Celebrating the Four-Legged Veteran
by Amy Lignor
Although we give thanks for them each and every day, we have come to that time of year where the “special day” is celebrated, honoring the men and women who fight/fought for this country. But
there are also those, of the four-legged variety, that play a huge role in the lives of these astounding Americans after they come home from some of the worst conditions imaginable. They not only help in the field, these K-9s are also the kind, loyal sidekicks that serve as beloved friends to the heroes when they return home.
Service medals, commendation medals, Campaign medals, many awards are given out. Years of service are given by the brave; time taken away from their loved ones as they put their lives on the line. Yet when the vets come back to the “normal” world, some find themselves in more of a nightmare than the one they just left. As an example, in Parade magazine this past week, a veteran with 25 years of service was focused upon. The soldier had done an outstanding job, standing tall and being brave for everyone here at home for so long, that it seemed right and just that she should have a good life with no war or battles from here on out. Unfortunately, the trauma she had been through brought about anxiety. The soldier found she could not even leave her own house; she had a fear of crowds and that fear and anxiety was stopping her from enjoying her family and her life.
This is not a new story, unfortunately. But there has been one amazing creature of the four-legged variety that has managed to take some of that fear and pain away. And when he/she arrives at the family’s door, this K9 literally takes care of the veteran. They know what to do, how to protect and calm and give much-needed emotional support to their charge.
K-9s For Heroes is a wonderful organization that veterans stand behind 100%. In fact, this non-profit was actually founded by veterans and animal lovers who knew how much a dog could bring to a person’s life. The mission is quite simple; it is to empower veterans and their family members suffering from mental or emotional disorders. The K9s work magic when it comes to helping veterans live independently and adjust back to “home life.” With the companionship of a professionally trained dog that the organization rescued from a shelter, these K9s are first saved from meeting their own demise, then trained and placed with each qualified person at no expense to the veteran who truly needs them in their lives.
Veterans want to help other veterans and their families, simple as that. They fought beside them, been in the same nightmares, and want to make sure that all men and women coming home can enjoy the life they lead once they’re back.
I think we can all agree that, as Americans, we owe the people who chose/choose to fight for us and our freedoms a huge debt of gratitude for their bravery. And we can never forget the sacrifices that the families of these veterans make on a daily basis, losing the one they love (hopefully just for a time) to a battle overseas. This answer helps all involved.
There are many veterans returning to their civilian lives today with physical and emotional injuries that make it nearly impossible to transition back to the world they once knew and understood. Add to that the fact that every year in the U.S. alone, 3.9 million dogs end up in shelters with 1.2 million being euthanized. Only 26% of strays are ever returned to their actual owners. With K-9s For Heroes stepping in, the dog receives a loving home for the rest of their life, while a veteran and their family receives love, companionship, stability and, most of all, the best friend that everyone is looking for.
So as you bow your head in prayer, or march in a parade and salute the soldiers this Veteran’s Day, also take a minute to look at the organization that is giving veterans the independence they need and the canines the home they deserve.
Happy Veteran’s Day. God Bless.
Source: Baret News