METROFOCUS: April 9, 2021

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and best-selling author Dave Barry shares valuable life lessons taught by his beloved 10-year-old dog Lucy.

Meet The Paws Of War. They are the four-legged companions helping the nation’s soldiers recover from the emotional effects of war.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL P. ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, THE SFLOETS .

> DAVE BARRY SAID HE DECIDED TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL HUMORIST.

IT'S SAFE TO SAY IN A CAREER THAT HAS SPANNED FIVE DECADES HE'S BEEN REALLY SUCCESSFUL.

WITH 30 BOOKS, A PULITZER PRIZE AND A WILDLY POPULAR SYNDICATED COLUMN FOR THE MIAMI HERALD, THE 'NEW YORK TIMES' HAS CALLED BARRY THE FUNNIEST MAN IN AMERICA.

NOW HE IS AIMING HIS SIGNATURE SARCASM AND WHIT AT THE TOUGHEST CONUNDRUM OF ALL, HOW CAN WE AGE GRACEFULLY.

HE HAS BEEN CONSULTING HIS WISEST FRIEND, HIS DOG LUCY.

HIS BOOK IS 'LESSONS FROM LUCY, THE SIMPLE JOYS OF AN OLD, HAPPY DOG.'

FIRST OF ALL, YOU DON'T CARE FOR SELF-HELP BOOKS.

THAT'S MOSTLY BECAUSE YOU DON'T CARE FOR SELF-HELP AUTHORS, OF WHOM YOU WRITE IN THE BOOK, QUOTE, A REMARKABLY HIGH PERCENTAGE OF THE ONES I MET DID NOT STRIKE ME AS COMPETENT, GOOD OR EVEN NECESSARILY SANE.

YET, YOU WROTE A SELF-HELP BOOK.

YEAH.

I'M NOT KNOWN FOR SELF-HELP BOOKS.

USUALLY WHEN PEOPLE READ MY BOOK, THEY GO, THAT DIDN'T HELP ME AT ALL OR I'M ACTUALLY STUPIDER HAVING READ THIS BOOK.

OVER THE YEARS I'VE BEEN ON A MILLION BOOK TOURS.

I FOUND THAT AS A RULE, THE SELF-HELP AUTHORS THAT WERE TELLING EVERYBODY HOW TO BEHAVE WERE NOT REALLY TOGETHER PEOPLE.

THAT'S MY EXPERIENCE AS WELL.

YEAH.

ON THE AIR THEY'D BE VERY CALM AND YOU SHOULD DO THIS AND THIS.

AS SOON AS THEY'RE OFF, THEY'RE SCREAMING AT THE PUBLICIST OR SOMETHING.

IT'S A DEPARTURE FOR ME.

I'D LIKE TO STRESS THERE ISN'T ANYTHING THAT I SAY IN THIS BOOK THAT EVERYBODY DOESN'T ALREADY KNOW.

I'M NOT BREAKING NEW GROUND TELLING YOU AMAZING THINGS.

IT'S LIFE LEARNING STORIES THAT YOU ALREADY KNOW, BUT YOU'VE GOT TO BE REMINDED OF THEM.

YEAH.

IT REALLY WORKS, MAN.

THANK YOU.

THE IDEA IS THAT IT'S NOT THAT WE DON'T KNOW THINGS.

WE KNOW PLENTY OF THINGS.

AND THE THINGS WE KNOW THAT ARE IMPORTANT ARE SO SIMPLE, BUT DOGS ALSO KNOW THEM.

DOGS KNOW HOW TO LIVE THEIR LIVES IN A WAY THAT MAKES THEM HAPPY, WHICH TURNS OUT TO BE KIND OF A WONDERFUL WAY.

THEY DON'T CHANGE.

THEY CONTINUE TO DO THOSE THINGS THAT WORK FOR THEM AND HAVE WORKED FOR THEM FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.

PEOPLE START OUT KNOWING THESE THINGS.

WHEN YOU'RE A KID, YOU KNOW HOW TO HAVE FUN, TO MAKE FRIENDS, TO BE SPONTANEOUS.

THEN YOU BURY THEM UNDER A PILE OF DAILY MINUTIA THAT'S IMPORTANT TO YOU.

