Cameo — Service

Location: Norfolk, Virginia

People ask me why I think my dog is a hero all of the time.

I submit my service dog Cameo today because without her, my life would probably not even be in existence today. Whether it be our house fire in 2019 that she barked consistently to let me, my husband and three kids know that she didn’t need to potty but we needed get out NOW; or my many thoughts of suicide that she has convinced me to ignore since I’ve had her. I have her to thank for me being here to even honor her with this request.

I served in the US Navy for 2.5 years. In that small time I endured a lot of mental trauma. There is a reason that they say only the bravest and strongest make it in the military. Not to say that I wasn’t either, because Cameo has shown me that I am both. My service dog is a hero because she brings a smile to anyone she meets, not just me. I see Cameo as a better service member than me, always putting her mission to keep me alive before her own needs. If that’s not a hero, I don’t know what is.

I trained Cameo on my own and in that time I learned a lot about myself. She’s taught me that practice doesn’t always make perfect, but instead practice can heal you. By making mistakes as a team, I learned that I am only human and she is only a dog. At the end of the day, it is okay to be imperfect. She’s made me realize that independence is only 4 paws away, allowing me to be as “normal” as I can be. Because of her, I have my independence back. My kids have their mom. Thanks, Cameo.

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