Thank you Mark for showing us this side of your life!

Ft. Benning, GA: Our son’s wonderful ol’ hound, Jessie is hugged by children whose fathers are in Company formation waiting for deployment to Iraq, many for second and third combat deployments. He’s a nine year veteran. Like all of his dogs, she was rescued from a shelter, he believes in giving an unfortunate pooch a good life, says that he is the one blessed by them. In poor health and a bit older than most, Jessie was nursed back to health, they were always together.

A familiar scene on base on and off duty at Ft. Benning, Jessie was a friend to all, a virtual magnet to children who’s hearts were hurting.

We brought her home during this deployment and we enjoyed her more than words can convey, like Mark’s Sprite.
On Dec. 7th, Pearl Harbor Day in the wee hours she died with my wife and I stroking her and telling her what a good dog she was. We had her on meds for a congestive heart condition but it apparently was far worse than we knew. She raised her head one last time to attempt to look at us and slipped away. Needless to say, our Christmas was over, it was all we could do to function, knowing that we also let down our son so far away and the only comfort was that Jessie died with two old folks that dearly loved her. Daily walks, rides to the post office, belly rubs had all come to an end, our sweet tail wagging friend who had comforted us so much during hard moments in our son’s deployment was gone.

Of course, he was crushed but he was concerned about his aging mom and dad too, said to hold on, he’d find another special friend–he has a knack for sure but that’s a long time away. Like Mark, we have a hard time going in an animal shelter without coming out with 50 dogs but we’ll see, we need a little more time though. Jessie’s dog tag that reads “PFC Jessie” and “Hooah!” (after all, she was a soldier’s dog you know) hangs from the picture frame with one of our favorite photos of her along with two other friends under a special gift my wife made, three framed photos suspended under a long bone that reads “Good Dogs”, and they sure were…

Ron from TX