Faith and Honor
Posted by Jennifer Petre on August 9, 2011
Faith: meaning hope and belief in goodness. Honor: fairness and integrity. Combine them together and you have love and loyalty….
This story reminds me of an old sang my mother used to say; “Never judge a book by its cover”
I remember that day at Michigan Humane Society, we were there a week ago and back to look at another dog. While in the room with that other dog, a black blur went by the door. “Let’s look at that dog” Donna pointed. And in wagged a stinky, chubby black mess….she helicopter twirled her tail and nudged her nose right in Donna’s face! And out the door we walked with a dog that normally wouldn’t have been my first choice. (We all have certain breeds or looks we like, mine is a big block headed bully breed). So I was unprepared to be taken in by this sweet soul…
Honor, a big name for this little dog. But she lives up to it perfectly. She is the most well balanced dog I know. Quickly nicknamed “Vet Cat” by one of our veterans. You know, the cat at the Veterinarians that is allowed out and greets everyone when they come in? Yup, that was Honor alright. And within weeks she was losing weight and ready to pass Canine Good Citizen. Honor was more than ready to meet her Therapy Human….
Air Force Veteran, Faith Harris. I was wondered if we would receive a woman in our program. I mean, woman didn’t serve in combat, right? And Air Force? Maybe she was flying in a plane and got shot down? Faith Harris was assigned as Security Forces to an Army unit. Multiple tours including Iraq. When meeting Faith it is clear, it is not about man or woman, no difference in which Military branch…..but another Veteran who served our country (*understated*)
Faith wasted no time in getting plane tickets to come meet/train with her dog. Picking up Faith from the airport, we were allowed to have Honor meet her at her gate. It was like a reunion with old friends. Their connection so complete that I could have turned them right around and sent them home with no additional training…..
Hona, drop the r and add an a, with Faith’s Boston accent, quickly became her new name. I loved it! The change in Hona was immediate, she was more playful and even sassy at times. We took Faith and Hona to the lake wondering how she would be in water. With Faith living by the ocean, they went to the beach often. Well, I believe it was Hona that pulled Faith into the water….swimming naturally back and forth, using her tail like a rudder. She looked like a Otter. She then became Honor Otter. Within the first week Faith and Hona worked so well together, that they were ‘neutral dog’ in part of 2 other dogs Canine Good Citizen tests. This confidence and motivation encouraged Faith to ask to become a trainer so she can go back home and help train other Veterans dogs. Faith+Honor=Pride.
I got a call from Faith 5 days after returning home. “Something is wrong with Hona….. she isn’t acting right…..walking in circles, wont lay down, starting to whimper”……Faith took Hona to the Emergency Vet Clinic on a Saturday night at 9:00. I paced my bedroom for the next hour…..what was going on? she couldn’t be sick, she was just seen by the Vet, did she eat something? A bowl instruction? Terrible thoughts and worry raced thru my head….then Faith called to say: “Hona has swimmer tail!!!” …..apparently she had a little too much fun swimming in the ocean that day and she pulled a butt muscle……