Local veteran found forever friend at Washington County Animal Shelter

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — As a U.S. Army infantryman, Jason Sabbides saw a lot.

The soldier traveled the world in the 1990s and early 2000s, from Thailand to Egypt to Panama, among other locations.

Sabbides spent six and a half years in the U.S. Army and ended up settling in the Tri-Cities, where he’s a father to his son Casper.

He decided to add to the family on Thursday after meeting a 4-year-old pup the Washington County Animal Shelter had named Amazon.

Sabbides had scrolled through the shelter’s site and saw the pup’s face. It was then that he knew she was his dog, he said.

The veteran, who’s also a runner and avid hiker, told News Channel 11 that adopting renamed Maisy gives him a purpose and a reason to stay active.

“A lot of it is a sense of purpose,” Sabbides said. “You know you have to take care of this animal, and this animal is taking care of you. It’s a sense of grounding.”

He said her presence helps to keep him in the present and that animals play a positive role for people who might experience post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Right now, she’s got her paw on me; she’s all over me,” he said during the Zoom interview. “That keeps me centered — in the present, in the now.”

He said he plans for Maisy to tag along on his next hiking trip during the upcoming weekend.

Sabbides encouraged those who were interested in adding to their family to adopt rather than shop for a forever friend.

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