Thursday, September 11, 2014

Man's Best Friend

**Note:  Some pictures are SEAL dogs posted by Chris Hagerman (  Others from facebook:  DoD MWD Breeding Program; Donna Culpepper Evans **

So much war, pain and suffering in the world at large.  Too much to take in and make any sense.  More fun to find distractions; focus on pretty words; savor sweet images.

It’s easier for us who have no skin in the game.  When we don’t even know the men and women fulfilling their missions, following orders for someone’s Game Plan.  The people who enlist have their own reasons.  They make a choice, knowing little about what they’re signing up for, but still … making a choice.
But then there are the dogs that are part of the rank and file.  They did not choose.  They are there to work.  Loyal, trustworthy, talented, with super skills and senses, and tireless energy and stamina.  Ready to serve.

The latest favorite canines for battle are the Belgian Malinois, smaller with more stamina than their predecessor the German Shepherd.  With short hair and intelligent faces.  Unlimited energy.  Amazing strength and endurance.
Even as puppies, the faces of the Belgian Malinois are so intent, eyes lit by intelligence, probably expecting there will be sheep to herd when they are older.

If one is a non-violent pacifist, with no personal investment in what has been decided, it is hard to be touched by the remoteness of it all.  Troops all dressed the same in deserts or rocky mountainous terrain, fighting enemies who all look alike.  It is hard to become engaged.

But then … the dogs.  They are another matter.  Those sweet intent faces.  Those willing spirits, filled with unconditional love for and trust in their human handler.

Searching out danger fearlessly, tirelessly.  Dropping from airplanes at unimaginable heights.  Never asking why.  Never doubting the importance of the “work” they do.
I cannot relate to the camaraderie among buddies in this group or that one.  Sharing stories, smokes, snacks sent from home.  Have no idea what goes through their minds as they travel on roads riddled with IEDs, closed up in armored vehicles.
But animals are different.  They know not what the ultimate mission is or why it matters.  They trust … protect … out-run, out-last … eyes open, ears alert, senses on high.

They fearlessly lunge into battle:  into the water; into the crowded marketplace; even falling through the sky attached to their handlers.  Without religious convictions or political opinions, their devotion to their handler and the assignment is pure.

And like their handlers, only some of them come home after a job well done.
"I wish that I could make you see that Heaven indeed is real.
If you could see me run and play, how much better you would feel.
But our loving God has promised me that when the time is right,
You'll step out of the darkness, and meet me in the light."
Last 4 lines of Poem written by Maureen Bauer



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