Editor Bob Supports Our Veterans

Hey there,

How are you doing? Are you enjoying the weather these days? How was Easter for you? (If you celebrate it.) Mrs. Bradley’s annual Easter Egg Hunt was terrific. I mean, there’s nothing like watchin’ kids running around really happy on a sugar high. The sight of Rachel, my niece’s baby doll face covered in chocolate really warmed my heart. I wanted to be a kid again! I’m so glad that April’s almost here, too. That reminds me, Steve pulled a prank on me last year on April Fools’ Day that almost gave me a heart attack.

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  April Fools’ Day [Apr 1]

I had important deadlines that I needed to meet. I was writing some articles on my computer–all my research was stored on the hard drive and I thought I lost all of it. I couldn’t get it to work! I pleaded, cajoled and banged on the computer but nothing would start. It also happened to be April Fools’ Day. Then, I called Steve to take a look. Being the genius geek that he is, he fixed my computer by changing a couple of parts.

He was really bummed out that he couldn’t pull any geeky pranks at the office. Of course li’l ol’ me with a crashed computer was his perfect victim. I had to go to the bathroom to wash my hands after helping him fix the dusty computer. When I came back the computer was up and running–so I sat there and tried to open my files–but the mouse would not move! I was freaked out–I mean if Steve had fixed it, it should work. “What’s wrong with it now, Steve?” I asked in disbelief. “Everything should be working, I fixed ’em all,” replied Steve confidently. And I believed him. “But I can’t move the mouse!” Steve came over and he moved it and saw that it didn’t move. “I’m sorry Bob, I think your computer has had enough of you.”

“Whatdaya mean, it’s had enough of me? I thought you fixed it!” I was getting really upset. “See Bob, sometimes no matter what you fix, the computer just gives up.” What a load of crap I tell ya! I was really, really upset at this point–I mean, my whole reputation as a writer was on the line here. I started throwing papers and almost threw the monitor from the desk. I bet you also have those days at the office when you just want to throw the computer out the window! But this was me on a Sunday–the day I’m supposed to be relaxing instead of trying to meet deadlines and fixing my stubborn computer, which apparently got “TIRED” of me!

Steve stopped me in time and said, “Wait a minute buddy, let’s check the mouse…” All this time, I was so stressed out that I didn’t check the mouse. There was a small Post-it note attached at the bottom–just a little tiny one right on top of the infrared light. “APRIL FOOLS’!” shouted Steve. I was so mad I plunged at him and almost strangled him like Homer does to Bart. It was a good thing that Megan was there. She came and pulled me off Steve.

I didn’t speak to him for the remainder of lunch. Steve apologized of course, again and again, laughing every time. Megan said that we were both really juvenile. I think I was mad mostly at myself for being stupid enough not to check the mouse. After some thinking, I realized that it was a harmless joke and he did fix my computer. So I forgave him. What are friends for right?

Encouraging Friends

Talk about friends and Megan, she’s not doing so well these days. She called up the other day to tell me that she lost her job. Everyone is trying to be there for her as much as we can. Megan and I decided to have dinner last night to talk about things. She wasn’t her usual happy smiling self but she still has her sense of humor. I don’t think it’s just the loss of income or other benefits like health insurance and perks that worries her. It’s also a psychological loss. I mean when people talk about losing jobs, they act as if it’s the person’s fault–that he or she didn’t work hard enough.

Well, Megan’s not like that. She’s one of the hardest working people I know. And it wasn’t just her that lost a job–the whole firm closed. It’s very hard for a young person, knowing that you have all these abilities and you know you’re capable of stuff but you don’t have a job anymore. We talked about a lot of things, how she came to New York, having a big dream. Landing up at her first gig and learning the ropes of office politics. She’s worried about the economy the way it is now–she might have to go back home and live with her parents. She doesn’t want to be out of a job for a long time.

I told her, “Think about your career too. Like what you want to do–don’t jump into the first thing that comes along.” She agreed. We talked about some freelance stuff she might be able to do. I also told her about Adrian’s job–he caters. They have flexible schedules but it pays the bills. “Ya, maybe I’ll do that and catch up on projects I’ve always wanted to do on my own.” That’s the thing about Megan that I love–she sees the positive side of any situation. She wanted me to take a look at her resume and give feedback. I’m going to do what I can to help her with her job search. I also told her to go to a professional career counselor since they can give better advice on how to present her resume and where to apply for jobs.