IT'S MORE IMPORTANT TO ME TO READ THIS VERY IMPORTANT TEXT THAN TALK TO MY KID RIGHT NEXT TO ME, WHO'S ASKED ME A QUESTION.

HOW DID YOU COME TO REALIZE THAT LUCY, THE GREATEST DOG EVER, OF COURSE, YOUR DOG, WAS ABLE TO GIVE YOU THESE LESSONS?

WELL, WE BOTH GOT OLD.

LAST YEAR I TURNED 70 YEARS OLD.

SO I'M NOW 71.

THAT'S THE WAY IT WORKS.

I DON'T KNOW ABOUT HERE, BUT IN FLORIDA EVERY YEAR YOU ADD ANOTHER ONE.

THE SAME TIME I TURNED 70, LUCY TURNED 10.

SO IN DOG YEARS, SHE TURNED 71.

THAT'S THE DAY WHEN YOU REALLY ARE THINKING, HUH, WE'RE DEFINITELY IN THE FOURTH QUARTER HERE.

ON REFLECTION, I WAS THINKING THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS I REALLY WASN'T CRAZY ABOUT THAT I WAS DOING THAT HAD TURNED INTO, WITHOUT REALIZING IT BECAUSE IT HAPPENED SO GRADUALLY.

MEANWHILE LUCY, WHO'S WITH ME ALL DAY EVERY DAY BECAUSE SHE'S A DOG, WASN'T DOING ANYTHING DIFFERENCE.

SHE WAS SLEEPING A LITTLE BIT MORE.

OTHER THAN THAT, SHE WAS THE SAME DOG SHE'S ALWAYS BEEN.

THE SAME THINGS MADE HER HAPPY.

SHE WAS LIVING HER LIFE IN A WAY THAT MADE HER VERY HAPPY, SEEMINGLY EFFORTLESSLY ALMOST.

I THOUGHT, IF SHE COULD DO THAT, MAYBE I COULD DO THAT.

NOT DRINK FROM THE TOILET, ALTHOUGH YOU GET TO BE MY AGE, YOU'LL TRY ANYTHING.

NO, I HAVEN'T TRIED THAT YET.

SHE TAUGHT YOUR SEVEN LESSONS.

THE EIGHTH LESSON YOU LEARNED YOURSELF, HAD A VERY TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE YOUR FAMILY HAD TO ENDURE.

LET ME SEE HOW MANY OF THE SEVEN I CAN GET.

SO THE FIRST ONE OF THOSE LESSONS IS MAKE NEW FRIENDS AND KEEP THE ONES YOU HAVE.

HOW DID LUCY TEACH YOU THAT AND HOW HAVE YOU DONE WITH THE IMPARTED WISDOM?

LUCY IS A VERY FRIENDLY DOG.

WHENEVER ANYBODY OR ANY DOG COMES INTO HER SIGHT, SHE WANTS TO MEET THAT PERSON OR DOG, LOVES THAT PERSON OR DOG VERY MUCH, ESPECIALLY A DOG IF IT SMELLS RIGHT.

AND THEY ALL SMELL RIGHT.

AND THEY ALL SMELL RIGHT TO EACH OTHER.

SHE'S JUST VERY OUTGOING.

IF SHE SEES SOMEBODY SHE KNOWS, IT'S WILDLY EXCITING.

AND I DON'T DO THAT ANYMORE.

YOU KNOW, I THINK OF ALL MY REALLY OLD DEAR, GOOD FRIENDS, I DON'T EVEN KNOW IF THEY'RE ALL STILL ALIVE.

TO FIND OUT I WOULD HAVE TO CALL THEM UP AND I DON'T DO THAT.

YOU GET OLDER, YOU GET MORE ISOLATED.

EH, I COULD, BUT IT'S JUST TOO MUCH TROUBLE.

YOU BEGIN TO DISMISS THE IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS YOU HAVE IN YOUR LIFE.

AT LEAST I WAS DOING THAT.

THAT'S THE FIRST THING, TO TRY TO GET BACK IN TOUCH WITH PEOPLE AND TRY TO BE OPEN TO NEW FRIENDSHIPS, WHICH IS HARD TO DO WHEN YOU GET OLDER.

