Though it was incredibly difficult saying goodbye to Bear, our wonderful German Shepherd, this past spring, I know the importance of continuing to live life to its fullest. We are all on this earth for a short period of time – and I appreciate the cycle of life, even though it is tough saying good bye to those we love, as well as the wonderful times and places as we know them.
Dogs will always be part of my life, because I know for me, they are critical to not only my sense of well-being, but also to those around me. I would also like to think we humans contribute to dogs having rich and fulfilling lives.
And so, with September being National Service Dog month, I’m looking forward to contributing in a new role as Puppy Raiser for the non-profit, Canine Companions for Independence. They provide specially trained dogs, free of charge, to individuals who need assistance living independently- children and adults with disabilities, as well as vets. They also work in a health care, visitation, criminal justice, and education settings.
I have always had dogs in my life and as a result, have an understanding of the impact they have on us all, improving our physical, mental, social, and emotional health. Scientific studies back this knowledge up, proving pets benefit us in all aspects of our well-being, as well as just bringing us joy.
At this point in my life, I also feel lucky. I have overcome challenges like most of us, as well as have made sacrifices and comprises along the way—including as an Army wife and mother. But I want to make a difference in new way that is personally fulfilling. I believe when using our unique experience to help others, the work is even more rewarding than the act of contributing to a greater cause, in and of itself.
As part of the military family, I have experienced how good it feels to be part of something larger than myself and make an impact indirectly. However, being invested in a day to day program by using my own initiative and skills, I believe will be a more intimate investment—and a special connection with those wanting more independence via a specially trained puppy.
Though I appreciated growing up with the German Shepherds, bred by my dad as part of the AKC, and have enjoyed the adventure of having family dogs, I am looking forward to making a difference in this new venture.
Get ready for some puppy posts in the next few months!