It was a special day when the Charleston Animal Society animal care campus turned into a sea of military pageantry. On May 14th at 11am, Charleston Animal Society held a special dedication of the Joan August Terry military memorial that was placed under the flagpole. The stone marker commemorates the service of not only military men and women, but also the animals that served alongside them. “Charleston Animal Society has always had the deepest appreciation possible for our military and they are among our most loyal supporters, through adoption, fostering and volunteering,” said Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore.
Dressed in navy whites, The Navy Nuclear Power Training Center band opened and closed the ceremony with patriotic music that went perfectly with the blue skies above Charleston Animal Society.
One military adopter on-hand at the ceremony was retired Air Force Captain Patricia Riley, who spoke eloquently about her personal battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), urging all of us to do more for veterans. Riley said adopting an animal helped her PTSD symptoms tremendously, “Boomer came to me in 1991 and saved me. Shelter dogs provide the unconditional acceptance, love and structure so many of us need. As I realized, we do not rescue dogs, they rescue us”
Other honored guests at the event were Lt. Col. Ralph E. Taylor, Jr., Deputy Commander, 628th Mission Support Group and Staff Sergeant Jonathan Garrett, Military Working Dog Handler, 628th Security Forces Squadron. Chico, a military working dog, also made a special appearance and was the star of the show.
Joan Terry is the benefactor who made the day possible. Carolina Tails profiled this popular military entertainer in our Fall 2015 issue. Terry had seven poodle rescues during her 96 fascinating years on earth. One of them was named “Bon-Bon” and the pair became a sensation entertaining the troops together in the 1960s. She later became involved with Charleston Animal Society as a supporter and a donor and as part of her final wishes, Terry left $10,000 to Charleston Animal Society in her will.
To learn more about how animals have served our great nation in the military, visit the Charleston Animal Society YouTube Channel and look for our video “Salute to Military Animals.”