Thursday, June 14, 2012


Wow, what a statement!  I have thought about it a great deal.  I have wondered if my life has really mattered.  Previous blogs have touched on we matter...who do we matter it even important that we matter. And then I found this!  Then I thought about my life and once again questioned has it mattered. Absolutely, yes it has.  I don't need to go into detail, but 20+ years on television reaching out to 300,000 people daily, and then establishing the first pet therapy dog foundation (Delta Society) in San Antonio in the 80's, literally touching thousands of lives, and then operating three bed and breakfasts in the little German Hill Country community of Fredericksburg,Texas for 16 years, then founding two more pet therapy organizations which are still in operation, and now working solely with our wounded warriors returning with PTSD/TBI and MST in TADSAW, Train a Dog~Save a Warrior...yes I have made a huge difference.

Thinking about it further, I think the most important difference any of us can make is in lives of people we might never know.  There is no payback, no personal motives, only reaching out to someone because it is the right thing to do. Paying it forward! 

I think of times when I have needed help and those that were there for me and never left my side are the ones that really have counted...the ones that mattered.  They were with me because they wanted to be, they cared, I mattered to them.  Just as they now matter enormously to me.
There are those people in our lives that come and go, whether family or friends, but the ones that are in it for the long haul are the ones that have caused me to understand that my life will never be the same, because they came into my life, left a precious gift...for a short time or for forever.
I look back at those moments in my life where I felt I truly mattered and wondered why that was so.  Then digging a little deeper, I discovered I mattered because I did what I wanted to do for others for the right reasons....for them.  Motivation doesn't have to be about satisfying yourself.  Motivation can be about many things, but just think for a moment how amazing it is that you have within you the ability to change a life just by their contact with you.
It isn't necessarily something monumentally huge that happens, it could be as simple as engaging someone in conversation that is normally ignored. Telling someone how nice they look or you like their shoes or jewelry or telling them they did a good job...anything ... just to make them feel better about themselves and that they matter.  How seldom does anyone do that for a complete stranger.  The look you get back is questioning almost.  Almost like why are you, number one, even speaking to me a complete stranger, but, number two, why would a stranger even bother to say something nice to me.
Kelsie and I meet strangers every day.  Some have two arms and no legs, some have one arm and one leg, some of them can't remember how to tie their shoes from a brain injury, and some repeat the same thing over and over and over again, because they have no short term memory whatsoever.  But to be kind to them, expecting nothing in return, is the greatest gift I can give them.  When I see them smile, or respond positively, I know I have been able to touch them some place deep inside.
Then on the other hand, I watch as people are defensive and have a brick wall built around them and refuse to reach out in a loving, kind, and compassionate way to others for whatever reason or are afraid to let you in. Perhaps they are afraid of being hurt.  Who knows?

People don't want to be around them.  Their walls are impenetrable. And you quickly find it isn't possible to break them down.  The load is too heavy to carry.
So I invite you today to think about the small, almost minuscule things that you can do spontaneously to, even for a moment, change a person's life.  Try for that smile back. Reach out.  Let them know they matter, if only for a  fleeting moment.  You just might find yourself changed as well.




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