#boise #idaho #spirit #mindfulness
It’s not often when I encounter an organization that has no downside, whether it’s a commercial enterprise or a non-profit.
So when I recently learned about Pets for Vets, a group that matches shelter pets with American veterans in need of a canine companion to help build the confidence needed to get around in the world or just provide some friendly company, I thought this is as close to a perfect organization you can get.
After servicemen and women leave the military, many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury and as a result are at risk of developing problems that can become life-threatening, despite receiving significant medical and emotional assistance from the government and veterans groups.
And that’s where a dog can work wonders.
Here’s how the Pets for Vets website puts it:
“Medical studies have shown that companion animals significantly improve mental and physical health, including reducing stress, depression and anxiety, symptoms experienced by many serving in the military.”
But not only the human part of the equation benefits; in many cases, the dogs that are teamed up with veterans in the program have come perilously close to succumbing as well, since the canines in the program are pulled from shelters, sometimes only hours away from being euthanized simply because of a lack of space.
After the dog is rescued, a professional animal trainer works with the dog in order to become the perfect companion to a veteran who needs a friend and in some cases, a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
In a big way, Pets for Vets helps veterans and dogs rescue each other. And indeed, there’s absolutely no downside to that.
Photos provided by Pets for Vets.
The first I heard about the terrible Colorado flood was through a text from my younger son, with a photo of the ground floor of his apartment complex — underwater. He was safe. But for a second there, time froze and my heart flip-flopped.
As I write, at least six people are believed to have died in the floods and hundreds remain unaccounted for. More than half a year’s worth of rain fell in one week. The National Weather Service called the deluge “Biblical.”
Everyone across the country is talking about how the weather is changing. And the weather is changing because the climate is changing. Our weather is unfolding in the context of a warmer Earth, caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Climate scientists have shown that extreme rainfall, more likely as the Earth warms, is already becoming more common across the country.
The more informed we are, the more effective we can be in pushing for change.
One of our moms and colleague in Boulder, Vickie Patton, talked about the surreal conditions there, with helicopters ferrying people to safety and clouds bursting open over and over again. But she also talked about how moving it was to see people banding together, and to feel the outpouring of human caring and cooperation.
We do not have an ark. This Earth is our ark. We are at the helm. Now.
That small moment I had of my heart in my throat, wondering if my child was safe — that’s what we should all be feeling, as we think about a world of extreme weather ahead, the world we will leave to our children. Meanwhile, our hearts go out to everyone in Colorado.