“With many service dog organizations, you get the dog, and that is the whole deal. It’s a great deal, but it’s the whole deal. With VMF, the veteran gets VMF. ”
– Veteran Rachael with service dog Jug
My dog, Jug, fed me last week. The true-believers won’t doubt this for a second, but the skeptics will need a bit more story and back-story. I understand. So, here goes: Jug, my beautiful, brilliant boy, has stayed by my side as companion and caretaker for the past two years.
Summer 2016, a year and a half after VMF blessed me with Jug, the greatest gift in my life, I left the dry Arizona desert for the wet-blanket heat of Wilmington, NC. Prior to departing AZ, I vetted the local VA clinic in Wilmington as thoroughly as I could, asking the clinic about a neurologist and a physiologist for complete TBI care, which I was assured they had. Well, they had a clinic, but not for two years. So, when I had a TBI relapse in September, three months after establishing my Wilmington household, I found myself without access to adequate medical care.
Months later, guided by the wisdom of the VMF team, I realized I needed much more than my area VA was willing or able to provide. So, to Northern Virginia I came. Since November, I have gotten care from the best the Department of Defense and the VA have to offer, but it hasn’t been easy. VMF has come together to support me in ways I never dreamed when I applied for a service dog.
So, back to Jug. My last marathon-migraine began on Valentine’s Day. Jug watched me suffer and suffered with me. His brow furrowed; his eyes showed deep consternation. When I hadn’t eaten in days, he decided he’d had enough. As I sat on the edge of the bed, my boy strode purposefully (and somewhat pridefully) into the room, something held gently in his powerful jaws. He tried to drop a damp bundle into my lap but had trouble getting it past his front canines. I relieved him of his prize, laughing to see that he’d brought a Saran-wrapped piece of cornbread from the kitchen counter to me. My dog fed me, and I love him for it. Now you have the whole story.