YOUR STANDARDS GET VERY HIGH, WHO'S ALLOWED TO BE YOUR FRIEND.

I DON'T NEED FRIENDS!

IN FACT, IN THE MIDDLE OF WRITING THE CHAPTER ON THIS, YOU STOPPED AND CALLED A FRIEND.

YEAH.

I WAS FEELING SO GUILTY.

HIS NAME IS ROB STAVIS.

HE WAS MY COLLEGE ROOMMATE.

IT WAS A LONG, LONG TIME.

I SAID, I'M GOING TO CALL ROB RIGHT NOW WHILE I'M WRITING THIS.

WE HAD A GREAT, LONG CONVERSATION.

WE'VE BEEN TALKING MUCH MORE SINCE THEN.

I WAS INSPIRED BY THAT.

IN THE MIDDLE OF MY READING THAT CHAPTER, I DID THE SAME THING.

DID YOU CALL ROB?

HE'S MY FRIEND.

GET YOUR OWN FRIEND.

HE SAID HE DIDN'T KNOW WHO I WAS.

THE FRIEND I DID CALL, THE CONVERSATION WENT DIFFERENTLY THAN YOURS BECAUSE I SUDDENLY REALIZED WHY I HADN'T CALLED HIM IN A WHILE, BECAUSE THE MAN HAS LIKE SO MANY PEOPLE IN THE LAST YEARS GONE COMPLETELY NUTS POLITICALLY.

I DON'T WANT TO DO IT.

WHAT DOES LUCY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT?

ACTUALLY, THAT'S A REALLY GOOD POINT.

WE ARE AS A NATION, WE'VE ALL GONE KIND OF NUTS.

IT HAS BECOME MORE AND MORE DIFFICULT TO TALK ABOUT ANYTHING.

I MEAN, ANYTHING POLITICAL WITH ANYBODY.

BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO FIND OUT FIRST WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON, IS IT THE SAME SIDE I'M ON.

WHICH IS A SHAME.

I THINK THERE WAS A TIME THAT WE WERE MUCH BETTER AT DISAGREEING POLITICALLY AND STILL KNOWING, OKAY, I KNOW YOU AND I DON'T AGREE, BUT WE BOTH WANT THE BEST FOR THE COUNTRY, EVEN THOUGH YOU'RE AN IDIOT AND YOU'RE WRONG.

YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

WE USED TO BE BETTER AT ALLOWING THE POSSIBILITY THAT SOMEBODY COULD DISAGREE WITH US AND STILL BE AN OKAY PERSON.

DOGS, FOR ONE THING, THEY DON'T TALK ABOUT POLITICS.

FOR ANOTHER THING, THEY VALUE RELATIONSHIPS OVER EVERYTHING ELSE.

THEY WOULDN'T ALLOW AN EXTRANEOUS THING LIKE YOUR POLITICAL VIEWS TO GET IN THE WAY OF A RELATIONSHIP.

SO THE SECOND LESSON IS DON'T STOP HAVING FUN, AND IF YOU STOP, START HAVING FUN AGAIN.

WHEN YOU GET OLDER, YOU BEGIN TO THINK CERTAIN THINGS ARE BENEATH YOU.

YOU'RE TOO OLD FOR THAT, THINGS THAT MIGHT BE PERCEIVED AS SILLY OR STUPID, MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T DO THAT BECAUSE YOU'RE NOW OLD.

DOGS, OF COURSE, DON'T DO THAT.

LUCY LIKED TO PLAY BALL WHEN SHE WAS A PUPPY.

SHE LIKES TO PLAY BALL NOW.

IT DOESN'T SEEM STUPID TO HER TO PICK UP THIS SPIT-COVERED WAD OF WHATEVER AND RUN AROUND THE HOUSE.

THE THIRD LESSON INVOLVES THE PRACTICE OF MINDFULNESS WHICH HAS BECOME SO POPULAR.

YOU WRITE IN THE BOOK, CORPORATIONS ARE NOW FOISTING IT ON THEIR EMPLOYEES, WHICH IS ALWAYS A BAD SIGN.

