Thursday, July 14, 2011


I prefer to think that there are no coincidences.  Things happen for a reason.  And all we have to do is open our eyes, be aware, and we will see. 

Today with permission from a wounded warrior, a  nurse, I present you with a letter that left me breathless!

I need to preface this by telling you that she had brought her two Tibetan Terriers for evaluation to a park nearby for evaluation for one becoming her potential TADSAW service dog for PTSD.  Both precious dogs had been rescued, one after having lost a leg after being hit by a car.  It was obvious immediately that these two dogs are bonded to each other and their 'mom' in an extraordinary way.  Separating them to make one a service dog would have been devastating on the other, so it as decided we provide and introduce a new dog into the 'pack' that would become her service dog.

After collaboration with the TADSAW director and our senior trainer it was decided that "Helen" just fills the bill.  She has already been evaluated and is a 'soft' dog with a wonderful ability to snuggle and cuddle and be available in those horrible moments of stress and panic that come all too often and out of nowhere.  She will ease the pain, and take care of her 'mom' so that she can better the quality of her life after combat. She will be her 'battle buddy.'  The following morning this letter was received, along with the tears I shed.

Dear Patsy,
I was very surprised to be able to meet with you, Bart, and Michelle yesterday. From what I understand, you have a very, very busy schedule and the other two collect no dust as well. I felt very honored.

It was a really blessing to talk a little with some other people about the panic attacks. I don't talk to 'normal' people much about them, just the Doctors- and that to a minimum. As I said, it's such a "non-me" thing. I try not to think too much about it, or even count them lest I start having panic attacks about panic attacks, but the truth is I go through about 30 of those danged pills a month. Anyway, you could have knocked me over with a puff of air when I heard you say that you, who I'd size up as someone very refined, resilient and grace filled, had them. Thank you for sharing your experience with me, it gave me concrete hope.

Also, at the risk of sounding, uh, a bit off, maudlin, or "tetched," it also really surprised me to hear how quickly Michelle could find a workable buddy for me. Here's the maudlin part, I guess- last year, I spent my 40th birthday at my grandmother's deathbed. I can't complain about that, it was a great blessing to be with her while she was making that transition. She was, without a doubt, one of the strongest, funniest, most loving women I have ever known. Growing up, she was a great source of stability to me, a rock of goodness in her own unique and original way. She was no cookie cutter saint, but I can't help but think she's on the right side of the pearly gates. Her name was "Helen."

That name has a great context of good and blessing in our family. I don't know how I'm going to tell my mom that I'm getting a service dog named Helen. I think it's going to kinda knock the breath out of her. God works in mysterious ways.

Thank you very much again.

Perhaps now I know why I was 'blessed' with panic attacks!  It makes it real to me.  I understand. I can nod my head in affirmation and really mean it.  The warriors with PTSD and severe panic attacks know that I am not just 'blowing hot air' so to speak.  It helps to know that if someone else is able to cope with this 'thing' then maybe, just maybe, so can they.

Helen currently belongs to a doctor who is being deployed sometime in the near future.  It was her hope that Helen could become a service dog to help a wounded warrior with PTSD! 

Well two wishes have come true.  And I for one prefer to believe that this was no coincidence.



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1 comment:

  1. And now we know why it was impossible to find another name or even a nickname for Helen. Such a sweet willing girl <3