When I opened Facebook this afternoon, I found a request to become a Fan of the Kootenai County Dog Park Association. Of course I did.
I remember well the fun Bacchus and I had when we still lived in Rochester, New York. He was just a puppy then and his favorite playmates were the Labs who played fetch in the river. I more often than not went home with a very soggy doggy.
Other dogs have a more noble calling than Bacchus did in being my constant companion for nearly ten years. Some, like Gunner, are called to duty for their country. They can suffer the same fate of our soldiers though their job is to minimize it. Especially when it comes to road side bombs that they are trained to sniff out.
Many are Labs and they're very good at what they do. Though a far cry from going hunting with their human buddies, it's a game for them. Except for Gunner. He's suffering from PTSD. A dog? Why not?
Like the humans who train them, they're on the front lines of the war. If they fail and are not themselves killed, they witness all sorts of horror. Just like their human companions.
We know what it does to the men. They live with memories that sometimes last a lifetime. They can have recurring nightmares. They can be spooked by loud noises; become recluses . Some never recover. Why not a dog? They say they pick up on our moods, our fears, why not the horrors of war?
Gunner will not be asked to sniff out more bombs. It's tough enough to get him to leave the safety of his kennel. His handler is hoping he can can help Gunner shed enough of his demons to just be a good pet.
It's the first time since we lost Bacchus the Hub was moved to comment, "I don't really want another dog but I'd take Gunner." Unfortunately the sounds from the gun club down near the airport are probably enough to spook him.
Wishful thinking aside, somehow I feel the wars have gone on way too long when even the dogs suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD, for our furry friends, should be an acronym for Pats, Treats and Snuggles for Dogs!