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These push-ups have been making me think about love and family.

Mom loves me so much, and I love her back almost as much as I love myself. She may not be perfect, but she feeds me every day, gives me belly rubs, shares a spoonful of yogurt with me when she makes her smoothie in the morning, and goes on runs with me. No one else does that stuff for me, so that’s what makes her special to me – we’re part of the same pack, or “family” if you will. When she goes somewhere that I can’t go (like Starbucks), I get so scared that something bad is going to happen while I’m waiting outside. I’ve never been in a Starbucks, I have no idea what horrors go on in there. I get so worried that I have to just bark and bark so that she knows I’m still there waiting for her. And when she leaves me alone, she only leaves me there for 100 or 200 hours (mom says that it’s like five minutes, stop being dramatic, but I know it’s long enough for me to convince myself that I’ll be alone forever)… I can’t imagine if she were gone for a whole year.

The way that soldiers families feel about them when they go on active duty must be the way that I feel when mom walks into Starbucks. Those families are so brave, because even if they bark and bark, their people don’t come back to the pack for such a long time, and you don’t know what’s happening to them in there.

So far, no matter how long the line was, when mom comes out of Starbucks she is happy because she has coffee. I would be devastated if she came out and was unhappier than when she went in. I can lick her face all I want, and there might be nothing that I could do to make her happy again.

Mom said that loving a veteran with PTSD is a little bit like watching someone you love go into a Starbucks with a very long line, and when they come out they don’t feel the same as when they went in. And no matter how much you lick their face or jump on them, your love isn’t enough to make them better. But even when Mom comes home from work in Hulk Mode, I still love her even though she’s grouchy. I just want her to be happy again.

We know that doing push-ups can’t make soldiers come back the same as when they left, but to show support for them and their packs. And so that they get the support and help they need to heal and wag their tails again.

–Oscar the Pooch


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