USUALLY A TERRIBLE IDEA, YEAH.

THE LESSON IS PAY ATTENTION TO THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE, NOT LATER, RIGHT NOW.

TALK ABOUT THAT.

THIS IS ONE OF THE MORE IMPORTANT LESSONS THAT DOGS CAN TEACH US.

THERE'S NO CREATURE ON EARTH MORE MINDFUL THAN A DOG.

IF YOU'RE IN A ROOM WITH YOUR DOG, YOUR DOG IS THINKING ABOUT YOU.

EVERY MOVEMENT YOU MAKE, EVERY SOUND YOU MAKE, IF YOU'RE UP, THE DOG IS INSTANTLY UP AND READY TO GO.

THE DOG IS FOCUSED ON YOU BECAUSE IT REALLY, REALLY LOVES YOU.

WE START OUT THAT WAY, I THINK, MORE AWARE OF THE PEOPLE AROUND US.

AND THEN WE END UP ON OUR PHONES.

YOU'VE SEEN IT.

A COUPLE AT A RESTAURANT --

I'VE SEEN IT.

I DO IT.

THEY'RE AT A RESTAURANT.

THEY THEY'RE BOTH LOOKING AT -- WHY GO TO A RESTAURANT?

STAY HOME AND EAT PIZZA IN THE CLOSET.

DOGS ARE SO, SO GOOD ABOUT THAT.

HAVING A DOG IS SORT OF A CONSTANT REMINDER OF THAT.

IF YOU'RE IN A ROOM WITH YOUR LOVED ONES, PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN AND GO LOOK AT THEIR PHONES.

NO.

LOOK AT THEM, TALK TO THEM.

THAT'S A HARD ONE.

IT'S A TOUGH ONE.

WHEN YOU'RE REALLY REMINDED OF THAT IS WHEN YOU GO TO A FUNERAL AND YOU THINK I'M NEVER GOING TO SEE THAT PERSON AGAIN, I'M NEVER GOING TO HAVE ANOTHER CONVERSATION WITH THAT PERSON AGAIN.

THEN YOU WALK OUT AND YOU THINK, I AM GOING TO MAKE SURE I DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN.

THEN OF COURSE YOUR PHONE BEEPS P .

THE FOURTH LESSON, LET GO OF YOUR ANGER UNLESS IT'S ABOUT SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT, WHICH IT ALMOST NEVER IS.

THIS ONE IS HARD FOR YOU AS WELL.

AS YOU WRITE, YOU ARE PRONE TO INSTANTANEOUSLY HATE PEOPLE YOU DON'T KNOW.

YES.

NAME SOME OF THE PEOPLE YOU INSTANTANEOUSLY HATE.

THE FIRST EXAMPLE, LIKE IF YOU'RE IN LINE AT PLACES WHERE THEY HAVE LIKE 57 FLAVORS OF ICE CREAM AND THEY HAVE A LITTLE TASTING THING SO YOU CAN TAKE A SAMPLE BEFORE YOU DECIDE.

MAJOR DECISION OF COURSE.

I DON'T MIND IF THERE'S NO ONE THERE IF YOU TAKE A FEW SAMPLES.

BUT IF YOU'RE AT THE FRONT OF A LINE OF 25 PEOPLE WAITING TO BUY ICE CREAM AND YOU'RE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO GO, LET ME TRY THAT, MM, LET ME TRY THAT, MM.

YOU GO CAN I TRY THE FIRST ONE AGAIN?

I WANT TO SHOOT YOU.

I DON'T OWN A WEAPON.

YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO, RIGHT?

IN FLORIDA YOU CAN.

LEGALLY YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO.

NO.

THE POINT IS, I WILL BECOME ENRAGED ABOUT THAT.

THERE'S MANY THINGS THAT WILL GET ME INSTANTLY ENRAGED.

THE REAL PROBLEM IS I KEEP THE RAGE.

I'LL BE SEETHING ABOUT IT FOR A WHILE AND THAT'S A WASTE OF MY TIME.

IT WAS, WHAT, 30 SECONDS?

IT'S NOT THAT IMPORTANT.

LUCY DOES GET ANGRY.

