Patton meets his namesake
Posted by Jennifer Petre on August 10, 2011
The story of how we got this wonderful dog named Patton is an incredible story of love. The man in whom we named this dog in honor of, Army Specialist Adam Patton, is a legacy that will live on in a unique way….
I wrote to Sandy Orr Kottre only days after her receiving the news of her son’s tragic death…..I debated on writing her, knowing a little of the shock and grief she was feeling. I also understand the need to hang on, to keep the memory alive in others. I was prepared that I wouldn’t receive anything back from Sandy for awhile, if ever. But I needed to have her permission to name this special dog after her special son before I could make it official. Sandy replied back that night…..needing to reach out understandably, but neither of us knew where this would lead….We have emailed back and forth over the next month, strangers connected in a shared tragedy, unspoken but understood. There is a sad and unique bond from these ‘Gold’ Star families…..a group you do not want to be a part of, but one highly respected.
Sandy and her family, originally from Michigan, were going to be in town and wanted to take sometime to come by the Barracks and meet Patton and his new family. I was excited and honored to host them and made plans immediately. On Sunday Sandy and her family met Patton and his handler Eric Brown (and his family)…
I have been crying all weekend just thinking about meeting her. The timing of her visit came on a weekend where 31 Military Veterans were killed…….31 more lives lost, 31 more shattered families, brothers and sisters, and friends…..bringing my emotions even more to the surface, knowing this all to well….
Sandy walked first through the door…..which I am sure took a lot of courage and emotions on her part. She was followed by her two daughters, Emily and McKenna, the tears started then. My thoughts have been solely focused on this mother and her grief…..now the full implication of the their loss was staring right at me, two little innocent girls who lost their big brother…….big tears were welling up causing my vision to blur. In an instant, Patton, who was at the other side of the room, turned right around and immediately walked straight up to Sandy and her daughters…..it was like he knew….. it wasn’t just a dog getting new visitors, it was one dog going straight to where he was needed. Sandy and her daughters dropped to the floor, Patton kissing them, Sandy hugging Patton for dear life…..time stopped….
We spent the next two hours talking, laughing and crying. Sandy brought her family, including her brother and sisters families too. The room full of more people than we have ever had. Patton playing his role perfectly, he went from person to person, leaning in hard like he was hugging them. It was a lot of attention a lot of energy in that room, but that didn’t bother Patton.
The Brown family, Eric- Patton’s handler, sat quietly observing, knowing the impact of this meeting and honoring it. Eric told them how people ask him if his dog is manned after General George Patton and he tells everyone, No…he is named after Adam Patton!!! Telling the story is part of my objective and here the Browns are upholding that. You are an amazing family and I thank you for that. ….
Saying good bye was hard. Sandy hugging Patton long and hard as she turned to me saying: “Thank you…thank you for giving me hope” Yes, a part of Adam Patton lives on through Stiggy’s Dog Patton, the legacy in his memory and the honor for all involved. The Browns, not having a birthrate for Patton have chosen a special an appropriate date……November 13th….the same as Adam….