An any given day, you might find Dennis Wise working out of his garage in Santa Rosa Beach, hand crafting wooden sculptures.
To help veterans, especially those struggling with PTSD, and stray animals, Wise then sells his creations through his initiative, Pets and the Vets, with proceeds split between Paws for Purple Hearts and a DeFuniak Springs animal shelter ran by Janet Evans.
"I take care of who I can, when we can," he said, and added 100 percent of profits are donated. "The more sales we get, the more people we can help."
According to Wise, there's substantial evidence that adopting a pet reduces PTSD. With so many past and present service members suffering from symptoms, he's able to aid the programs, while also acting as a reference for those interested in adopting.
"If the dog (or cat) goes home with the vet, he's now in a home that everybody loves him," he said.
Some of his available home-made creations include bat houses, bee traps, bookends, superhero and military plaques and flip-flop magnets.
Prices for Wise's wooden artwork range from $1.75 to $12. He also accepts requests and will personalize items to fit individual interests.
Wise, a retired member of the Illinois Wing Civil Air Patrol, law enforcement officer and public information officer for the Walton County Sheriff's Officer, said his patriotism runs deep, along with his love for animals. When his wife came up with the idea to raise money for the two organizations more than a decade ago, it was an instant hit with him.
"For years, I understood what the military does for us," Wise said. "They keep this country completely safe at their own risk. ... I was so impressed and proud to wear that uniform because of all the other people that have worn in before me."
To purchase items or for more information on Pets and the Vets, contact Wise at 850-267-2078.