, especially with Charley, it never would have happened. …You are definitely family to us!”

Congratulations on your marriage and we wish you a lifetime of happiness.

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