The famed Christmas story about gift-bearing magi brings the Biblical tale to life for one veteran and his honorably adopted dog.
A Christmas far from home
Ronald is a United States Air Force veteran. His military career spanned from 1976 til 1996, during which time he advanced from an Airman Basic, Aircraft Mechanic with the 514 MAW at McGuire AFB and ultimately separated from service with the rank of Captain. Currently he lives in Delaware and works as an anger coach and psychotherapist, serving clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania in addition to his home state.
Of his many military experiences, Ronald remembers the Christmas of 1980 most clearly.
“We were at Keflavik Naval Air Station in Iceland. We had hoped to get home after a temporary duty, but it did not work out,” says Ronald, adding, “Although we were away from loved ones our commander did all he could to make the experience tolerable. It was really moving that our leadership was that sensitive to the needs of the troops.”
Traumatic injury and an adopted dog named Magai
In 1979, things changed for Ronald. As the result of a military accident, he incurred a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Although most of his symptoms are “largely mild,” he notes that they “can be overwhelming when they occur. My Magai will be a partner and service companion for those times when I am in active distress.”
Ronald appreciates the help that Pets for Patriots delivered to bring Magai into his life.
“Pets for Patriots has been great. They always put my needs first and cooperated with the agency helping me to train Magai into a service companion. They accepted me without delay upon proper documentation,” says Ronald. “Their financial help has been most appreciated.”
So moved by his experiences with Pets for Patriots, Ronald wrote a tribute about the meaning of hope.
The gift of Magai: it’s all good
No longer living alone, Ronald noticed big changes once Magai came into his life.
“It’s good to have someone who loves you wake you up in the morning with a kiss,” he says. “It’s good to have someone greet you when you come in at night with genuine love. It’s good to have someone sense when I am feeling bad and come to me and say with their eyes, ‘I love you.’ It’s good to have someone who depends on me to provide for him without hassle.”
When ‘being there’ is all that is needed
Perhaps what this Air Force veteran appreciates most about his new pet friend is the steady and reassuring companionship.
“What I love most about Magai,” says Ronald, “is he is with me. Whenever I go to dog school there are others there saying, ‘What a good dog.’ I say ‘Yeah, and he is with me.'”
What gifts has your adopted pet brought into your life?