Dear Gunner,

Gunner, My Battle Buddy…

You entered my life at such a trying time. I just returned from Iraq. The world I had known before, my entire life, no longer existed. Life in a combat zone had become normal for me. And this great country, along with its freedoms and liberties I fought to protect, had become so foreign. I was emotionally numbed by my experiences and could not tell you what I enjoyed in life anymore. I left my beautiful wife, and two young boys, all of whom I so desperately loved, only to return unable to feel or express my deep love for them.

I felt my world was falling apart around me and I didn’t know why. I didn’t feel safe anywhere. Going to the grocery store, my children’s school…even a simple walk in the neighborhood was mentally exhausting. I had recurring nightmares that bothered me long after they ended. I desperately needed help. And then you arrived and gave me hope. You have my back everywhere we go and make me feel safe in places I once avoided. You remind me every day that there is good in this world and there is love. You show me how to forgive and forget and help me relax in times of stress. Most importantly, you bring a ray of sunshine to my family and me. You mean the world to us! While words can never truly capture how important you are, I want to say thank you, Gunner, my friend. With every gentle nudge and with every attentive move, you help me realize that while combat is horrific and will always be part of my life as well as the lives of all service members who’ve answered the call of duty, it does not define who we are.

Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Fla.


  1. Kristen says:

    What a wonderful letter! Thank you for your service and for protecting our country. I am glad you had a furry friend to help you through the difficult times.

  2. Joseph says:

    Thank you so much for your service for all of us. Glad you got a furry friend to help you through your difficulties.

  3. Joseph says:

    Thank you so much for doing what you have done for us as a country. I am so glad you got a furry friend to help you through your difficulties.

Speak Your Mind