Earlier yesterday I was notified that my former service dog Clark passed away last night. I got matched up with him when I was roughly 9 years old. When I was younger there were certain things that I was just physically unable to do myself and Clark would assist me with those tasks. More than anything though, he was a source of comfort and emotional strength during a time in my life when I was severely depressed with the aftermath of my parents divorce and unsure of whether I could trust anyone. That dog helped me through some of the worst times of my life and I not only survived but grew and flourished as a result of him being in my life. As I grew older and physically stronger my need for Clark as a service dog lessened and it was eventually decided that it would be in Clark’s best interest to work as a service dog for someone else when I was 14.
I was insistent that he be placed with a wounded veteran that had served in The Iraq/Afghan War as I knew that these younger men would need all the help they could get.
Clark ended up being paired with retired SSG Ian Newland who has become a great friend of mine and I also consider him extended family via our mutual relationship we both shared as owners of Clark.
As I write this, I am deeply saddened by the loss of a great dog who I’m pretty sure was actually an angel masquerading as a dog. Yet I’m also extremely grateful for his role in my life. Looking back, I might have lost the will to live if it hadn’t been for Clark coming into my life when he did and I will never truly be able to express my full gratitude.
To Ian, thank you so very much for giving Clark a home and a purpose again. I know he changed your life in ways none of us can imagine and I share your grief in losing him.