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Most people are aware that dogs bond with people, but have you ever seen how Dogs Create Healing Bonds? When I had pneumonia as a pre-schooler, my Cocker Spaniel mix named Raisin, would stay on the foot of my bed and could not be forced to leave. She left only when needing food or water, or when nature called. It really brightened my spirits, and I have no doubt she favorably affected my recovery. I had never thought about the mental aspect of these healing bonds until I read the following story by Annie Gabbianelli O’Reilly in the online weekly edition of the Bangor Daily News. She describes in depth how Dogs Create Healing Bonds with soldiers in war zones:
It’s not every day a soldier returns from war with a dog.
But for two soldiers from Winterport, not only did they bring dogs home from Afghanistan this past summer, but these dogs have created an emotional and healing bond with these men that will be with them forever.
“I love B right to death, and it’s nice to know there is someone else in the household going through the same thing that I am, so I know I’m not the only crazy one here,” chuckled 22-year-old Army National Guard Specialist Matt Cooper. Cooper and B have found a bond of healing as they both endured mortar and rocket fire while in Afghanistan.
For 29-year-old Army Sgt. Adam Hesseltine, the bond with his dog leaves him lost for words. “Rene (Ren-ay) was there for me to take care of when I was in Afghanistan,” he said in a quiet voice. Holding the now 14-month-old dog on his lap, he claimed, “There was just some kind of emotional connection between us; that’s all I can say.”
Reflecting on the day that he met his new mate, Hessletine said, “All the Afghani kids would always beg for pens, so they could write on their hands. One day I teased them and said, ‘Why don’t you give us something; how about a goat?’”
But he didn’t realize that one of the kids could speak English, and soon after, a goat was in fact offered to the soldiers. That’s when Hesseltine asked for a dog instead, and the next thing he knew a tiny pup was tethered outside the soldiers’ Strong Point-Compound and was originally named Renegade after the platoon.
This multi-colored mutt wasn’t what the soldiers had hoped for in a guard dog. “She made a terrible guard dog,” said Hesseltine with a soft smile. “Sage Kooche (the breed like B) can be very defensive, but she didn’t bark at anything; she was too docile.”
Rene’s fault actually became her biggest asset as the little pooch’s lonely whimpering plucked at the soldier’s heart strings. While Rene was positioned at her guard post with a cloth rope, she often broke lose. Hesseltine admitted his role in the great escapes. “I tampered with her leash because she would whimper every time I tried to leave her, so I just made it look like she was so strong that she ripped her tether,” he said….
I had always thought of Raisin’s dedication to me as simply physical and emotional, if I thought of it at all. But after reading this, I realize it was probably the mental bonding that was so strong between us.
Read the rest of the story here about how Dogs Create Healing Bonds.
There are no doubt many of you that have witnessed or experienced such healing bonds. Share with our readers below!