Sunday, February 14, 2010



It seemed like a typical relaxed Saturday morning like any home. The aroma of sausage and eggs wafted and tantalized from the busy kitchen, waking up sleepy appetites. Coffee and orange juice was placed on the table, while the television told us of another attack in Iraq and more U.S. casualties.

In the family room, children played on the floor, a young father cradled his three week old baby in his arms, and mothers of young children chatted about things young mothers chat about. Another father crawled around the floor on his knees playing with his son who was just starting to crawl himself. The only thing different was that the father had no legs. Once in a while the baby would pull himself up by grabbing his daddy’s prosthetic legs.

Gracie and I, and another therapy dog, Hunter, arrived at the Fisher House with gift bags of homemade cookies to be placed in each of the sixty soldier’s rooms. Volunteers were busy chopping and slicing in the kitchen for a special brunch for these young families at their temporary home away from home.

Dogs and kids together are endearing and captivating. This was no exception. Together Gracie and Hunter just seemed to add that one missing piece to complete the scene.

One soldier’s daughter, Ashley, was dressed in a pink Barbie dress ‘with sparkles.’ She proudly told Gracie all about it with great enthusiasm. Connor was just starting to walk on wobbly legs that would get going too fast. He would plop down, pick himself up and crawl into my lap, or whatever lap was convenient. Then he would snuggle up to Gracie or Hunter and seriously study these strange looking fuzzy toys. You see Conner has been at the Fisher House for most of his life. He hadn’t seen too many dogs. His dad was injured in Iraq and lost both legs. With his new prosthetic legs, it was as if he and Conner were learning how to walk together.

The sounds and smells of sausage and bacon sizzling and the soldier’s children laughing and playing with the dogs reminded me that all of our most powerful memories are sensual – touch and smell.

It was this Saturday morning at the Fisher House that I realized that love has its own smell and remembering is an act of grace. I will remember this morning for a very long time.

“What is your dog’s name?” “Gracie.” “Oh Gracie you are so beautiful. Daddy can I have a dog like Gracie some day?”

“Someday, sweetheart, when we can go home. Someday.”


“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”

~Booker T. Washington~

"It takes alot of courage to show your dreams to someone else."

~Erma Bombeck~

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