Most of us think of dogs as pets, and so they are, but they are so much more. Dogs know when their master is sick, lonely, or worried. Dogs ask little of their masters, and give so much back, but there is a group of dogs who are working dogs. In fact, we often see dogs in everyday life and think little of their presence, when in fact, their work is vital to those they work for. One of the most well known working dog groups is the K-9 Units. We think of these dogs as police dogs, and so they are, but originally, the K-9 Corps were founded in World War II. Of course, dogs were used long before that war, but not in the capacity of World War II.
The Romans used dogs in battles, sending them in to attack the enemy. Native Americans used them as pack animals, as well as sentry animals. Even in the Middle Ages, dogs were sent into battle equipped with their own armor. Modern European societies had long established traditions of using dogs in war. But, I think that their use was probably made most famous 77 years ago, when in January of 1942, Dogs for Defense, Inc. was established as a national organization to help procure dogs for war training purposes. Although some dogs were acquired through purchase, it was largely through the dog owner population’s patriotic sentiments that most dogs were acquired for training. That really amazes me. I understand patriotism, and how people would volunteer in the service, but it seems strange to me to volunteer your dog. Nevertheless, they did. It was the job of Dogs For Defense not only to procure the dogs, but also to train them. Once trained, the dogs were to be given to the Quartermaster General, who then turned them over to the Plant Protection Branch and Inspection Division. Many thought the primary use of dogs would be as sentries for civilian war plants and quartermaster depot, but dogs have proven to be a much more.
There are dogs that can sniff out drugs, gun powder…and the enemy. The DFD trained over 10,000 dogs. Most of the dogs were used at home for sentry duty, however, more than 1,800 dogs were sent into combat starting in 1942. The US Marine Corps sent over 1,000 dogs to be trained at their Camp Lejeune facility. Unfortunately, many commanders were unfamiliar, and maybe a little distrusting of the dogs, and didn’t know how to use them to their advantage. Seven Quartermaster Corps War Dog Platoons were sent to the European Theatre of Operations, but they did not have much success, probably due mostly to the lack of training with their handlers. In 1943, the QMC sent a detachment of six scout dogs and two messenger dogs to operate in the Pacific Theatre. This was a test of their value in combat conditions. The Japanese troops had deeply entrenched themselves on many islands in the Pacific theater of operations. Thousands were hiding in caves and in the dense jungles. They would lie very still, in wait for patrolling Marines and soldiers and then ambush them before the troops ever detected enemy forces. This is where the dogs proved their value. The first war dog platoons took to the Pacific island of New Britain. Here Marine war dogs attached to the Sixth Army first worked on sentry duty. Once a beachhead was established the dogs and handlers began conducting their patrols. They went on forty-eight patrols in fifty-three days. The dog patrols captured or killed 200 Japanese soldiers. This early success of war dog platoons set the standard for what could be expected, and what could not, from a K-9 detachment. I think that the more training given to both dogs and handlers, the better the results will be, as we have seen in K-9 police dogs in modern times.
A fireman…it seems to be the every little boy’s dream, and my grandson was no exception, but what has made him the exception is the fact that he has gone through all the training to actually become a fire fighter, and he never faltered. Josh began his journey while he was still in high school. He was in his element…immediately. Josh had some wonderful mentors along the way, all of whom made this dream interesting and who confirmed his destination. They helped Josh to know that his dream was the right dream for him.
Through the Boces program, Josh started his studies while he was still in high school, and then has continued his studies as a full time college student, achieving his Associates Degree in Fire Science in one year of full time college instead of two. His is looking forward to continued study to become a Paramedic, and he will also be looking into getting hired by one of the local fire departments. He is so excited about that prospect that he can hardly wait. I suppose it is the same with any course of study. You have learned the things you need to know for your career, and now you are just itching to get at it. That is exactly where Josh is right now…standing on the threshold of his future.
I have always known that Josh would make a great fire fighter/paramedic, because of the aptitude he displayed as a young boy helping to take care of his great grandparents. He was very meticulous, gentle, and caring. When Josh was helping, they always felt at ease, knowing that he would follow directions exactly and would always be careful with them. Josh has always had a heart for caregiving, and firefighter/paramedic falls right in line with caregiving, so as a career choice, it makes perfect sense. Today is the culmination of Josh’s dream and hard work, as he graduates with an Associates Degree in Fire Science. Congratulations Josh!! We are so proud of you and all your hard work!!
