His pets project: Man pedals across country for cause

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, January 24, 2018

NATCHEZ — Harold Palmquist refuses to leave his dog Daisy behind and he does not want other veterans to leave their pets behind either.

Tuesday afternoon, Palmquist and Daisy rode on a bicycle past Stanton Baptist Church on U.S. 61 South headed into Natchez on his second tour across the country for Veterans and Their Pets.

Vets and Their Pets is a foundation that shelters, nurtures, and feeds animals of war veterans in need.

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Palmquist served in the U.S. Air Force in Korea from 1987 to 1992.

Years laters — after a failed marriage and bad luck — Palmquist found himself homeless in Arizona looking for shelter along with his only companion, Daisy.

He first contacted Vets and Their Pets in Phoenix when he went to a homeless shelter that would not allow him to stay with Daisy.

“Since my kids are grown and gone it’s just me and my dog. I’m not getting rid of my dog,” he said. “(Vets and Their Pets) fostered my dog and gave her a homeless shelter while I was in mine,” Palmquist said.

After a week stay in Phoenix, Palmquist left to be with his dying father in Los Angeles.

“I had my bike, I had a duffel bag, I had the crate, I bought a trailer, and I called these guys and said ‘Send me a banner and some business cards. I’ll earn you guys some money,’” Palmquist said.

True to his word, he is now traveling across the U.S. and earning support for Vets and Their Pets along the way.

Palmquist said he has biked more than 3,500 miles to raise awareness about homeless veterans with pets.

This year’s tour has been a particularly cold one for Palmquist and Daisy. He said on a few occasions he had to stop riding in 40-degree temperatures so Daisy would not be too cold.

Footage of him in his tent during the snow and ice storm in Vicksburg can be found on his Facebook page called Tour De Paclantic.

Still, he says that one of his biggest challenges are hills.

“If I see a hill, I have to tell myself that there might be something there that is worth seeing,” he said.

Palmquist said many people offer him dog food on the road to ensure that Daisy was taken care of. Some who offer him a place to stay, even though they have little themselves, he said. One family that cleared out their pantry to offer him food items later invited him to Christmas dinner.

“I asked a 16-year-old girl ‘What are you getting for Christmas?’ and she said ‘nothing.’ That broke my heart.”

Today Palmquist will be back on the road headed south toward his old high school in Galveston, Texas, raising funds for veterans and their pets along the way.

“You can do anything at any portion of your life. You don’t have to be rich to be donating and giving and doing things. I think it’s important for folks to know that at any point in life, you can choose to make a difference,” said Palmquist.

Donations to Harold Palmquist and Veterans and Their Pets can be made at fundrazr.com/veteransandtheirpets.