Sunday, May 27, 2012


SAVING GRACES.... What exactly are they...these things called saving graces?  Are they people that come into our lives and won't let go of us when we fight to be free.  Are they the service dogs that are trained to read our every single fear, our panic, or our terror as they touch our lives gently, with great love and understanding. Is it a grandmother who understood and led you out of the darkness, or a friend, or a book, or a priest, or the mountains?

What I do know is that there are times in our lives when saving graces might be angels appearing out of no where to show us what we need? To drag us kicking and screaming from the brink of self destruction and unbelieveable pain, letting us know we have worth and that no matter the obstacles, we shall overcome and that everything will be alright.

 I have a manuscript written, ready for a publisher...or not.  The important point is I wrote it.  I got the words on paper directly from a heart consumed with pain. The name of the book ~  SAVING GRACES.  The topic  - a blind therapy dog who captured my heart when I needed her the most.  Her name ~ Gracie!  Her purpose on this earth, I have no doubt, was to save me.  She plopped into my life and heart at seven weeks of age when I was going through a time I choose to not remember.  She had little vision at that time, today none, but she could tell, she could always tell, exactly when I needed her the most. She would come to me and look at me with her dying eyesight and was able to read my face, my breath, or my tears.  She would then plop into my lap, turn upside down, exposing the sweetest pink belly ever, looking up at me with such pleading I could not resist.  Almost so depressed I could not lift my arms, I was able to for Gracie.  She was relentless in her pursuit of getting me to love her and forget the current pain I was enduring. It worked.  And to this day 7 years later, she still can work the same magic.

She has brought wounded warriors with severe PTSD, multiple amputations and burns back to life, as well. 

Today to look back and remember witnessing Gracie's intentional motivation of loving and being loved, it isn't difficult to understand why people respond to her as they do.  The responses of the courageous young men and women to Gracie are often overpowering.  These are guys and gals who laid their lives on the line, who took the bullets, who fought the fight and paid the price.  Yet in the presence of this twenty eight pound dog, they turn into children with their first puppy.  They hold her head gently in both of their hands and look into her eyes with love, a deep and special love and understanding.  They may never see her again, but for that moment they connected to something greater than themselves.  For that single moment, that cannot be explained, they felt loved back, totally and completely.

Gracie sees past the outward appearances of people.  She touches hearts in a way that defies all logical explanation.  And yet somehow it is explained clearly.  This intense and unconditional love, is what we should all strive for, but seldom do.

Tom Davis in "Why Dogs Do That," says, "There are no strings attached, no riders, or special stipulations; there's no fine print, no expiration date, no statute of limitations.  They (Dogs) love to a depth and degree that few of us, I fear, reciprocate." 

I find myself remembering my time with the warriors in snapshot like moments.  Struggles, tears, fears, courage, and smiles are often too powerful to fully comprehend.  They they come back to me, much like photographs.  They are forceful, strong, intense, turbulent and ardent.  Never to be forgotten or taken for granted.

None of us remember days.  What we do remember are those moments, those snapshots that cause that lump in our throats to surface and the tears to come.  The gasping moments, when we expectedly see the face, or hear the voice of a loved one or a flower blooming on the side of a cliff that literally takes our breath away.  A wise and cherished friend once told me that every one of us has that sad place deep inside of us.  It is from that place that hope and peace and grace come.  And for me, it is compassion.  For, as my friend told me me out of compassion comes passion.

God has blessed our dogs and will guide each step of their journeys...whether bringing joy and comfort to our wounded or to protect, defend and serve our country.

On this day before Memorial Day, God Bless those who have given their lives so that we may have these 'moments' and may He also bless those dogs that also bless America ~ our Saving Graces!


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