This past year found my niece, Lacey Stevens with a change of scenery, when she left Supercuts and moved on to the Ulta Beauty salon. Lacey is a wonderful cosmetologist with an awesome flair for the beautiful. When Lacey cuts your hair, it’s not just a cut, it’s a style upgrade. Lacey has cut and styled the hair of many of our family members, and they come out looking amazing.
Lacey has been at Ulta Beauty now since March of last year, and it has been a wonderful year for her. She has made some wonderful friends in her co-workers, and has recently been give a promotion. She works with a great team of people and they all have a great time together. If you like the people you work with, it’s like you don’t work at all…you hang out with a great group of friends. And it doesn’t get better than that. Lacey has her own special style…in hair and in makeup, and she is very talented. While I think her hair cutting skills might be something she was born with, I think her makeup skills took a little practice. Of course, I’m picking on Lacey a little bit here, because that’s chocolate on her face, and definitely not makeup. Nevertheless, it is a very funny picture. Of course, it was her first birthday, and she had a great time covering her face with chocolate. These days, you wouldn’t find Lacey sporting that look…ever!!
Lacey is very social, which surprises me a little bit, because as a little girl, she was very shy. She had a small group of people she was close too, and a larger group of acquaintances, but as far as mist of us knew, Lacey was still pretty shy. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but somewhere between junior high school and now, Lacey blossomed into a confident, and apparently, no longer shy, grown up woman. She has taken trips for training for work, which may not seem like much, but for a shy person…and I would know, going to those meetings, training sessions, and continuing education are nothing, if they aren’t stressful for the shy person, but as I’ve said, Lacey has changed a lot over the years. She has no problem talking to people these days.
She has gone from being a cute little shy girl, to a beautiful cosmetologist who knows how to make others feel beautiful…not to mention look beautiful. And she is at kids at the right age to embrace the latest in hair color…wild colors and marveling. Now I’m probably never going to try these, but I think it looks cool on the younger generations. Today is Lacey’s birthday. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When I was a kid, dressing up for Halloween was for kids. Things have changed since then and these days you see lots of adults going to parties, teenagers roaming the streets trick or treating, scaring kids or just acting weird…and of course, there are still the little kids doing their usual thing…collecting candy. It’s the night when everything is turned upside down. Kids are taken to do things they normally aren’t allowed to do…knock on the doors in their neighborhoods and ask for candy. Of course, most are also, schooled in all the safety tips designed to keep then safe as they go, because lets face it, they are excited, and there is always the possibility of one of them running across the street without really looking first…hence the need for watchful parents.
It’s much different today, than things were in my day, because while my dad always took us out trick or treating, we didn’t have to be worried about the candy we received. We made a haul. In fact, we took a pillowcase to collect our candy in, knowing full well that we would almost fill it up, and sometimes we even had to go home, empty it out and go out again. These days, kids only go to the homes of people they know…for the most part. Candy must be x-rayed to assure its safety. Many children are taken to places like the mall or to parties. All this to insure their safety in this unsafe world we live in now.
Most of the teenagers either don’t participate, work, or stay at home to hand out candy, but lots of them go out with their friends. One hopes that the majority of those teenagers are not out getting into trouble, but often that is not the case. At least for the troublemaking group. There are still good teenagers, who respect authority, their parents, and their elders. I am thankful that I live in a state where most teenagers are still taught good values, and I wish that was so in all the states in our nation.
This year, my youngest grandson, Josh Petersen is participating in something new for Halloween. Although it is not a Halloween event, it requires him to don a costume, but please don’t call it an outfit or costume, because it has a specific name…bunkers. Josh’s event is not a party or haunted house or really anything that has anything to do with Halloween, but is does require going into a situation that is very much out of the ordinary for him, and strange for us, his family, to think about. Josh is doing fire science training at the drill tower today. The training will include a practice fire, in which real fire will be used…hence the unusual situation involving a building, that most of us would consider a nightmare if it happened in a building we were in. While these are not a real fire situations, it is these training sessions that prepare our firefighters for the real life scenarios they will face on the job. Yes, this is an unusual way for a seventeen year old to spend a Saturday, especially on Halloween, but it is one that Josh will find exciting, inspiring, and a great learning experience for the career he has chosen to take on. We are all very proud of him.
