6 years ago Liberty a 6 week old puppy who turned out to be the best thing for a combat Marine who was having issues with transitioning into civilian life. And before I knew it, Liberty and I were connected in a way I’ve never connected with a dog. She lifted my spirits, slept next to me and watched over me like a guardian angel. As our bond grew, I grew, and as I grew, our bond deepened. She could tell my emotions, when I was happy or sad, and knew exactly what to do and when to do it. The unconditional love and companionship helped mold me into who I am today. For a Veteran, a companion like Liberty can only be described as a comrade in arms, a brother, someone to help feel more comfortable in their surroundings and essentially your soul mate. Liberty helped guide me through 6 years of anger, emotion, ups and downs, the good times and the bad times. Once liberty was certified by This Able Veteran in Carbondale, Illinois, I traveled down to train with her, which when I first saw her, I was so proud of what she had accomplished. When we came back together, she lit the fire underneath my feet, how attentive and loving she was, (It was a long 6 months). But as I realized after I arrived back to Michigan and began using liberty to help me outreach to other Veterans did I see her outreach to other Veterans that had some of the same tendencies as I. It dawned on me; God put her in my life to not only help me, but to open the doors for others to get help. Many times as I was speaking to VFW’s or American Legions, Liberty would key in on a few Veterans and I would let them pet her, she’d lick them and 9 out of 10 that Veteran would thank me for Liberty making their night better. I think back at how many Veterans where affected by Liberty, and I am saddened on how many didn’t get to meet her. That day in Pennsylvania when Liberty slipped and fell on the ice, we didn’t think anything of it for an hour until we could tell something was wrong. Liberty loved Semper Fi Odyssey, thirty combat Veterans to nurture and love on, to help those Veterans and Marines gain the courage to take strength in what they’ve accomplished. It was Liberty’s third time and last time, after testing at the Animal hospital, turns out Liberty’s liver was two times the size it was supposed to be and when she fell, the cancerous nodes in her liver ruptured. Out of all of this, the positive side was finding out this way insured my family could say good bye and I could say good bye. I transported her home and after careful consideration and the fact I wanted her to die at home we decided to do the inevitable. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I thought about it like I was pulling the plug on my companion or soul-mate. The doctor came up to my room where Liberty and I were sitting on the floor, started filling up the needle. I turned on the Marine Corps Hymn as he injected her. She died a war hero, my war hero. She helped me fight the demons created in war (ptsd) and showed me a better path to take in life. I like to think she is now up guarding Heavens Gates with my buddy Zach waiting for me to cross a long time from now. She will never be forgotten and will live on in my heart forever.
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