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We have so many Veterans taking their own lives and disappearing into a sea of despair, that I have to wonder if there is an answer that is right in front of our noses?

Recently, it was World K9 Day: the day that the world is supposed to celebrate the gift of loyalty and dedication that our four-legged friends have given to our Military men and women.  Our canine friends have fought beside us and stood beside us and comforted us in times of trouble and we are increasingly, as a species, forgetting their dedication and love and consigning them into the same bin that we place our unborn children.

We are reading more and more stories of heartbroken and dispirited Veterans who are taking their own lives. 

After so many decades of service to us, surely we should recognise the role these quiet companions play in a world post-war? Are dogs the answer to the pandemic of Veteran suicides confronting our Nations?

It saddened me that this Worldwide day of tribute passed without a mention on mainstream media. 

National K9 Veterans Day is commemorated on March 13 on the official birthday of the US Army K9 Corps, which was formed in 1942. 

K9 Veterans Day 2021

I have to wonder if perhaps these wonderful friends who snuggle beside us, sense our pain and love us unconditionally could perhaps be vital friends in the rebuilding of broken lives once our Veterans return from active service?

Surely their service and dedication should not be confined to the battlefields of war but also embraced in times of trying to regain some peace?

I know a man who recently lost his wife and would be in a dark place were it not for the love of the dog that sleeps beside him each lonely night and he reaches out to in times of anguish.

It is my opinion that every veteran who suffers from that awful feeling of loneliness and grief could well benefit from a friend who seeks not to analyse him, question his actions or condemn him for things done while following orders - surely, a non-judgemental friend could offer that silent support that so many seek when so few can truly understand? 

These days. dogs and cats are being " put down " in record numbers. 

Could they not be rescued and, in turn, rescue a lost soul who needs that quiet love that only comes from one who loves without question?

One thing that perhaps is worth considering is that wounded souls can recognise wounded souls.

Maybe the dog or cat that needs the soldier as much as the soldier needs the animal is one who has also faced abuse or trauma?

dec2012

Bridget after 3 months of therapy from yours truly. I would not put an image of her up prior to that date. She still could not walk at that time. 

My dear cat Bridget was rescued by me 9 years ago. She was introduced to me by a young lady at the RSPCA who asked me to have a look at a young lady who needed a helping hand.   I reluctantly agreed. I saw this fragile calico cat who was recovering from a broken pelvis and such a tortured little body that she could barely move. Her eyes were dazed and barely able to focus on anything. She sat in a cage and the young woman scooped her up tenderly and Miss Bridget was passed into my arms. This waif, this injured and fractured animal was dying. All, the young lady said to me, was that she needed somewhere to go to die and surely she deserved that?

She had been put into a sack and used as a football and repeatedly kicked by a group of young thugs who found it amusing to use her for sport. Surely I could let her die in peace?

I did not need the responsibility, let alone the mental anguish associated with such a tremendous responsibility. But something happened. I saw a glimmer of life in her eyes and she gazed up at me with some kind of mental telepathy and I just KNEW that I had to bring her home.

And I did. I massaged her injured limbs and I gave her space. We spent day after day sitting quietly and  I spoke soothing words or no words at all. 

As time passed, Miss Bridget began to walk, albeit clumsily at first. Soon, she was jumping onto the bed beside me and snuggling up and purring and a spark of life returned to her eyes. 

As the years have passed, she has become my constant companion and I worry when I am absent for too long when I go out shopping or off to an appointment. 

tn IMG 0259My dear Bridget who enriches my life and listens to all my writings and assures me that all is good in the world as long as we have each other

Bridget still runs for cover when there are fireworks or police sirens or any stranger comes to my home. She has mellowed over the years, as have I. 

We have become firm friends and she, above all others, understands me, my idiosyncrasies, and my moods. 

I could have adopted any cat into my life but it was that injured soul who so reflected my state of mind at that time who rescued me - as I rescued her.

Perhaps this is the answer for our soldiers? 

It worked for me. 

 

“The guard dog was incorruptible; the police dog dependable; the messenger dog reliable. The human watchman might be bought; not so the dog. The soldier sentinel might fall asleep; never the dog. The battlefield runner might fail … but not the dog, to his last breath would follow the line of duty.”
-Ernest Harold Baynes, Animal Heroes of the Great War

Dogs really are perfect soldiers. They are brave and smart; they can smell through walls, see in the dark, and eat Army rations without complaint. -Susan Orlean

When a dog barks at the moon, then it is religion; but when he barks at strangers, it is patriotism! -David Starr Jordan

What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog. -Dwight D. Eisenhower 

 

 

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