Whatever Halloween finds you and your family doing, I hope you have a great evening, be safe, watchful, respectful, and have fun. Happy Halloween!!
As another Father’s Day arrives, I find myself feeling less and less a part of the day. Yes, my husband, Bob and my sons-in-law, Kevin and Travis are here, and for them we will celebrate the day to honor them, but my dad and my father-in-law are both gone, and so this day also feels a little empty to me. I really miss my dad, and my father-in-law. Both of these men were so inspirational to me in my life, and I still miss their advise, their smiles, and their ideas about things…but mostly I just miss being able to talk with them. I can’t count the number of times I have wanted to call one of them up, and for a second, I almost forget…then reality sets in…they are in Heaven now.
Having taken care of both of these men in their last years, I feel like we had a bond that not many children are given. When you spend a lot of time with someone, you get to know them very well. You know their habits, their sense of humor, the things that annoy them, and the things that make them happy. For both my dad and my father-in-law, nothing is more important than their family. They always wanted their family around them. It gave them great pleasure to know that their children loved them and wanted to be around them. I find myself thinking every day of each of them, and feeling very blessed to have had them in my life for so many years. My only regret is that they are no longer in my everyday life, like they were.
As I think about their great influence on Bob and me, I realize that had our dads not been in our lives, we would not be the parents and grandparents we are today. It was their love for us that taught us how to love our children, and then we passed that on down to our children. They were not our friends growing up, but rather, just what they should have been…our dads. They became our friends later in life. They, along with our moms, disciplined us, trained us, and in doing so, they taught us how to do the same for our children. They taught us how to live in this world, taught us our work ethic, and our love of God and country. Their sense of humor, taught us to take joy in life and not to allow depression and despair to enter into our lives. What a great tribute to them and our moms that all their children grew up and became responsible adults, who do the right things in life. I thank God for them and for my husband, Bob, and my sons-in-law, Kevin and Travis…all of whom are wonderful caring dads, who have blessed us with their love and wisdom. Happy Father’s Day to all of you!!
Little boys want so much to be just like their daddy. They want to do whatever their daddy is doing. Most times they aren’t much help until they are older, but if their dads don’t let them help when they are little, they most likely won’t want to when they are older. It is a challenge for those dads to find suitable jobs for those little boys though. Sometimes all they can do is point to a tool so they can get it for them. It would be much easier for that dad to do the job himself, but that would break his little boy’s heart, and he can’t have that. Of course, as those little boys eventually learn the ropes, and they can become pretty good hands, if they still want to help by that time. A kid with a little training, can learn to figure out complex problems, but a kid with no training, will have a much harder time. So, a good dad will let their little boys help out so they can learn, even if it would be easier to do it themselves, and even if their little man gets annoying at times.
Bob’s dad, my father-in-law, had two sons, and while I can’t say how Bob was as a helper when he was as a little guy, I do remember that Ron, while probably the same as Bob, was a bit of a trial. The men needed to get things done, and yet here was Ron…wanting to help. Bob was born 14 years before Ron, so by this time he and his dad worked very well together. Ron just wanted to be like his dad and his big brother. They tried to let him help as much as possible, but some of the work they were doing was too dangerous for Ron, and some of it was too complex. I’m sure it was frustrating for Ron, and the times I witnessed, I think it probably hurt his feelings some too. That made me feel bad, but then his dad would find a job to do that Ron was able to help with, and that made things a whole lot better.
As the years went by, both of the boys became their dad’s right hand man, excelling in different kinds of work at different times in his life. He very seldom had to hire work done, because if he couldn’t do it, his boys probably could. In fact, the three of them, along with grandsons Barry, JD, and Eric were usually more than enough to get any job done. Yes, even if training the littlest helpers can be frustrating at times, it usually ends up being the best move you can make.
