by Shawn Abel, Dog’s Nation

This Thanksgiving, I realize that I am thankful for many things; the lives that been saved though the Battle Buddy program at Dog’s Nation and a special thank you is due to a very special pit bull, my service dog, Tillman.

Let’s go back to when I first met this remarkable boy. He and his partner were at the local shelter. They had been there a while, pending a court case. Their release fee was quite a lot, but the local police chief asked if I could take both dogs and work out a program with the owner to earn his dogs back. Well, the owner had to leave the area, so I took Tillman into my care and into the house he came. As Tillman is not my first pit bull. I was aware of all of the pit bull fears that are everywhere.

Tillman has many things going for him: He is built like a tank, has beautiful coloring, and a face that melts hearts. I learned about service dogs and all the specialized training that was needed and soon Tillman was trained and by my side everywhere I went. His strength and compassion has brought love to all he meets from the grocery stores, to the nursing homes just to name a few. In addition, Tillman alone is responsible for saving the lives of many pit bulls at our local shelter and they are quickly adopted as family pets.

Last year, my son was in the hospital intensive care unit and when I got the call, I didn’t even grab a toothbrush, but grabbed Tillman and his leash. During that worrisome time, Tillman offered comfort, not just to me, but to everyone at the hospital. When I went into to my son’s ICU room (service dogs are not allowed in intensive care units or burn units), Tillman stayed in the waiting area with all of his new friends and offered comfort to them. Thank God my son is fine now and with Tillman’s help, so am I.

But you see it is not just me that Tillman comforts. He has been asked to stay with some of those at the nursing home, as they leave to find their eternal peace. He helps a child who has lost everything sleep at night.

Although Tillman is my service dog, he belongs to everyone he meets. And we all thank Tillman for improving our world, one paw print at a time.

Tillman; Service Dog 1 cc.tif