Emotional Support Animals

Republicans Introduce Bill to Get Puppies for Veterans

Currently – an emotional support animal is a companion animal which provides therapeutic benefit, such as alleviating some symptoms of the disability, (Such as PTSD.) Emotional support animals are typically dogs, but may include other animals. A person with a verifiable disability can be prescribed an emotional support animal by a physician or medical professional, and will be afforded protection under the United States federal law.

These are the legal aspects of emotional support animals. But, from the personal aspects of the veterans who have known life with an emotional support animal, it has often been a life saver.

My son, a marine wounded in Iraq eleven years ago, has had an emotional support dog, Rocco, from the time he was released from the hospital, and assigned to a house on base with his wife, at Fort Sam Houston Army Base in San Antonio, TX.

Rocco died a few weeks ago. When Aaron called, it was to let me know a member of our family had gone. We had seen Rocco aging, but still, we were not prepared to let him go…

As we talked about how Rocco had been with Aaron through so much of his life, we were amazed at how that marine dog had been there to help Aaron through some pretty tough times, as well as the good. Unconditional love between those two was evident to all.

The companionship of a dog can make the difference in a veterans decision to keep moving forward. Rocco had been with Aaron through years of surgeries, the birth of his two children, a devastating divorce, and the challenges of becoming a single parent. His 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son never knew a time in their lives when Rocco wasn’t with them.

Rocco was with Aaron when nobody else was around, the silent times, the hardest times. He was there when Aaron struggled with the emotional and physical pain from injuries sustained during his service in Iraq. Rocco was there when he was filled with joy and pride as he brought his daughter, then his son, home from the hospital. And he was there through the devastating dissolution of his marriage shortly after the birth of his son.

Rocco stood with him as they watched over those two children when Aaron took on the full-time job of being a single parent. At Christmas time there was always a stocking hanging on the mantle for Rocco too. He was there as Aaron’s children grew and went off to school each morning. And sat at attention next to him, as they stood in the front yard watching for them to appear around the corner on their way back home. Both greeting them as if they had been gone for years and had crossed the Sahara desert to reach their destination.

This marine dog has earned his stripes, and a salute for a job well done. This world needs more Rocco’s to stand by the side of our warriors. I ask that you support legislation in your states, as well as at the federal levels, to recognize and support the importance of the need for these special companions to our heroes.

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Rocco, you will be missed…

NOVEMBER SPECIAL

DO YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING AND GIVE BACK TO VETERANS!!!

For every one of my books purchased through Amazon, or myself, during the month of November,

$1.00 will be donated to THE BOB WOODRUFF FOUNDATION

and $1.00 will be donated to OPERATION MEND

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THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR–PAPERBACK ONLY

A MOTHER’S SIDE OF WAR–PAPERBACK OR HARDCOVER

Contact me by email- alwaysamarinemom@yahoo.com or text-(405)818-7490

THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR – A MOTHER’S SIDE OF WAR

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THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR and A MOTHER’S SIDE OF WAR are the same book, but under different titles. I decided to offer the book under this other title in order to raise awareness that this is a book about healing after war. It doesn’t speak only to mothers. It is a story that warriors, spouses, and older children can relate too. Those from all walks of life will relate to this family that has been affected by war. The warriors are not the only ones who have been injured and must find their own place of healing. Families, friends and communities have been forever changed by those injured while serving.

This true story was written with the intent to help those who are hurting. As well as to educate those who don’t have a military connection, and have no idea about the hardships that our heroes and their families are going through on a daily basis.

I have released both titles in paperback at cost, $5.00 plus shipping, if purchased through me at alwaysamarinemom@yahoo.com.

There are several organizations who will be giving the books out at Christmas, retreats, and adding them to gift bags at fund raisers and year end meetings. Others are ordering just for themselves.

Please consider gifting this book to those you know who may need a look into the world of our wounded, and the remarkable, heroic, efforts of people who are eager to help. The message is “You are not alone,” to those who are in the midst of their own post war lives.

Please spread the word.

Waiting, Waiting, and More Waiting

Exert from The Other Side of War pg. 16. (It was 24 hours after Aaron was injured in Iraq. He is in Germany, where they are stabilizing him to be transported to Brooke Army Medical Center.)

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It was Thursday evening, and I was sitting on our back patio, thinking, crying, hoping, and conversing with the night wind. Only a few months earlier, my three children’s voices had filled the night air, with the joking around and laughter only the young seem to express so unflinchingly. I wondered about Aaron’s medical needs and if he was on a respirator, or if he did not need one. Was he aware of what was going on around him, or was he kept unconscious? Did he know how much I loved him and how it was tearing me up inside, not being with him?

As the early morning sun slowly began to touch the clear, peaceful sky, all I could think of was that Aaron’s eyes mimicked that same cool blue color. I sat there with the phone held tightly in my hand, waiting anxiously for the next call, even though I knew I would not hear anything until he was ready to be transported from Germany to San Antonio.

The Lord had already assured me He would not take Aaron’s life, so the thought of getting that phone call wasn’t even in me…

KISS

May 11, 2005 – near Al Qaim, Iraq

When the roadside bomb exploded, tossing the 26 ton vehicle 10 feet in to the air, my son, marine combat correspondent Cpl. Aaron Mankin’s first reaction was to gasp, inhaling smoke, heat and debris.  In addition to the damage to his lungs, Aaron suffered second and third degree burns on his hands, arms and face.  He had his goggles on, which saved his eyes and forehead.

Six weeks later – Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX

Aaron’s voice was barely a harsh whisper after the intense heat of the explosion had seared his vocal cords.  The one word he would whisper to me over and over was “kiss.”  I would never hesitate, knowing I almost lost the chance to ever kiss him again.

Once he was moved out of the Intensive Care Burn Unit and onto the main burn ward, visitors were free to come into the rooms after obtaining permission from the patients.

One visitor Aaron agreed to see was an army general with his son, who was also in uniform, and two of the general’s staff members.  They entered the room when I had stepped out, and I was unaware of their presence until I walked back in.  Aaron’s back was to me when I returned, and I stood just inside the door, listening and not wanting to interrupt.

When he became aware of my presence, Aaron raised his arm, motioning for me to come to his side.  He looked up  as I came close and whispered, “Kiss.”  I leaned down and did as he asked before being introduced to the others in the room.

The general and his group quickly said their good-byes, and as he walked up to me, I noticed tears in his eyes. He hugged me with the desperation of a father, not a general, who had just seen the reality of what his own son might face one day…

Are you ready for what you may one day face?

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