Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The smile might have told the end of the story, but in truth it told the beginning.

The first time I met Michael he was cordial and standoffish. You could read PTSD all over his face. He was slightly bent and occasionally grimaced in pain, trying to hide the severity. His case manager had written to me, suggesting that Michael might benefit from a support service dog. She said he had been through hell and this just might be his ticket out.

I arranged to meet Michael and his wife close to Austin and see how we could help.  In an instant, I knew that this was a young man that needed 'his' dog.  Within a matter of days we had located a fostered dog that had been rescued from a kill shelter because of his amazing temperament and potential.  His name was Kingsley!  For weeks Michael took a giant leap and drove by himself to San Antonio every Friday to training classes with Kingsley.  The connection was instantaneous.  The bond was to grow deeper.  As graduation day approached it became apparent that all of us had developed a bond not only with this dog but also with Michael.  His smile lit up the room and his stories ripped at our hearts.  We were all sad to see them leave, but knew they would continue to return for additional training. Then I received a photo of Michael and Kingsley. In this photographic  moment, a simple promise of connection and an alliance of hope was captured.  The days of nightmares that had been a blur, yet all too real, ones that had kept Michael from living his life, were becoming less and less.

"I'll cry with you,"she whispered "until we run out of tears. Even if it's forever. We'll do it together." Author Unknown

It was there, a simple promise of connection.  Together Michael and Kingsley had survived there own personal wars.  Together they were united and both survivors of the dark night of near death.  Together they are teaching each other to not live in the past, and to not fear the future. 

What makes Michael different?  Where does his courage come from?  B.C. Forbes said, "History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heart-breaking obstacles before they triumphed.  They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats." 

Perhaps that is the answer for all of us.  I am certain is has been for me.

"Never doubt that  a small group of committed people can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Unknown

Let us never forget Franklin D. Roosevelt's words, "Those who have long enjoyed such privleges as we enjoy, forget in time that men have died to win them."  I won't forget.  And I won't forget Michael and Kingsley.  That smile in the photo keeps me answering endless phone calls from other Michaels. When the voice at the other end simply says, "I need help." 

One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of house you lived in, what kind of car you drove, what your bank balance was. What will matter is the depth of your commitment and your devotion to give purely. 

Yes, love does heal!

"The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others." ~Ghandi



One thousand dollars (tax deductible) will sponsor a dog and warrior with PTSD. 

13423 BLANCO ROAD, STE 218

1 comment:

  1. Patsy...overwhelmed with anxiety about so much to do...keeping up with my ambition to help with the aging and failing Shiba (my first dog ever)....planning events to raise donations in Palm Springs and travel there to meet Troy and the crew for the first with Shiba rescue....and on and on and on among every day chores. I sit down at my computer to begin many emails and I realize I have this new blog post waiting to be read.

    It's magic. My whole demeanor changed. I'm calm. I'm heart-sick about what Michael has gone through, yet I feel such joy in reading his story.

    Meeting you in San Antonio with Carolann will not come soon enough. You not only heal our wounded heal all of us reading your stories.....they literally bring me back to the present.

    Thank you, Patsy....I hope you will survive the huge hug you're going to get from me some day!!!

    Shiba Hugs,
    Jean MacTarnahan