When I heard it was Veteran’s Day, I was convinced that my syllable-challenged friends were mispronouncing a day dedicated to the pet healers of the world. When I learned that it had to do with brave men and women who had fought to defend the great United States, I realized that I was the one who was challenged — historically that is!
Now, it’s no secret that I’m proud to be American. After all, my slogan for last week was “WAG the VOTE.” All of this puppy pride, though, pales in comparison to my latest therapy visit, where I actually got to meet a United States WWII Veteran. I was so moved by the experience that I can’t help but share some of his story! Mr. Robert Thiem was just 24 years old, with a wife and three young children at home, when he deployed to and fought in the Pacific Theatre in 1944 (for you mathematically-challenged folks that makes him a spry 92 years old, or just over 13 dog years). He came back, and in April 1945 he with his fellow servicemen stood at attention along Pennsylvania Avenue during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s funeral procession.
Not only is Mr. Thiem one of my human heroes for his dedication to his country, but I also look up to him (literally and figuratively) for his amazing and impressive family legacy. With four children, 15 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great-grandchildren, Mr. Thiem is the oldest of five generations, with six of 11 of his own brothers and sisters still alive to this day. When I asked him how I can make it to 13 years (the average age of the Labrador breed), he said, “Eat what you want, drink what you want, just do it all in moderation.” I guess I should keep listening to my mom, because she says the same thing!
Anyway, I am so thankful to have met such a lovely and inspiring Veteran, and for bringing a smile to his day. From my heart to yours, thank you to all our Veterans for your service and sacrifice!