17 July 2013
The Dictionary on my MacBook defines a HERO as “a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.” As an adult with dogs, I’ve met many canine heroes.
First, my student and friend, Kevin, described Booker T. Washington, my Cockapoo. He wrote, “I never wanted to be a super hero, but I’ve met a real super hero. His name is Booker T. Washington and his super power is healing. He doesn’t need magic. He just uses his personality to heal. He’s my best friend.”
As a junior high school student, Kevin was diagnosed with a rare disease. He continued, “When I needed to rest, Booker rested with me. But, when I needed him to have energy and play, he just knew and would get up with me. So, I know a real super hero who doesn’t need a cape or magical powers.”
Now, there’s another four-legged hero in my home. His name is Timmy. Timmy is a 14-year-old terrier mix without teeth, limited hearing, and a collapsing trachea.
Like our veterans, Timmy is a hero. He spent most of his life living with a veteran with PTSD. Timmy’s veteran described PTSD as “an illness that rudely takes one out of the moment into a painful past. Anything that helps keep one in the present or helps bring one back to the present when in a dark place is of great help.”
Timmy helped his veteran. When his hero would go into dark places, Timmy stayed present. Timmy gave his veteran a reason to get up every morning.
In 2013, Timmy’s veteran suffered two dramatic episodes. First, in February, Timmy and his canine brother were left alone in the apartment for ten days. They did not have food or water.
Then, last week, Timmy was found running around in downtown Salt Lake City on a busy street.
Timmy’s veteran was admitted for long-term care.
While parts of the story are tragic and heartbreaking, I see this as Timmy’s Time. Like our veterans, Timmy’s been a hero. Like his veteran, he has PTSD.
Timmy arrived in the Hooker Horde one week ago. He bonded with me quickly. Timmy is most comfortable when he can see or feel me.
When I go for a run, I return to the sound of Timmy barking or howling. He worries that I won’t come back.
Through the rescue, Canines with a Cause, Timmy has become a Canine with a Cause. He’s worked so hard. He’s a hero. Now, it is time for me to take care of him.
I put my hand on Timmy’s heart at night and tell him, “You are safe. You are warm. You are dry. You will always have enough food. And, you are loved. You’re my hero. Relax.”