Hero Dogs and Pets in Space
Today in the U.S. is Veteran's Day. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Well, actually, it was last week. A website glitch prevented this from posting until I noticed it today.] I love Hero Dogs (don't tell my cats). I also love Pets in Space®. Here's why Hero Dogs and Pets in Space are the perfect match.
My family and loved ones served in the military. My grandfather was a general, and my father was the third generation in his family to attend West Point. My late partner served in the Air Force. They were all lucky enough come back with war stories that got better with time, instead of injuries that didn't.
Modern medicine has come a long way in saving lives. Injuries that would have formerly killed soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and guards are now survivable. Firefighters, police, and emergency services personnel survive life-threatening damage. However, where healthcare could use some improvement is in supporting these everyday heroes after the fact. Civilization has made wonderful advances, from architecture, to computers, to sidewalks. But they're all designed assuming people can get around without help.
Major injuries require long recovery and finding a new normal. Sometimes that's with assistive equipment, or therapy, or accommodations. And sometimes, a little extra help from a service dog.
That's where Hero Dogs shines. This charity raises and trains service dogs to pair with a disabled veteran or first-responder, free of charge. The dog's job is to improve their human's quality of life and achieve independence. When it's hard to get up in the morning, or hard to imagine anyone could love a damaged body or mind, the dog's love can make all the difference.
Hero Dogs also trains dogs for facilities and therapy. When my father's brain disease took away his words in his final years, visiting therapy dogs and cats gave them back to him for brief moments. I hope someone brings therapy cats to me when I need them.
So how does this relate to Pets in Space? In each of the stories, the main characters have problems to solve. From saving themselves, or saving each other, or saving the galaxy. And in each of the stories, pets are there to help. Sometimes overtly, like Lassie saving the adventurous but accident-prone Timmy. And sometimes as a catalyst, like when my moth-chasing cats knock things off the table and I find the envelope I was looking for.
For example, in my story, Escape from Nova Nine, the captured prisoners learn that when the resident griffins panic, it's time to run. Plus, griffin antics can make a grim day in an illegal asteroid mining operation a little more bearable. Or maybe even help the prisoners escape.
Pets don't have to be trained to love us, and save us. They enrich our lives, and can be our personal everyday heroes.