I’ve always loved animals. My best friend growing up was our family dog Kip – an overweight, fluffy, smelly, loving Golden Retriever. It’s Kip’s fault that I currently own 3 cats and a dog, have an open door policy on fosters and strays, and one eye open for the dog (pit bull) that will become our second dog.
Rescue is my passion. No more homeless pets is my goal. I see a falling star, I wish for no more homeless pets. The clock says 11:11? I wish for no more homeless pets. Every year on my birthday when I blow out the candles, I wish for no more homeless pets. Blow an eyelash off of my fingertip….you guessed it. No more homeless pets.
While I have no real connection to the military – I’ve never said goodbye to a family member as he or she deployed overseas – it breaks my heart on some kind of personal level when I see how we, as a country, are failing our returning troops. Statistics say that 22 veterans a day take their own lives due to PTSD. What warms my heart is when I see a story on the news of a returning soldier being paired up with a dog or a horse to help them cope with PTSD. Sadly, there aren’t many programs doing that and there isn’t one at all in my area. I live in Upstate NY and the closest one is in NYC. I’ve seen a few soldiers coming through our local airport and getting paired up with a therapy dog through such a program, but every time the soldier and the animal had to work with a program from somewhere else in the country.
Recently, I got the opportunity to begin working with a woman who has connections to the military to bring one of these programs to Upstate NY. She lost her brother-in-law to suicide caused by PTSD and wants to help other soldiers struggling with this terrible disease. I’m excited to be able to bring my passion for helping homeless animals to the table. How better to help these animals in need of a home (and a job) than to pair them with soldiers who need a friend?
How does this relate to Tripawds? On the most basic level. Occasionally, soldiers return from war a bit torn up. Perhaps, they lost their spare, too. Often times, in shelters, Tripawds get looked over because special needs pets can be intimidating. Can you imagine the bond a soldier who lost his leg in battle could form with a dog who lost her leg in a car accident? Obviously, this wouldn’t be ideal for every case; but I certainly hope it can reduce the number of Tripawds being overlooked in shelters and rescue centers.
This is something that has been important to me for a long time, and is now becoming a reality. Adopting a Tripawd has taken it to an even better level.
If you have a program like this in your community, please don’t hesitate to support it. It is not cheap to run, but you cannot put a value on the human lives it saves. Also, if they have a fundraising event, get out there and whisper the Tripawd word in their ear! Tell them Steve sent you!