How disabled is disabled enough? It's a short question that can be plagued with a variety of different meanings and interpretations. However, the answer to the question is of extreme importance, because while being 'disabled' can provide benefits for some, not being 'disabled enough', can cause an immense struggle for others.
In America, parades, fireworks, food and fun-filled gatherings on the 4th of July are a time-honored tradition. For some Americans, particularly combat veterans, Independence Day is anything but fun. When deciding how to celebrate America's birthday this year, keep our veterans and active military members in mind.
Another mundane day in the office; stocking patient rooms, prepping a few IV lines because our intel is that we had 75/25 chance of getting rocketed tonight, sweeping the Iraqi dust out of our makeshift aid station, when suddenly my heart starts pounding, tears spring to my eyes and I feel out of control.
The holidays offer ample opportunity to curl up with your Service Dog and catch up on some reading. One of the books on our reading list this year is A Lowcountry Christmas by New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe. This Christmas novel features Service Dogs, a Veteran with PTSD, a family in need of help, and tons of feel-good moments perfect for the season. Learn more about A Lowcountry Christmas during our interview with Mary Alice Monroe. A Lowcountry Christmas Service Dog Book Overview From the inside of the book's cover jacket: As far as ten-year-old Miller McClellan is concerned, it's the worst Christmas ever. His father's shrimp boat is docked, his mother is working two jobs, and with finances strained, Miller is told they can't afford the dog he desperately wants. "Your brother's return from war is our family's gift," his parents tell him. But when Taylor returns with PTSD, family strains darken the holidays. Heartbreak and financial stress threaten to destroy the spirit of the season until the miraculous gift of a service dog leads Taylor, his family, and their community on a healing journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Interview With A Lowcountry Christmas Author, Mary Alice Monroe AP: What inspired you to write a novel centered around Service Dogs? M: When I was volunteering at the Dolphin Research Center in Florida I worked with Wounded Vets. One of them had a Service Dog. He told me how much the dog meant to him and how it woke him from his nightmares. “I love my wife, but I need my dog.” You can bet that line got into the book! One day his Service Dog, a black Lab, walked up to the edge of the dock while a curious dolphin kept bobbing up to look at him. The dog walked closer and closer and finally, they touched each other! It was a tender moment. As a result of that fond memory, I tried to emphasize the bond between a Service Dog and Veteran. AP: What has been your experience with Service Dogs? You mentioned Pets for Vets in the book. Is that an organization you have been involved with? What is unique about their approach in terms of partnering veterans with Service Dogs? M: As I wrote above, I worked with Service Dogs through the Wounded Warrior program. In South Carolina, I researched Service Dog programs in my area and discovered Pets for
Veterans Alternative is a Holiday, Florida based organization that specializes in providing services to Veterans who are experiencing symptoms of PTSD caused by their time in combat and/or military sexual trauma. They also welcome Veterans who served in support of combat, and the Veteran’s family. Veterans Alternative offers both daily programming for local vets and week-long Veteran’s retreats for eligible Veterans (out of state Veterans are welcome), and both opportunities are Service Dog friendly!
Dogs For Our Brave is a 501(c)3 organization based out of St. Louis, Missouri. They place Service Dogs with veterans in all 50 states at no cost to the veteran or their family, and they cover the cost of caring for the dog for the team’s entire working life. Twice a year, they have an Open Enrollment period for the next class of dogs. Fall 2016’s Open Enrollment is in progress now, so if you know a veteran in need of an Assistance Dog, pass this info on!
A&E will premier their docu-series, “Dogs of War” on Veteran’s Day, 2014. The docu-series is a collection of stories of dogs and Soldiers, stories of salvation, the salvation of dogs being rescued from a shelter. The same dogs go on to rescue former soldiers that have been medically retired, and are having significant trouble “coming home” and reintegrating into mainstream civilian society.