Hello to everybody,
I must begin by thanking everyone for their amazing support and all of the wonderful comments on the website and the new Facebook page. When Sarah, from Injustice Anywhere asked if they could create a Facebook page for me I was hesitant. I have never seen a Facebook page and, admittedly, don’t fully understand how it all works. But for that matter, I’ve never seen a website, laptop or smartphone either. However, since the Facebook page was created I’ve been told of the many people who have left the most extraordinarily supportive messages. I have also been told of the messages from some special people from my past who I thought had forgotten about me. Every night, on the phone, Lisa reads me your personal messages and conversations; with tears in our eyes we talk about your beautiful words of support and encouragement. Your comments warm our hearts and bring us strength and hope. Personally, from us to you, thank you.
I want to take a moment to send a special hello to some old friends, Randy, John, Tina, Jimmy, Heather, Patricia, Steve, Manny & Becky, Christine, Melissa, Richard, Laurie and Mitch. I love you all. It’s been wonderful to hear from you. I have been told of your support and kind words. It touches me deeply. As I was read some of the old stories you shared on Facebook and the website I smiled warmly. It brought me back to happier times. Thank you. I miss you all.
I also want to tell everyone about a very special event I had the privilege to attend. We had two more dogs at the prison graduate the NEADS dog training program and be placed with clients. Honey, a yellow lab, and Eddie, a black lab, were placed with veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The two veterans came into the prison to meet the men who trained their dogs. In a “meet and greet” event, attended by all the men in the dog program, Correctional Officers and other staff, and the Superintendent, these men came to thank US for OUR service. Amazing! Meeting these men, both Army veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was awe inspiring. They spoke about their multiple tours in the Middle East and the disabilities they returned home with. Both soldiers explained how their new service dogs will give them more freedom and mobility in their daily lives. Moreover, the companionship and confidence their dogs give them, they explained, is immeasurable. One of the veterans, with tears in his eyes, told us about his combat experience and how it often leaves him debilitated. He explained to us that his new service dog, Honey, already senses his trepidation and moves in to bring him comfort. The other veteran explained that he wakes in the middle of the night with night terrors, but Eddie jumps on his bed and reassures him that the perimeter is secure.
I consider myself privileged to have met these men and I am honored to have played a small part in providing them with a new service dog and lifelong companion.
Dancer’s training is going well. She is now nine months old and progressing steadily. Dancer now knows all of the obedience and task commands and we are now working on proofing these commands in different areas and with distractions. I continue to be proud of her and will update you on her progress.
To my family, my daughter, and Lisa, I love you all and miss you very much. Thank you once again to everyone on the team fighting to bring me home. I never lose hope and faith because of all of you. Every day brings us one day closer…