Army Staff Sergeant Michael Sandilla of Hobart had always wanted a dog, but his work as a combat engineer required travel and left very little free time.
His opportunity for a dog finally came last year when he took a job as a recruiter and then noticed that Lakeshore PAWS was teaming up with Fifth Third Bank to provide dogs at no cost to active military personnel and veterans in honor of Veterans Day. The same offer is being made again this year on Nov. 11.
Sandilla, who is on active duty with the Army and has served for nine years, visited lakeshorepaws.org and spotted Bosco, a young American Bulldog mix, who is white with distinctive black markings around both eyes.
"I knew I wanted him nearly immediately," Sandilla said. "I've always liked American Bulldogs."
He stopped by ahead of Veterans Day to visit Bosco and knew right away he was the right dog.
Sandilla let the Lakeshore staff know he wanted Bosco and showed up first thing on Veterans Day to take home his new companion.
He renamed his new buddy Rosco and after going through an adjustment period with the help of the Lakeshore staff, the two settled into a great new life together.
As his work hours picked, however, Sandilla noticed that Rosco seemed lonely and began misbehaving.
Sandilla had noticed another dog at Lakeshore - a pit bull mix named Coonie - who was not finding a home so quickly. Coonie not only looked similar to Rosco, but was described as having a similar type of personality.
Sandilla took a chance and brought Rosco in to meet Coonie in August. The two dogs hit it off immediately, which for them meant lots of rough play and running around.
After taking Coonie home for a trial period, Sandilla adopted her, his second dog from Lakeshore PAWS, and renamed her Roxy. The two dogs are now inseparable and even sleep on top of one another, he said.
Sandilla said he is thankful for the opportunity to have brought these two dogs into his life and is thankful for all the help provided by Lakeshore PAWS.
"My experience is that you guys are awesome," he said.