I know that there are a ton of studies out there that discuss the benefit of service animals. There are guide dogs for individuals that have lost their sight, there are assistance dogs that open doors and pick up items off the ground, there are even animals that are trained to be an early warning system for epilepsy. And then there are the therapy animals. We, veterans, need a purpose. We need a mission. Without that we can wander, sometimes to some pretty dark places. Mr. Darin Welker, an Army National Guardsman, found his therapy animal in a flock of 14 ducks. There is a mission here although it may be hard to see. Darin has a responsibility now to care for these animals, provide for them, and protects them.
Read Mr. Welker's story HERE
I don’t know if this therapy can be quantified but if it keeps you out of those dark places and doesn’t interfere with others, I don’t see the problem, and hopefully the township of West Lafayette, OH will feel the same way.
This story takes me back to one of the more odd stories from my time in Iraq. Our team was set up at the Ramadi Agriculture College, just east of Ramadi. As you can imagine at an agriculture college there were several building dedicated to raising animals (though they had long since been abandoned). One random day I was walking over to the Headquarters building and I heard a noise that was recognizable but so out of place that it surprised me. I went in to the building to see for myself what I thought I had heard.
In this enclosure there was the scrawniest chicken I had ever seen. On the floor next to it was a dead chicken that looked no more than a day or two gone. These enclosures were chain link and easily could hold much larger animals. Seeing this little guy, I didn’t give him good odds on making it, but I kept hearing my grandfather’s voice in the back of my head. “If an animal is sick or injured, do something about it. Get them better, or get it over with”. It would have been easy to snap that chicken’s neck and move on about my day, but this was Iraq. Stuff was dying here so fast I thought, here’s ONE I know I can fix. I disposed of the dead chicken and cleaned up one of the adjacent enclosures.
I put down some fresh water and for the next 4 months I fed that chicken whatever I could find, to include some millet and seed that I found in a market just down from our base. Now, the guys on the team will tell you that when we went out on week long missions we would came back and I would go check on the chicken. It acted happy to see me. Every time. Silly city slickers!!