Army veteran makes it his mission to rescue dogs

YOUNGSTOWN — When Paul Poulos returned from his last tour in Iraq in 2008, he struggled to adjust to civilian life.

“It was damaging,” the Boardman police officer and Army veteran said of his time in combat, which included six months of daily fighting in the city of Ramadi.

One thing that helped him make that transition, he says, is the bond he built with a canine friend.

“After he passed, and everything I went through in the military ... I realized I didn’t rescue him – he rescued me,” Poulos said of Gavin, the Doberman he and his wife added to their family of rescue animals shortly after Poulos came home.

Gavin died at age 4.

“That is the point in time – losing Gavin – when it was never again, or all in,” Poulos said. He chose the “all in” option, and today is president of Paw Platoon, a dog-rescue group that incorporated in May.

“We thought it would be cool, out of respect for our veteran brothers, and also as a way to set ourselves apart,” Poulos said of the group’s military theme, complete with the tag line: “Rescue the dog — it takes an army.”

Today, Paw Platoon is a network of a dozen or so individuals and families who foster dogs in need of rescue. It works closely with the Mahoning County Dog Warden’s Office, which operates a dog pound, and Animal Charity Humane Society.

For the complete story, read Tuesday's Vindicator and

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