By CHRIS AGEE
About a month after his beloved Siberian husky, Bubba, was shot and killed by a county landowner, Ty Thomas received a puppy with the help of AmVets Post 133.
Thomas, a U.S. Army veteran, picked up the eight-week-old husky from a Fort Worth breeder just in time for Christmas.
AmVets Commander Jim Vines said the puppy's name holds special significance for Thomas. A tank commander in the Army, he said Thomas chose the name "Patton" in honor of celebrated World War II tank commander Gen. George S. Patton Jr.
Thomas recently became a member of the organization in recognition of his service to the country, Vines said, explaining his fellow members were "unanimous in helping Ty and his family."
Bubba was shot and killed after he and a German Shepherd escaped through the front door of Thomas' S.E. 18th Street home in November.
The animals eventually made their way to a home in the 1300 block of S.W. 12th Street, where resident Haley Stephenson said she tried to keep them in an attempt to contact their owners.
She said both dogs were able to escape through a perimeter fence, noting she heard a "shot and a yelp" a short time later from a neighbor's property, just outside the city limits.
Since the incident took place on county property, authorities said no charges would be pursued against the shooter.
The shooter told the Index he was trying to protect his goat herd after spotting Bubba chasing and attacking the livestock. The German Shepherd was not injured and was later reunited with its owners.
Thomas' fiance, Nikki Dorau, explained Bubba was an important part of Thomas' life and offered great companionship when he returned from his last deployment. She added her 6-year-old daughter, Arwen, was deeply attached to the husky, too.
Vines said he was glad to help the family by providing a new puppy to help ease the pain of losing Bubba.
"Our cause is helping veterans no matter what the circumstance," he said.
Shelby Cocking of Wyldewoods Soulful Siberians said she was glad to help when Vines contacted her about attaining the puppy.
"I'd love to do anything I could to help our veterans," she said. "I kind of wish I could do more."
She said she met with Thomas and Dorau and has been in contact with them since they received Patton.
Cocking said Bubba was instrumental in helping Thomas after he returned from his deployment, noting she "had no idea huskies were good for any kind of therapy" until she heard his story.
According to Vines, Cocking said she would "work with AmVets in the future should we need any dogs for veterans, regardless of the breed."