This is a real-life story of gratitude from someone who seems to have little to be thankful for. Our hero is a wounded, combat veteran who suffers from chronic PTSD. But that’s just the start of his story. The plot gets worse, even as it fosters hope.
You see, Don (not his real name) recently received a diagnosis of cancer. Unfortunately, the cancer is spreading. The final outcome has yet to be determined, but a gloomy diagnosis is not what has Don most concerned. Don’s greatest fear is how the cancer might impact his faithful service dog, Bailey.
Bailey has been glued to Don’s side since the two were united following the death of Bailey’s previous human companion. For months, Bailey sat in a cage at the Humane Society, not responding to anyone. Then one day Don showed up, and Bailey found a new mission in life.
Four years later, Don has found a mission of his own. “I don’t want to call attention to myself. I’ve got a lot more to be thankful for than most who have been injured this badly. I just want to make sure Bailey is taken care of if anything happens to me.”
The injury Don speaks of is a broken back suffered from jumping out of an airplane while serving as a paratrooper and sharp shooter with the U.S. Army. Don’s PTSD resulted from losing his entire troop, except for one “brother,” in the jungles of Cambodia. Just a few months after returning stateside, Don lost his wife and 18-month old son to a drunk driver. Not surprisingly, he never fully recovered.
Yet even through back-to-back losses, chronic pain and his current fight with cancer, Don somehow manages to remain thankful.
“As veterans, we learn from the beginning not to focus on what we don’t have, but on what we do have, and what we do with it. I will do whatever it takes to protect Bailey, because I know God wouldn’t have given him to me only to take him away.”
Don continues, after fighting back emotion. “Bailey knows things aren’t so good for me, but he doesn’t know what to do, except to stay close. This dog is the only thing that keeps me from breaking down.”
Don’s story and his spirit of gratitude in the face of so much adversity has been an inspiration to us at PeakBiety. We’re sharing his story in the hope that it might inspire others, too.
Don’s not expecting anything in return. Bailey’s future has now been taken care of, should the worst happen. But as we know, Don could still use a better roof over his head and a vehicle to get back and forth to the hospital for treatment. We’re fairly certain he’d welcome help if someone had a solution to offer. If you are interested in helping veterans like Don, go to this link.
We hope Don’s story evokes gratitude among all those who read it. May your Thanksgiving be filled with the love of family, friends and perhaps your own special companion animal.
We know how thankful we are for friends like you.
from your friends at PeakBiety