Golly, Miss Molly
A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD
(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)
Molly woke me from a sound sleep. Her claws dug into my sides and her body quivered on top of me. I tried shoving her off but she held tight. With a flash of light and crack of thunder, she dug her head under the blankets.
Molly is a steady, protective animal. Her behavior with the storm seemed uncharacteristic. Never before had she shown this behavior, which worsened with hail, rain, and snow that pounded our home, all at the same time. William helped free me but she jumped right back up. We had no peace that night.
I thought about making her a cape that would work as a blanket of her own and could be pulled over her head to hide from the elements. How funny that only the night before, I considered making her a cape to recognize her heroic service dog status.
Two days after the April storm, Molly came to William’s rescue when he fell from a ladder. The following day, she helped me stand after a fall and stayed with me the rest of the day while I struggled with dizziness. She restored herself in my eyes and now I am thinking the cape should be a hero’s cape, again.
A Hero’s Cape for the Warrior
When our men and women choose to go to war, we honor them as heroes—so brave and strong. They are heroes in war and give everything to fight for our freedom. War takes everything from them but yet many return to the battle field, extend their service when asked, and keep giving. In every respect, these individuals are heroes, deserving our respect, gratitude, and even a hero’s cape.
A Cape to Cover the Head
Once our warriors return home, dysfunction sets in. The trauma of war shows up as impatience, anger, irritability, sleeplessness, inability to maintain relationships, depression, and many other symptoms. As their lives unravel, those who were once close to them, distance themselves. The Veteran’s reaction to loud noises, crowded spaces, fire, and other triggers cause others to view them as something other than a heroic figure. In fact, many Veterans are treated with disdain and disgrace even though their behaviors are a direct result of fighting for our country. Instead of a hero’s cape, there are those who would give them a blanket to hide their heads not understanding the cause of their post-war reactions.
In the movie, Battleship, named after the Hasbro game, sophisticated aliens attack the earth. The war occurs over US waters where the enemy destroys our battleships. With no more battleships remaining, the young Lieutenant, who finds himself in charge of the battle, heads for Pearl Harbor where the USS Missouri languishes in mothballs as a museum. He calls upon the retired WWII Veterans to fire up the ‘boat’ and join the battle, telling them they likely will not survive. Every Veteran salutes and answers the call to service without consideration for his own life.
I know that if our country needed or called our Veterans to take up arms to protect our homeland, they would respond and report without consideration for their own lives. Even though our treatment of Veterans leaves them shamed, shunned, and some even homeless, they are American warriors and will always be those heroes ready to serve again if called upon.
Decidedly a Hero’s Cape
As for the Veteran, the decision is easy. They get the hero’s cape. Once a hero, always a hero. We cannot take that from them.
In Miss Molly’s case, I have decided that I’m going to make her a reversible cape. I will embroider one side of the cape with a Saint Bernard wearing a flashy red cape similar to Underdog. On the reverse side, I will line with fleece and embroider a lamb in the arms of The Great Shepherd to give her comfort in a storm.
Either way, both our Veterans and Miss Molly deserve the hero’s cape with a soft, comfortable underside to carry them through the storms of life when they need a bit of comfort.
Post your Comments:
Has your pet or service dog displayed uncharacteristic behavior? What did you do to give your pet or service dog comfort? Please reply below.
About the blogger
Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.