I have no idea how to go about thanking our veterans for service. So, I am just going to tell you about some of my veteran buddies.
I never in my life thought I would meet or know a veteran. I also never believed that I would get saved by a broken one.
I was in the hospital surgical ward after the doctors discovering I was malnourished. I had stopped eat for eight days due to depression and my medication. So there I was… In my bed watching some kind of cartoon when my Gma asked me if it would be ok if a guy from church came and saw me. I didn’t exactly hear what she said, but I agreed.
A few hours later a big burly man came through the door with a dog walking beside him. I immediately perked up. He came over and sat down in the chair beside my bed. He said, “My name is J and your Grandma told me about you and I thought I should meet you. This is Grace, my service dog, she saved my life in many ways. I was going through similar things as you. I have PTSD and dissociative disorder, and my disorder displayed itself in the same way as yours.
“My day to day life became just miserable and I wanted to give up just like you. I had taken out my gun and was seriously considering pulling the trigger. I then began thinking about my wife and kids and decided against it. I later told my wife and she suggested looking into a service dog. It wasn’t too long after that we began the process, and the program discovered Grace to be mine. When I first met her, I thought she was way too energetic, but six months later, I had a fully trained mellow dog.
“I began to work with her and discovered that a dog really could help me. She alerted me to my emotions so that I could get them under control and cushioned my head when lie on the floor in a panic attack. She really truly saved my life. She became the only thing I would wake up in the morning for. But I really think one could save your life too.”
I was crying and snuggling with Grace on my bed by this time and I agreed that I need one. Not because I just wanted a dog to come with me everywhere, but because I wanted what J had. I wanted to not fear every waking moment and every social situation. Not to be afraid that I was too much of a burden for my family. Not to end every school day before lunch started. Not to feel dead inside, like I am just dragging around a dead body. I wanted to be filled with purpose.
As soon as I said I wanted one, he got up and called the owner of the service dog program. Then he and his wife sat down and we began talking. Not about why I was in the hospital, but about what made me happy, what I liked to do. By the time I was discharged from the hospital, fundraising had begun to get my dog and I was scheduled to spend as much time as I wanted with J and his family.
In two weeks, I had a whole family of veterans that understood what I was going through and was also in the process of getting a service dog. I got to see how much they care for one another and how they have each others back. These veterans have changed my life in more ways than I will ever know, and I am so thankful for them. Thankful for their service.