Tuesday, July 5, 2011


What inspires you?  What grabs your heart and doesn't let go?  What is it that touches you in such a special way that you can barely describe it and sometimes barely breathe ~ that one thing that you hold tight to your soul and never want the bubble to burst for fear of losing a part of you.

Doing what I do with therapy dogs and service dogs and reaching out to people struggling to heal or to just get by to live another day, hour, or even second, I find I am inspired constantly.  To be able to be a conduit to reach these people is a true blessing.  I am honored, humbled and incessantly eager for the next moment to come when I find that my compassion, empathy, love, and deep caring for these individuals, and the gift of my therapy dogs who are simply  present for someone who needs them more than they know, is what my life is all about. It is all about love.

Last week I put out a request on facebook for $1,000.00 for the hotel expenses for a warrior flying in from Tennessee to train with Gunny, his service dog in training.  Wishes were granted in three days!

Last week monies were received and new friends made at two charity events for TADSAW/PFHF at the Sonic and Freebirds World Burritos.  Another wish granted.

Daily we receive dozens of phone calls from warriors from throughout the United States wanting a service dog to help them with the agony of PTSD.  We are able to guide them in the right direction or help them directly.  Another wish granted.

I was grateful once again, after a long and laborious down spell and two surgeries and recovery, to be able to spend time with wounded warriors at the Warrior Family Support Center on the Fourth of July. How I have missed them.  How I love them all.  These are the young men and women who inspire me more than anything. To sit quietly and simply observe dozens of young men in wheelchairs, some with burns, some missing limbs, accompanied by the support of friends and families was awe inspiring to say the least.  Amidst the red, white and blue decor, one young soldier, on a two hour pass from the hospital at SAMC, was accompanied by family and a nurse escort.  He was pale and found it difficult to smile.  Severely depressed, just getting out of the hospital helped in the healing process.  Another warrior with a missing leg was nestled into his wheel chair with a small baby girl snuggled into his chest, as he held her close with one arm and guided the wheelchair with the other.  I told him how beautiful she was, and he smiled as would any other proud papa.  Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans and chocolate cake was the perfect 4th of July.  For me just being there .... well there was no where else I would have been. 

One Marine, a triple amputee, was wearing a huge smile and a teeshirt that said, "Wounded Marine ~ Some Assembly Required"  His mom told me of walking into their room at the Fisher House and finding him wearing her pink slippers on his stumps.  This is a guy with courage, with grit, with guts and with an incredible sense of humor.  His goal to surf!  Betja he finds a way.

This last week PFHF was blessed with being invited to affiliate with the medical staff at Wilford Hall Medical Center's CONTINGENCY AEROMEDICAL STAGING FACILITY. Handpicked therapy dog teams will be present on the ambulance buses, to meet wounded warriors, as they are moved from the aircraft coming in from Landsthul or Ramstein, Germany to the hospital. They will be welcomed stateside by a few of our most special therapy dogs and escorted to the 7th floor of Wilford Hall to receive medical evaluation before being sent to their destination hospitals nationwide. We have even been provided with an office and computer for our dogs to have a bit of a rest between visits with the wounded and their families and friends. What an tremendous honor for us.

I spoke with an injured soldier on the phone after he called inquiring about a service dog for his acute PTSD. I asked him what he would think if there would have been a therapy dog on the ambulance bus. He replied that he had been on that same bus. He said, "All we want to see is America! What is more American that apple pie and a dog?" Another wish affirmed.

A few days ago a therapy dog team member and her therapy dogs were the first therapy dogs in San Antonio to participate in a Recovery Mission and Service Mission as part of the Patriot Guard for one of our soldiers killed in the line of duty.  Courtney with her dog, Gainer, were at the funeral home to be of some comfort to the family.  When the escort arrived at the funeral home with Spc Nicholas Hensley's family and his body, Gainer was waiting.  They were able to interact with the family and the soldier's mother asked if she could hug Titan and then asked if they would be there for the funeral.  PFHF will be ready willing and able to assist at any Recovery Mission where we will be of assistance. 

I say all of these things I suppose to affirm to myself that what I do is valuable...that what I do is making a difference, that what PFHF is doing is extraordinary and unique, and that the amazing group of volunteers in PFHF and TADSAW are just that...Amazing!!! We are providing our therapy dogs and our service dogs in venues unreached and untouched previously.  Our professionalism and elite status speaks for itself.  I am proud of each and everyone of our teams, for they are exemplary, caring, compassionate and the kind of people that inspire me.

So this day and everyday, I want you to remember one thing, "ALL GAVE SOME AND SOME GAVE ALL."  And remember that these wounded warriors deserve our help and love, their families our respect and gratitude and that some have 'some assembly required.' But when you think about it, don't we all?

So for today I am back to work after a couple of much needed days off.  For today I am content in the fact that love is something you can't control, love is something you have to give away, and that love is something that asks nothing in return. 

Each day my heart is full, for it is only in giving love are we receive it. And I receive it every second of every day from warriors and patients that I may perhaps never know or meet.  But that is enough.  That is enough.

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever checked with Air Compassion for Veterans regarding air transport to training?