Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shazam - Act of Service

For the last few years I have heard my Dad mention taking Shazam ( our family dog ) to the VA clinic in Livermore through the Pet Therapy Program. Shazam has always been a snuggly... bouncy... and lovey dog, while her health hasn't been the greatest my dad continues to take her to visit men and women who have served our country well. I wasn't quite sure what to expect as I loaded the kids up and headed out the door to an award ceremony for Shazam and other dogs with their handlers. I was a bit taken back... as I saw channel 5 news there to cover the story... followed by a congressman there to share a few words... and finished with the Vice-mayor of Livermore who gave certificates and metals to the dogs for their hours of service. The part of the day that got me thinking the most... wasn't the "big" names there... but it hit me how important the pet therapy program is when as each dog was given their award a veteran shared a few words of how each specific K-9 had impacted their lives... Some of these Combat Veteran Soldiers could barely complete their words as they were overcome with emotion. For these Veterans... man's best friend offered to them what many people couldn't - unconditional love and affection. Many of the Veterans who are visited by the furry friends have had life altering injuries and the dogs are able to meet an element of companionship. I was proud of my Dad and his commitment to bring Shazam to the VA clinic as a small thank you for the incredible sacrifice our military people have given.
I was also challenged in my thinking... I think it is so easy to go about our days and enjoy our lives... our families... our homes... our incredible freedom and not stop to think about how it is that we are able to enjoy such things. We are able to enjoy such things because men and women... make heroic sacrifices everyday.

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