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  Pet Therapy For Veterans

I’m glad I can be there for Megan. I’m also glad that Kong is helping people. He finished his training and he’s officially a pet therapy dog now. He was really eager to get into action. I walked into the hospital and introduced myself and Kong at the front desk. Kong was an instant hit, wagging his tail and smiling at the nurses who cooed at him. One of them scooted around the desk, kneeled down and hugged him with a great big smile. She shook my hand, introduced herself as Laura and told me she’d take me to the ward. As we were riding up in the elevator, Laura cautioned me about what I was going to see. I began to feel a bit concerned–what had I gotten us into?

The doors opened up onto a ward of beds, each one with a disabled soldier in varying stages of recovery. It was kind of quiet, just the sound of medical machines and a TV tucked in the corner. What struck me first was just how young they all were. I introduced Kong to the guys and they greeted us warmly. The guy to my left motioned for us to come on over. He patted the bed to get Kong to jump up. Now, Kong’s a big dog, but he popped his two front feet up, then quickly hopped up, straddling the guy’s body. Kong turned to face him, as he brought his two arm stumps over to rub Kong’s head. His arms had been amputated just below the elbows. He was so happy to be petting a dog. The smile on his face matched Kong’s wagging tail. He was chatting away to Kong and started talking to me about how much he missed his dog back home, the whole time petting Kong who had settled down alongside the soldier in the bed. We chatted on about what made him enlist, what happened to him in Iraq and what his plans were for the future. I asked him if he felt this was worth it.

“Lawd, yes, sir,” he said. “I saw a lot of things I wish I never seen over there, but I don’t regret doing what I did for my country. It ain’t perfect, Lawd knows, but we got so much more than most, it’s the least we could do. I didn’t make the supreme sacrifice–two people in that humvee did, so I consider myself lucky.” The whole time Kong lay there trying to get his tummy rubbed.

We walked around visiting each soldier, listening to their stories, asking them questions–some were easier to talk to than others, but every one of them wanted to spend time with Kong. I think that having Kong there to focus on really helped them talk about things more easily. The nurses said that petting dogs is a little like physical therapy, too.

I started to reflect on all the raw emotion in the room and what these guys had done, and how I don’t think I have it in me to what they did. It was a little overwhelming. I realized that these kids had made life-changing decisions, putting others ahead of themselves to do a job no one wanted to do. I have a great life and that wonderful life came by the price paid by people like these in this room. I took stock of my life and promised myself that I had to start making a difference by helping others in any way I can, even if it makes me uncomfortable. I never felt less important than I did in that ward at that moment. I think if the female GI saw us she’d be really proud of us. But she was transferred out to California. Hey maybe I’ll go visit her when I go back to visit my folks.

Laura came over and said it was time to go. I couldn’t believe that two hours had passed by so quickly. I was sorry to be leaving. On the way down in the elevator, Laura told me about another pet therapy dog that comes in regularly who is also disabled. She was found on the street with a broken leg that had to be amputated and was later adopted. I want to be there next time to meet that three-legged dog!

Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month [April]

“It was a good thing that the dog was found,” Laura explained to me, “or else she would’ve died from loss of blood or infection. She must have been hit by a hit-and-run driver.” It’s sad to hear what people do to animals. Kong was also an abandoned puppy too so I know how it feels to find a dog without an owner, collar or tags on the street. Then you get attached to it because in the back of your mind, you know that they’ll be putting the poor dog down if they don’t have room for it. So I took Kong home, and now he’s my best friend.

Remember Seth, the guy Megan was going out with and torturing with her cooking over the holidays? Well, Seth’s a veterinarian and he’s doing this big drive at the animal clinic to educate people about cruelty to animals. He told me stories of what some people do to puppies, cats and dogs. If you ask me, some of this stuff is just sick. I mean how can people do this to a poor defenseless animal?!

“Next month is the Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month,” said Seth. “Tell your friends and neighbors about animal cruelty and spread awareness. Make sure your pets have enough food and water–not having that available to them is also a form of cruelty.”

This week’s Zen quote comes from Henry Bergh who founded the ASPCA in the hopes of preventing cruelty to animals. He said, “Men will be just to men when they are kind to animals.”

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Editor, 123Greetings

3 thoughts on “Editor Bob Supports Our Veterans

  1. Thank you Bob. You do good work. I liked the visit to hospital with Kong. We recently had to send our Sophie off to happy dog land. She got a cancerous anal tumor. Vets couldn’t do anything for her. She was a beautiful all white German shepherd with a loving pesonality. Always hurts to lose a loved one. Best regards, Tom sr.

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