Yard Guardian and Hope Has a Cold Nose

Some of you may be reading the message below for the second time, for this week’s blog includes a subscriber update to Hope Has a Cold Nose.   This week the two did not feel mutually exclusive.

A guardian of our yard, visiting from another place he calls home. At least, his frame indicates that each night he has another place to go. He isn’t wearing a collar, a barn dweller I anticipate. His reliance on the bounties of nature as his dinner plate.   I call him he, though perhaps the radiant green eyes watch me as she. For my heart, the soul of this dear fur guardian is what I most see.

I do not know his story, though I anticipate his fear is founded on a history. Perhaps he has never been close to humans, or he learned what betrayal means.   Perhaps he caught my attention as my childhood heart remembered our only indoor cat on the farm.   Yes, that is Topper tucked so snuggly in the crook of my dad’s arm.

This little one has been our yard guardian and he has been my messenger, too. He has been teaching me the importance of meeting people where they are at, and not rushing things too soon.   He has been teaching me another view of hope and faith.   And he has been teaching me the power of compassion to soften the fearful hisses displayed.

Step one set out a can of food but don’t try to get to close. Step two see him sprint towards me from down the road. Step three, a little closer with a silent meow thanking me. Step four, nope, too close, retreat, retreat.   Step five, hey, wait, where are you going in that jeep; ok, I’ll sit right here and wait for you.   Okay, you are back, great; now back up lady, over there and give me some room. Step six, a gap of a mere three feet. Maybe tomorrow I can coax this guardian to come near me.

Step seven, the meows now vocal and not silent motioning. Step eight, meow, hiss, meow, hiss, as I reassure him that he is such a pretty kitty. Oh my gosh, I do believe this might just be happening.   Ok, since you insist, I’ll let you do a little petting.

Hearts speak volumes without words if we choose to listen and see.   There are incredible gifts in the hearts that aren’t able to speak “humanly”.   Hope has a cold nose, and hope has whiskers, and hope can also have a mane as evidenced with equestrian therapy. May we continue to find that right in front of us are immense healing capabilities. To paraphrase the wise words of someone who no longer needs an array of prescriptions I only need one medication now and he is in the form of fur and pawed feet.


Dear Readers of Hope Has a Cold Nose,

Reverence is the most sublime attribute of the human soul – David O McKay

At the beginning of this week I had the sacred privilege of bearing witness to a “perfect” rhythm of life. The kind of perfection in which you feel your breath pausing, for what you are observing is so pure, raw, and genuine and pours forth from the deepest respect and gratitude.

At the start of this week I stood in silent tears as a soldier knelt in front of my friend’s mother, the flag pressed gently yet firmly between his gloved hands. Through his most compassionate eyes and his soft voice, this dear soldier whispered ma’am, on behalf of the President of the United States. Then his voice grew softer, matching the silent tears rolling down my friend’s mother’s cheeks. In the deepest sorrow was the most beautiful display of compassion and respect as we all payed tribute to a wonderful gentleman -and veteran – now being laid to rest.

Earlier this month I had another sacred honor of speaking at a Working Dog Station Event hosted by the Gobles, Michigan United States Post Office (USPS). The postmaster was paying tribute not only to military dogs, as commemorated through the USPS stamp issued August 1. The postmaster was also paying tribute to service and therapy dogs who aid veterans on their healing journeys with PTSD.

During the event, I had passed out twenty-two stamped envelopes to an audience of approximately forty-five to fifty people. When I asked all who held an envelope to step to my left, they graciously did so without question. I then explained that this group of willing participants represent twenty-two people who, daily, make the heart-wrenching decision that to no longer live is easier than staying alive.

As members of the audience who didn’t know this statistic absorbed the deepest sorrow of life, in the moment of silence we all held the beauty of compassion for those journeying with pain, trauma, sorrow, and despair. We held silence while two people in the audience paused their breath, for they personally knew individuals who made that heart-wrenching decision that living life was to heavy of a burden to carry.

I had been given the gift of these two dear individuals sharing their hearts with me prior to the event, reminding me that what we read and hear does not just happen “over there”, and that broken hearts do not always seek to be “fixed” as much as they often wish to find safe spaces in which they can stand – or sit – and feel that they are not alone with their grief that defies any words to adequately explain.

That “perfect” rhythm of life we hold sacred, that flows to us the greatest beauty and equally flows the deepest pain. Yet, in hearing about the deepest pain, I continue to witness the incredible strength and beauty of the human soul to grab ahold of hope and not let go. With one hand holding on to hope, these strong and radiant souls bravely hold out their other hand to help others. And how beautiful it is when hope is in the form of fur and paws!

Strong and radiant souls inspiring others to not give up, like the ones you will find visiting these links below:



From the deepest sorrows of wars, we can find the most beautiful gifts of love.

May we all remember the words written by Robert Ingersoll. We rise by lifting others.  



P.S. The manuscript for Hope Has a Cold Nose now contains thirteen stories, with an additional story soon to be written. Recently someone wisely suggested to me that Hope Has a Cold Nose should contain twenty-two stories.   If you have a story of how your service dog has aided you on your journey with PTSD or if you know of someone who would like their story included in the book, please contact me at ckhred30@gmail.com.

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