‘Making a Difference Makes the Sadness a Little Easier’

“My grandfather served in the Navy in World War II. I spent a great deal of time with him, and we were really close. When he came home from war, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He re-lived his combat over and over. It finally took his toll, and he took his life when I was in college. I know how real it can be.

“My husband is a history teacher, and his grandfather was also in the Navy in World War II. I’m a special education teacher, and I teach a group of young adults who have intellectual disabilities, and we learn a lot of life skills. We cooked a meal and took it out to LOV. It was a great opportunity to teach kids about veterans. After that, we decided to try fostering. Our first dog was Maggie. It ended up being a great experience for my special ed students. She really honed in on their needs. My son, whose 13, has decided through this experience that he wants to join the military and work with dogs. It’s been really cool seeing him develop skills and love for this type of work.

“Today, I have a wall of pictures of every dog we’ve fostered and an album on my phone of every dog. It’s been a good experience for my family to give back and do something that is meaningful. Everybody says the same thing: How in the world can you give them up? I’ll be completely honest. There are a lot of tears. It’s hard. But when you see these dogs really making a difference, it makes the sadness a little bit easier.”