LIKE WE HAVE A WINDOW IN OUR OFFICE THAT LOOKS OUT ON THE DRIVEWAY.

MY WIFE AND I WORK IN THE OFFICE AND LUCY SITS THERE WITH US TO LOOK OUT THE WINDOW, KEEP AN EYE.

ONCE A WEEK MEN COME -- YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS.

THEY TAKE OUR GARBAGE.

LUCY IS LIKE WHAT!

YOU'RE GOING TO LET THEM GET AWAY!

SHE'S FURIOUS BECAUSE THEY'RE TAKING OUR GARBAGE.

AS SOON AS THEY GET AROUND THE C CORNER, GONE, SHE'S BACK SLEEPING.

SHE DOESN'T WAKE UP AT 3:00 IN THE MORNING LIKE, I CAN'T BELIEVE WE LET THEM TAKE THE GARBAGE!

SHE'S VERY GOOD AT LETTING IT PASS.

I NEED TO GET BETTER AT NOT GETTING LINE IN THE FIRST PLACE, CAN WHICH IS HARD BECAUSE I DRIVE IN MIAMI.

EVERYBODY IN MIAMI IS DRIVING ACCORDING TO THE LAWS OF THEIR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN.

WE ALL HAVE A DIFFERENT INTERPRETATION OF THE YELLOW LIGHT.

HOW ARE YOU DOING?

I NEED A FRONT-MOUNT EED BAZOOKA ON MY CAR.

IT REALLY WAS A TERRIBLE EVENT THAT YOU HAD TO ENDURE, YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

QUICKLY TELL US THE EVENT AND WHAT THE LESSON WAS.

THE BOOK HAD BEEN EDITED AND MY BOOK TOUR HAD BEEN PLANNED.

THIS WAS LAST YEAR.

I WAS GETTING READY TO GO ON A BOOK TOUR IN OCTOBER.

AUGUST 18th, TWO DAYS BEFORE MY DAUGHTER SOPHIE WAS SUPPOSED TO START AT DUKE, SHE WAS GOING TO BE A FRESHMAN, VERY EXCITED ABOUT GOING TO COLLEGE.

SHE WOKE UP PARALYZED FROM THE WAIST DOWN.

IT TURNED OUT SHE HAD A CONDITION CALLED AUTO IMMUNE DISORDER CALLED TRANSVERSE MYELITIS.

IT'S A SERIOUS DISORDER, RARE AND IT SEEMS DOESN'T GO AWAY.

THEY DON'T KNOW.

THEY DON'T PREDICT.

THEY DON'T TELL YOU.

WE SPENT A HORRIBLE COUPLE OF WEEKS THERE THINKING THAT OUR DAUGHTER WAS NEVER GOING TO WALK AGAIN.

ALL HER FRIENDS HAD GONE OFF TO COLLEGE.

SHE'S THERE WITH TUBES ALL THROUGH HER.

THE TREATMENT IS NOT PLEASANT.

LOOKING AT INSTAGRAM OF ALL HER FRIENDS STARTING COLLEGE AND GOING TO PARTIES AND EVERYTHING AND WE'RE THINKING, OUR LIVES ARE OVER HERE.

ANYWAY, SHE GOT BETTER.

SHE RECOVERED.

SHE'S NOW AT DUKE AND HAVING A WONDERFUL -- SHE STARTED LATE, BUT SHE'S DOING GREAT AND HAVING A WONDERFUL TIME.

WE ARE SO GRATEFUL.

THAT WAS THE LESSON.

DURING THE TIME THAT WE WERE GOING THROUGH THIS -- IF YOU'RE A PARENT, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WORSE FEELING THAN WATCHING YOUR CHILD SUFFER AND NOT BEING ABLE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

IF YOU TOLD ME THEN THAT THE LESSON I'D GET FROM THIS IS WHAT IT WAS, I WOULD NOT HAVE BELIEVED YOU, BUT IT WAS GRATITUDE.

FIRST OF ALL, OBVIOUSLY WE'RE VERY GRATEFUL THAT SOPHIE GOT THROUGH THIS AND IS OKAY.

BUT IN THE PROCESS OF LOSING THAT, HER HEALTH, WE REALIZED HOW IMPORTANT THAT WAS AND HOW UNIMPORTANT ALL THE OTHER THINGS IN OUR LIVES WERE.

