Monday, September 6, 2010
"...sometimes ya gotta do....what ya gotta do to make a little dog feel bigger"
There are a myriad of working dogs - seizure detection dogs, search and rescue dogs, bomb dogs, cadaver dogs, guide dogs, hearing ear dogs, dogs for autistic children, PTSD support dogs, Military Working Dogs, and more. Dogs, whose mission it is to heal or to assist, are well trained and perform the job to perfection, assisting humans to improve the quality of their lives.
This proves what has long been known, that the most memorable people or pets in your life will be those who loved you when you weren't very lovable.
For a wounded warrior, following his heart sometimes can be the moment of awakening. After a period of vulnerability, tears are always on the surface. And then there are those times in the winds of change we find our true direction. It is in times like this that perhaps the best thing to do is throw your heart over the fence and the rest of you will follow.
To me the most valueable sermons are lived, not preached. Watching several of 'our' injured Marines at a BBQ, I felt immersed in the bond between each of them. Wounded in duty, with honor, with respect, with dignity, with optimism, and with enormous pride. All this, no matter what!
We are all survivors of one sort or another. And just perhaps the reason we are on this earth is to help ease the pain of others. In so doing, we help ourselves. With many of our Marines, a dog can be the catalyst between then and now. Their stories are legendary and all hold sacrifices.
It has been said that when we are alone we cease to exist. A wounded warrior with a dog in his lap is never alone, and it has been related to me that he or she is then fully alive. As one soldier told me, "with a dog on your lap everything is possible." It might just be that by seeing through the lace of our wounded warriors stories we actually come to know, and hold, and sometimes absorb their pain. Their courage inspires us to better handle life's challenges. These Marines, on a warm summer afternoon, eating grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, showed everyone present that they are not to be judged by what has been accomplished or sacrificed, but by what has been overcome.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."