Friday, February 10, 2012


He had pledged allegiance to the United States of America. And in so doing gave his left leg and is struggling to keep the other.  The left side of his face and body is covered in shrapnel
from injuries from an IED blast in a country far, far away. He has a Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress and seizures.  But the one thing he hasn't lost is his love of dogs and his ability to 'feel' deeply about another being on this earth. And he has learned to trust this being to understand his pain.

After receiving a call from his mother requesting a visit, I took my beautiful, intuitive  Kelsie to see him.  Usually upon walking in to visit with a warrior, I extend my hand, introduce myself and Kelsie, and wait to see the response and what is needed.  But this time was different.  This time, without words, this warrior lifted himself with his arms from his wheelchair to the sofa and simply said, "A dog." His eyes, glazed and vacant, never left sight of her with a pleading, a yearning I have never before seen.  I remained silent. 

I laid her soft red blanket on the sofa and gave her a whispered 'up' command.  The warrior bent over double with his head almost touching his bandaged amputation. His right leg extended straight in front of him in the fixator. 

It was then that everyone's breath was taken away.  As this valiant young warrior bent over double, Kelsie  snuggled up close and stretched up to lay her head in the center of his back.  The room went silent and my heart almost stopped. Mesmerized we all watched, as he kissed her feet, her legs, her toes and then buried his head into her fur and quietly wept.  Kelsie moved slightly and put her head down next to his, getting as close as possible, to tell a total stranger that she was there and and that she understood his pain and that she was not leaving him.  He buried his face into the top of her head and continued to inhale, exhale, and quietly dissolved into tears that had been bottled up for a very long time. Without shame his mom cried, as we all watched Kelsie quite simply take over and hug him the only way she knew how.  I could have sworn somewhere in the background I heard Brahm's Lullaby, or was it the National Anthem?

When I look back at my life and remember those moments that have taken my breath away, this will be at the top of the list.  God sometimes puts us in places and spaces where we feel we have lost everything and  feel we have no will to go on.  With all honesty, for me this was one of those days, until I was witness to something so precious and heartbreaking and beautiful and full of love that I too, like this warrior, will live to fight another day. 

Thank you God for this moment and for this young man and thousands just like him who have sacrificed so that we may, hopefully, never take life for granted or those we so deeply love for granted or take the abilities of a dog for granted.  A miracle happened this day and I was witness to it.  I will never be the same. 

Kelsie and I will return and return again until our presence is no longer necessary. It's the least we can do for the price he paid.

"If someone listens, or stretches out a hand, or whispers a kind word of encouragement, or attempts to understand, extraordinary things begin to happen." ~ Loretta Firzartis

If Kelsie could utter words, perhaps she would say, "If  you are scared, just holler and you will find me."

Sometimes we all have songs in our heart and sometimes we forget how to sing them.  And then sometimes a special dog comes along and reminds us of the words. This is perhaps how we should all love a person. 

"Believe that there's light at the end of the tunnel.  Believe that you may be that light for someone else."  ~ Kobi Yamada

"Never give up.  This may be your moment for a miracle." ~ Greg Anderson

God showed me this day that my pain, my tears, my grief, my losses should not make me lose sight of the reason I am here.  For on this day I was witness to a miracle. Yes, I am still in horrible pain, but I witnessed a miracle.   

"What courage it takes to believe in a dream." ~Carlor Menta

Perhaps not only courage but also loss.  Sometimes we lose so much we don't know if we can hang on another second.  And then someone comes along and snuggles close and tells you never to lose hope. Surround yourself with those who believe you can, and give you wings so that you, one day, just might fly again.

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