WHEN WE WERE GOING THROUGH THIS, WE SAID TO SOMEBODY, WE'D GIVE UP EVERYTHING, ANYTHING IF WE KNOW SHE'D BE OKAY.

WE DON'T CARE ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE.

WE JUST WANT OUR DAUGHTER TO BE OKAY.

SO YOU GET THROUGH THAT AND YOU REALIZE, MAN, ALL THE STUFF THAT I THINK IS SO IMPORTANT, YOU KNOW, AND IT'S NOT JUST US, THE WHOLE WORLD, EVERYBODY IS JUST FREAKING OUT ALL THE TIME, EVERYBODY'S ANGRY ALL THE TIME.

BUT THOSE AREN'T THE IMPORTANT THINGS IN YOUR LIFE.

IF YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING AND YOU CAN GET UP OUT OF BED AND YOU'RE REASONABLY HEALTHY AND SO ARE YOUR LOVED ONES, YOU HAVE A LOT TO BE GRATEFUL FOR.

MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, YOU'VE GOT THAT.

THE REST IS KIND OF MINOR COMPARED TO THAT.

THE BIG LESSON I GOT OUT OF THAT IS I AM GRATEFUL FOR EVERY DAY NOW THAT MY DAUGHTER IS OKAY, THAT WE'RE OKAY.

I DON'T CARE ABOUT MUCH ELSE.

YOU TOLD ME BEFORE WE SAT DOWN THAT SHE'S ALMOST 100%.

SHE'S DOING VERY WELL.

NOTHING ABOUT LUCY CHANGES.

THAT'S ONE OF THE WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT DOGS.

THEY'RE VERY CONSISTENT.

ALL RIGHT, DAVE.

IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE TALKING TO YOU.

SAME HERE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

> BUILDING A BOND WITH HIM, HE STARTED DOING STUFF FOR ME THAT HE WASN'T EVEN TRAINED FOR.

NOT TOO LONG AGO I WAS IN THERAPY AND WE WERE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING INTENSE.

I GOT VERY PANICKY.

HE GOT UP OFF THE FLOOR AND LITERALLY CLIMBED ON TOP OF ME AND STARTED LICKING MY FACE.

MY THERAPIST AND I STARTED LAUGHING ABOUT IT.

I WENT TO ALMOST HAVING A PANIC ATTACK TO LAUGHING BECAUSE MY DOG IS LICKING MY FACE.

THE ORGANIZATION THAT PLACES RESCUED ANIMALS WITH VETERANS.

THIS FACILITY IS DESIGNED TO BE THEIR SECOND HOME.

I AM A FUTURE MILITARY SPOUSE.

MY FIANCE IS IN THE ARMY.

WE HAVE A 5-YEAR-OLD CHILD TOGETHER, SO BASICALLY I HAD TO DO THE JOB OF MILITARY SPOUSE WHILE HE WAS AWAY.

IN THE MEANTIME, I KIND OF STARTED DOING THIS TO HELP WITH ME, TO HELP WITH MY FAMILY.

WE'RE A BIG SUPPORT NETWORK HERE.

WE STARTED FIVE YEARS AGO PLACING DOGS AND WE ARE PROUD OF THE PLACEMENTS, WE ARE PROUD OF THE LETTERS AND E-MAILS AND TEXTS THAT WE GET TALKING ABOUT, HEY, JUST WANT TO SAY HELLO AND TODAY IS ANOTHER DAY THAT I'M ALIVE AND I AM SO DESPEGRATEFUL THIS DOG AND YOU GUYS.

TREAT THE SAME WAY EVERY TIME.

EVENTUALLY TREAT GOES AWAY.

WE'RE GOING TO PUT THAT RIGHT TOO HIS NOSE AND I'M GOING TO LEAD HIM RIGHT TO MY TOES.

WHEN THE GUYS COME HOME, YOU EXPECT THE WORLD FROM THEM BECAUSE THEY CAME HOME, RIGHT?

THEY SHOULD BE THE SAME, BUT THEY'RE NOT.

