Ahh yes Bear and I have made it home!
Flight out there.. Was good. Had a little bit of a layover in ATL but nothing we couldn’t handle. I can tell a HUGE difference now when I fly and have Bear. Who can not feel at least a little sense of calm when having your best 4 legged friend curled up at your feet?? We had a tad bit of an issue with the Super Shuttles dispatch person regarding Bear. She kept telling me he had to be in a crate.. lol! I just kept telling her he didn’t and finally I was put on hold and I assume she asked someone and she came back and said it would be fine.
Hotel was very good, but they are a pet friendly hotel to begin with so that made it easier. Just around the corner from us was a park but Bear felt much more comfortable with getting busy in the fenced off flowerbeds around the trees… haha! Our room was nice and big and felt more like an apartment than a hotel room!
I discovered very fast that people in NY have a harder time NOT petting Bear than people here! I finally gave up on asking people to not pet him. Some people I didn’t mind (my fellow PTSD Vets… Bear sort of became our group mascot at one point since we all needed to pet him!).
Bear did wonderful in the parade! I think he and my feet were photographed the most. I’ll have to be sure to always have a decent looking pair of shoes on when I go out! He was walking so very proud and you could tell he thought all the clapping was for he and he alone! I am so thankful to have had Bear because without him I don’t know that I would have braved the planes, the city, the people, the chaos!
Bear got to see a Broadway show too! We had no issues there either. Most people didn’t even realize he was in there until intermission. Also, a board member for the Delta Society came up and was talking to us. I wish my memory was better and could remember his name! I thanked him for his contribution to Service dogs and for realizing their importance.
On Veteran’s Day I also took Bear to ground zero. It was so humbling to be there and to see the memorials. We visited one of the fire stations that was right there and looked at their memorial. Looking at the pictures of over 300 firefighters who lost their lives made me so grateful that I was was able to give up so little (I would rather get PTSD from honoring them then to be in their shoes). Looking at their pictures made me realize what we are fighting for. I don’t care about WMDs or any of that… I care about those fire fighters and civilians just doing their jobs, and having their lives ripped away from them. That made it worth it. Just to be there. I raised my right hand and made a vow to defend my country, I knew there was the remote possibility of us going to war (I enlisted pre-9/11) and I still made my oath. They had no clue what would happen to them. I don’t want to get all emotional over it right now, but the point is Bear made this possible.
In closing I would just like anyone who is reading this to do me a favor. If you know a veteran, with or without PTSD, please point them over to http://www.iava.org. It is the organization who not only helped me learn about Bear, but is responsible for all the progress I have made over this past year. It means so much to not be alone. To know that you are not alone in any battle you are in.