David E. Sharpe was at the end of his rope. A senior airman in the US Air Force, after his 2002 tour in Saudi Arabia, Sharpe had a nearly impossible time adjusting to civilian life. To cope with the difficult transition, he turned to alcohol. Hoping to snap him out of this self-destructive spiral, Sharpe’s friends gave him the idea to adopt a puppy -- someone to keep him company and cheer him up.
Hitting Rock Bottom
However, the adoption alone was almost not enough. Three months after adopting Cheyenne, Sharp found himself tear stricken in his bedroom with a .45 in his hand, cocked and loaded. But then, a miracle happened.
“This little pup, who was maybe six months old at the time, came up and licked my ear, which distracted me so I [put the gun down] to ask, ‘What did you do that for?’”
Then she put her head in Sharpe’s lap, and everything changed.
“I understood it was an ultimatum to choose her or to take my life. I chose her, and I never looked back.”
Turning it all around
Fast forward twelve years, Sharpe is the founder of an organization dedicated to pairing returning soldiers with rescue dogs -- Companions for Heroes. Sharpe’s mission: to actively improve the lives of soldiers combating depression or other challenges after coming home.
“Eighteen vets kill themselves a day. That’s over 6,000 a year. I want that number to be zero. And every eight seconds a [shelter] animal is euthanized.” Sharpe and Companions for Heroes put two and two together, finding the perfect way to help both struggling soldiers and shelter dogs -- by forging long lasting, and mutually beneficial relationships between two groups often left behind.
To see exactly what Companions for Heroes is all about, or to donate to this fantastic organization, check out their website.
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