Little boys have always had the same problem…bossy big sisters, aunts, cousins, babysitters…girls. It isn’t that girls like to be bossy so much. It’s that it is part of their nature. Men are programmed to go out and support the family. They don’t get as emotionally involved with the children. I don’t mean to say they don’t love them very much, because they do, but the day to day discipline, training, nurturing…bossing, they have more of a tendency to leave to the women, and that’s ok, because women are geared to that nurturing training, discipline…bossing part of a child’s life. Women have a tendency to be bossy by nature…which for little boys can create a problem.
Little boys expect their mom to tell them what to do, but those pesky sisters are a different story. Who do they think they are anyway? They aren’t the boss, so why is it that they are always making a guy do stuff that he doesn’t want to do? I mean, boys have better things to do than stand still posing for a silly picture. Boys have better things to do than stay clean for school, or some other equally as unimportant event. Boys have things to do, and it just never fails that just when they are all set to go have fun, here comes their older sister again…making them pose for a picture, or sit still when they have things to do. Why can’t they just mind their own business.
In their defense, it isn’t really a girl’s fault either. Their mom and dad always put them in charge. When they go outside to play, they are told, “Keep an eye on your brother.” When the family goes someplace, they are told, “Hold your little brother’s hand.” And then when they are old enough, they become the built-in babysitter. They are always held responsible for what their little brother does…like they can make them mind. Eventually, they learn to do just that. They become the boss that they will eventually need to be for their own children. They become just like their mom.
It’s all part of the growing up process, for both the little boy, and his big sister, cousin, aunt, or babysitter. It doesn’t mean that it’s anything personal. It’s just that if she can make her little brother or charge do what needs to get done, she can go back to doing what she wants to do. Being in charge of her little brother really isn’t all that fun, it’s a job…like any other job. The sooner she can get that job done, the better. So she does what she has to do. She becomes bossy. And after a while, she finds that being the boss isn’t so bad. You can assign tasks for the younger kids, and get out of some of that work. This could work! “Get over here little brother. Now, stand still, and smile…like you mean it!” Yep, being the boss is ok. Maybe it feels natural. Hmmm, maybe she is bossy by nature.
In thinking of my grandchildren starting to drive, I am reminded of my own experiences in learning to drive. My dad was such a patient man when it came to the teenage driver, and I don’t know how he did it. I remember teaching my girls to drive, and all I can say is…I was somewhat less patient than my Dad. But my girls survived, and became good drivers. Now it is their turn. It is a task I do not envy. I know I will also play a part in letting my grandchildren drive, and I hope I will do ok.
I will never forget some of the training my dad gave me. Dad didn’t feel like a person had all the training needed to be a good driver unless they can parallel park. Now as you know, many people have lots of problems parallel parking, but I can honestly tell you that I do not, and it is due to the training my dad gave me. We were driving one day, and he had me drive around until he found what he was looking for…a good sized pickup with a big steel grill guard. It was down town in front of the America Theater. And so we began. I backed into the parking spot…bumped the truck…pulled forward…backed up again…bumped the truck…pulled forward…and, well you get the picture. I can’t tell you how many times I bumped that truck, but I parked and re-parked in the spot for at least 30 minutes, and by the time I was done, I could parallel park. It seemed a crazy plan, but it worked.
I remember a trip we took to New York to visit my sister, Cheryl. Dad was driving around Lake Superior, and after many hours of driving, he had a stiff neck. He asked me to drive while he laid down in the back. That, of course, left my mom the supervise, and she was, well a little nervous about it. It was a foggy evening, and that only served to increase the tension. Every time I got over about 20 mph, my mom would grab my leg and tell me to slow down, and when I say grab…well, I mean pinch!! She didn’t mean to, but she did. We finally got out of the fog, to my great relief. Most of the time Mom did ok, but I’ll pass on the fog driving with her, if you don’t mind.
I will always remember the driving lessons I learned…some of them with a bit of a smile on my face, because I can still imaging how funny it must have looked to anyone watching. Thanks Mom and Dad, and to my kids and their kids…well, all I can say is try to keep a good sense of humor.