Newfoundlands are special in so many ways. When I'm walking with them, they attract attention and people are immediately drawn to them. When I see my dog light up and interact with people it makes it easier for me to interact with them as well. Answering all the common questions, is he a bear? How much does he eat? How much does he weight? It slowly brings me out of whatever protective shell I may have built up and I can't help but start to relax.
It’s crazy how dogs just know, they are so good at reading people and emotions and they have an uncanny ability to walk over at the right moment, just when you need them. Even if you want to ignore them, you can’t. Newfoundlands especially draw people to them with their big goofy personality and their sweet disposition. They are lovable, hug-able and have a teddy bear like appearance that almost anyone can relate to and almost no one can resist, regardless of their background.
The excitement in my Newfie’s eyes when I come home, stirs something within that is hard to describe. They are so in the moment it makes it easy to let the stress go from a hard shift and just be ‘there’, present in the moment.
Regardless of what happened the past 48 hours, no matter what I may have seen, I know when I walk in the door that there is hope. I have learned so much from being around these gentle giants and I want to be able to pay it forward. I know personally how much of a positive and powerful impact that the Newfoundland’s that are apart of TimberKnoll’s Spirit Cove can have on a first responder and how they can help to release the stress in our lives.
My life has been forever changed by this crazy pack of Newfies and the people that have raised them and I look forward to being able to share that with others.
Jennifer W, Firefighter - SC
TimberKnoll Spirit Cove is a non-profit 501C3 and all donations are tax deductible
If you would like to send a gift by check, please make your check payable to : TimberKnoll's Spirit Cove and mail to:
2520 Orangewood Lane, Dandridge, TN 37725 or if you prefer to make a donation electronically, just click the button below. Thank you for helping us create hope and healing through pet therapy
PTSD is a mental illness that is silent but always there. Hiding in the background just waiting to surface, through flashbacks or days battling depression, combine that with a life threatening illness and some days seem insurmountable. Wrapping my arms around a massive bear like dog manages to bring peace in a way that medicine just doesn't accomplish. When I'm surrounded by these joyful animals, anything seems possible. I forget about fear and pain and I'm able to live in the day, full of joy.
- PTSD survivor, Charleston, SC
There are two things that veterans and first responders often struggle with when they leave their service and transition to the civilian world. The first is losing their sense of purpose and duty. In the military and emergency services we have clearly defined missions and core values that drive us. Being a serviceman, firefighter, police officer, or paramedic is not just a job; it is a lifestyle and personal identity. The second is the loss of the camaraderie and being part of a brotherhood that is difficult to find in the civilian world. The bonds formed with people who are willing to risk their lives for you, and know that you would do the same for them, are something that only occur in dangerous professions. Because of these two things, when transitioning
to a "normal" civilian job we often feel an overwhelming void in our lives.
Working with a Newfoundland helps provide me with a sense of purpose by knowing that he loves me unconditionally, trusts me implicitly, looks to me for leadership and training, and enjoys nothing more than working with me. While training in water work over the past year we have developed an incredible bond. Seeing how eager he is to please me and how concerned he is for my safety inspires me to be committed to providing the best possible life for him. As I near the end of my career as a firefighter, I can take solace in knowing that my Newfoundland will always provide me with a sense of purpose and an unwavering bond.
Battalion Chief Jamie E. - South Carolina
Chewie visited my son in the hospital when he was very sick and in a lot of pain. During that visit, my son was so in awe of this gentle, massive animal that he forgot about his pain. He truly thought Chewie was magical.
- Parent in Summerville, SC