Dogs have been members of the military for many, many years, but they weren’t always seen as soldiers. At least to the leadership.
During the Vietnam War, when the troops withdrew, the dogs were left behind as ‘surplus equipment.’ To this day, that fact haunts many of their handlers, who knew without a doubt that these loyal canines were nothing short of soldiers themselves.
It is not an easy job. More than 500 dogs are deployed serving the military at any given time. They protect, serve, give emotional support, and sometimes die in the line of duty. Up to 5% of canines are thought to suffer a canine form of post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Fortunately today, attitudes towards military dogs have changed. Military canines are recognized as fellow soldiers, who are treated when injured, retired when done with their work, and thanked for the sacrifices they make without complaint.
Our veterans give so much and are so humble about what they go through in service to the country. I have so much respect for the sacrifices they and their families make every day. One day doesn’t seem like nearly enough to honor you.
Thank you, to the men, women, and canines of the armed forces.
If you’d like to see some amazing images, check out NatGeo’s Dogs of War gallery.
I was certain when I had kids that my motherhood chip would finally kick in, that I would finally start to react to babies the way I reacted to dogs and cats. Because surely that maternal instinct in my heart had merely been misdirected all these years, and was simply in need of a little oxytocin and fine-tuning to point it to the appropriate species upon which I should lavish my affection.
Now my kids are 11 and 9 and I can say this with absolute certainty: not so much.
Don’t get me wrong: I love my kids, I love being their mom, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. Well, I could, especially on certain days when the attitude is dialed to 11, but I much prefer it the way things are.
As in, I don’t want more kiddos and never have. When my friends go into Babies R Us to pick out a shower gift, they sigh and say, “Don’t you miss those days?”
And I, inspecting the newest Diaper Genie version and wondering if it would work for cat litter, reply honestly: “No.” I was exhausted and overwhelmed the entire time from 2004-2011 or so.
When I see a pregnant woman waddling by and others remark on her glow, I think about how sweaty she must be, or if her bladder hurts as much as mine did, or if she has complete strangers lift their hands up in shock and go “WHOA!” when she turns around in her ninth month of pregnancy with a 9 pound son and they get a glimpse of the battleship of an abdomen.
Motherhood has changed me in some ways: I look at people’s new babies and I smile. But I don’t need to hold them. I am so, so, SOOOOOO much more compassionate about people with babies on planes. I hold doors for parents with strollers trying to get through. That sort of thing. And I look upon it with nostalgia, but not a lick of longing. No pun intended.
When I was getting my hair done a while back, a woman came in with a duckling. I lost my head at the cuteness and almost lost my hair too because I kept jumping out of the chair to squee. I went home and tried to get my husband, once more, to agree to raising a couple chickens (he said no.)
A woman at my gym brings her chihuahua in on occasion. I never get anything done when she does. (My husband has also said no to a chihuahua.)
The point is less that he said no to more animals and more the fact that I want them, the way I imagine some mothers must see a baby sleeping in a stroller and say to herself, “Oh, I wish I just had one more.”
This morning as I was walking by a cafe, I spotted a family with a black lab sitting at a table about 50 feet away. The dog and I locked eyes, and before I knew it I was on the ground laughing getting dog kisses as the family grinned. I don’t remember how many people there were or what they looked like but the dog was a boy, black labrador, about 50 pounds, with a blocky head and the tiniest bit of grey peeking around his muzzle. He is 9, his name is Brock, and he likes to lay down with his legs splayed behind him.
As I lamented about my hopelessness to my friend Jen, she remarked, “You just have a fuzzy heart is all.” And I think she’s right.
I’m also pretty sure it’s genetic.
I have a theory. I think that when we get a pet, they grab a piece of our heart and give us a bit of theirs in return. It’s how we will find them on the other side. And the older I get, the more pieces get replaced; my heart is getting furrier and furrier, and it’s made not only of my own pets but the clients I adore, my friends’ animals I have loved, the strangers like Brock who know just where to find it.
Another puppy-fix today. Here’s little ‘Biggie’ again doing what a Jack Russell does best – exploring and having fun.
Dear Amazing Veterinary Technicians of the World,
It’s sad that you only get one week to celebrate you and all that you do. The unsung heroes, the client counselors, absorbers of abuse, veterinary emotional support offerers, and in general people without whom these clinics would fall to pieces.
I’d like to offer to you this week an open apology for the transgressions of my past years.
- I ate the last M&M. I’m sorry. I know now you probably hadn’t eaten in 12 hours and really needed it. I also know you figured it out and let it slide.
- I actually wasn’t being helpful when I said I would clean that kennel. Thanks for being gracious. I saw you go back in later and do it correctly.
- When you couldn’t hit a vein and asked me to and I said “Try again! Practice makes perfect!” that was only because I knew if you couldn’t hit it, there was no way I could.
- I now know that your gentle suggestions are not really suggestions. I should have listened the first 15 times you were right.
- If it were not for you I would have walked into 45 exam rooms with my sunglasses on top of my head.
- When I left the room after that really hard euthanasia to “see my next appointment,” I went into the back to cry and left you alone with that sweet elderly lady because you were better at this stuff that me.
- For all the times you took care of me and looked out for my mental well-being, I rarely did the same for you. If I did, it wasn’t enough.
These days I work solo, and to be honest every day I head out I wonder to myself if I couldn’t come up with a business model that allows me to have you along. Because I need you. As I sit in a living room looking in horror at a vein that will not cooperate, I need you.
When I see a little kid making a beeline for the syringes and I only have two hands when I need three, I need you.
When there is a mess and I need to be graceful and take care of it with no one noticing instead of asking the owners if they have any paper towels, I need you.
When it’s been a rough afternoon and I could use a friend to talk to, I need you.
You all are the heartbeat of the clinic. Thank you.
I went hunting this evening. I didn’t see anything until about 4:45, when I heard the leaves been churned up to my left. I have the left window on my blind zipped up, because that window points up in the woods where the deer can see me if I move. I have the blind right on a well-used game trail, and I knew it would be just a matter of time before the deer thrashing around in the brush to my left trotted out in front of me.
A little doe soon trotted out, and she was followed by a six-point buck. He availed himself to me, and I took the shot. I aimed for the heart, but I he must have moved just as I pulled the trigger on the crossbow.But the rage broadhead still went through his heart. He ran less than a hundred feet before he dropped.
As my dad and I dragged him out of the brush, we came across a big ten-point that was tracking the doe that the six point had been tending. While dad went to get the tractor, the big buck came back and circled me. I snort-wheezed at him, and he stopped and tried to wind me for a few minutes. He then marched into the nearest thicket and began rubbing his antlers against the trees. I had taken out a little weenie that he’d have to beat up tonight.
I can’t go deer hunting again until Thanksgiving week, when the rifle season comes in.
So the big one is safe.
But this is still a nice little buck.
I’m part of a group on flickr that gets a challenge every 2 weeks… This time around the challenge is minimalism. So off Coulee, Marlin and I went to the university where there is a pretty cool sculpture thing I thought we could use. It is nothing like what I normally shoot, but I quite like it!
Our PawZaar Rescue Tote made a stop in Rockefeller Center this week! This has been a whirlwind of a week! On Monday, I flew to New York to take part in the Better with Pets Summit; my trip was…
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