By Josette Rhodes
As a citizen of the United States we are promised certain inalienable rights; Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness. These are endowed by our creator and guaranteed to us by the Constitution. There are no exceptions. As a country we so strongly believe in these rights that our sons and our daughters, our mothers and our fathers, readily, voluntarily, enlist in the United States Military to defend this freedom. They put their very lives on the line to ensure we can live our best lives possible. Far too often the defense of our freedom comes at a price. We all mourn at the loss of life. The stark, cold unflinching reality of death that comes with battle. While at once incomprehensible, each of us innately understands. But what about the loss of life that does not end in death?
I ask you to step away from the comforts surrounding you. For just a moment allow your mind and your heart to truly imagine being in a war zone. You are young. You are far from family. You are under attack. You are relying on your training. You are relying on the men and women around you that, like you, lived a normal life just a short time ago. Bombs going off around you literally shaking you to your bones. Bullets whizzing by your head. Perhaps you are thinking of your mother, your child, perhaps you are in prayer. Your adrenaline is pumping, you are in a heightened state of awareness that comes only with the absolute fear of death. You see a fellow soldier killed. You look down at where your leg is supposed to be. You are forced to make a decision that no human is meant to make and you pull the trigger to save yourself and your fellow soldiers. You do it again the next day. And again…
Now as you take a deep breath and a sip of your coffee, you can shake away the uncomfortable feeling these words may leave you with. You can go about your day, as you should, all while enjoying the freedoms guaranteed you.
But can those feelings, those images, those living nightmares, those injuries just be shaken off by our returning veterans? Each and every day 22 veterans take their own lives. Twenty two. Many more live with lost limbs, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The common lives they lived, that we so often take for granted, were selflessly given up for ours.
We can do better by our veterans. We must do better. Pawsitive Love Foundation is leading the way in helping give our Veterans their lives back. A 501(c)3 corporation founded in our area by local resident and business owner Steve Kotowske, Pawsitive Love Foundation is dedicated to providing properly trained Service Dogs to children and veterans.
Pawsitive Love Foundation is directly in the middle of the nation’s second highest population of military veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBi). It is a 501c(3) charitable organization with a reach that is only limited by funding. Currently, the organization has multiple dogs placed as far away as California, making it a coast to coast organization. “Dogs are placed at no cost to the individual receiving them, because we believe in giving back. More than giving back, we believe in giving a chance for freedom. Freedom that was fought for, freedom that many enjoy. Freedom that our veterans sometimes cannot find because their own head-space is filled with memories that bind them. Your giving offers that freedom through a properly trained service dog.” – Pawsitive Love Foundation.org
Acclimation into civilian life is fraught with challenges, some seemingly insurmountable for many of our service men and women. Their experiences can not be left at the job. Daily tasks can become impossible, leading to isolation and depression. A properly trained service dog offers the security and freedom needed to simply live.
Join Pawsitive Love Foundation and help save a life. One loss of life is too many; 22 a day is a travesty. Visit www.pawsitivelovefoundation.org for more information and to help support this cause, or call (850) 420-2894.
For additional help, call the veterans crisis line at 1-800-273-8255 press 1.