THEY'VE BEEN THROUGH A TRAUMATIC EVENT.

WHEN IT HITS YOUR HAND, SAY YES, RAISE IT UP.

SIT.

I WANTED TO BECOME A MILITARY POLICE OFFICER.

I HAD TO BE 19.

I WAS 17.

I TOOK THE NEXT BEST THING.

I JOINED THE MARINE CORPS SECURITY FORCES.

THAT'S A SECOND JOB.

MY PRIMARY JOB WAS INFANTRY.

WHEN I FIRST GOT OUT, THINGS WERE A LITTLE WEIRD FOR ME.

THE SYMPTOMS I HAD ASSOCIATED WITH PTSD WERE NOT REALLY MAJOR AT THE TIME.

LITTLE THINGS GREW FROM SEEDS AND IT GOT BIGGER AND BIGGER AND WORSE AND WORSE.

SO I STARTED DOING THINGS TO COPE WITH IT.

DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT WAS PTSD.

I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST, MAN, THAT'S ME, I'M JUST SCREWED UP.

I'D HAVE A NIGHTMARE AND THEN I'D BE AFRAID TO GO BACK TO SLEEP, SO I DIDN'T SLEEP FOR TWO DAYS.

I DIDN'T WANT PEOPLE TO SEE ME LIKE THAT, SO I WOULD ISOLATE FOR TWO OR THREE DAYS UNTIL IT PASSED.

I STARTED TAKING PAIN MEDICATION FR PRESCRIBED BY MY DOCTOR.

AFTER TIME I STARTED TAKING IT NOT BECAUSE I WAS IN PAIN, BUT BECAUSE IT STARTED MAKING ME FEEL BETTER.

I STARTED TAKING MORE AND MORE.

I HAD A FEW NIGHTS WHERE I LOOKED IN THE MIRROR AND I SAID, I CAN'T LIVE MY LIFE LIKE THIS, SOMETHING'S WRONG.

I STARTED WORKING WITH THE VA AND STARTED MEETING OTHER PEOPLE IN GROUPS AND THERAPY AND PROGRAMS.

I MET OTHER PEOPLE DEALING WITH THE SAME STUFF I WAS.

I DIDN'T FEEL SO ALONE ANYMORE.

HERE'S SOME OF THE PEOPLE THAT REALLY DO GET ME.

THE FIRST PLANE HIT THE TOWER.

THEN WHEN THE SECOND PLANE HIT, THAT'S WHEN MY NATIONAL GUARD UNIT WAS DEPLOYED AND WE WERE SHIPPED OUT ON BUSES TO THE OUTSKIRTS OF GROUND ZERO.

AS WE WALKED CLOSER AND CLOSER TO THE PILE, IT WAS BURNING, IT SMELLED REALLY BAD, PEOPLE WERE SEARCHING IN THE PILE FOR BODY PARTS.

IF WE HAPPENED TO FIND ANY REMAINS, THEN WE WOULD HAVE TO BRING THE PARTS TO THE MORGUE.

I STARTED DRINKING A LOT AT THAT POINT AND USING ILLEGAL DRUGS.

IT WAS ALL TO NUMB ALL THE THINGS THAT I WITNESSED.

I STARTED REALIZING IT AS THE PROBLEMS WERE GETTING WORSE.

MY IRRITABILITY WAS GETTING WORSE.

I STARTED GETTING PARANOID.

WHEN I GOT TO THAT POINT, THAT'S WHEN I WENT TO THE VA HOSPITAL IN EAST NORTHPORT AND GOT HELP.

GREAT JOB.

GOOD JOB.

JAMES IS AN AMAZING INDIVIDUAL.

HE'S THE FIRST TO VOLUNTEER FOR ANY SERVICES.

HE'S THE FIRST TO HELP OUT.

HE'S THE FIRST TO BUILD SOMETHING.

HE'S THE FIRST TO COLLECT DOG FOOD AND BRING IT TO US.

HE'S ALWAYS BEEN ACTIVE IN HIS COMMUNITY.

GUARDIANS OF RESCUE RESCUED 11 PUPPIES FROM LOUISIANA AND DONATED TO THE VETERANS.

THEY WERE IN A HURRICANE AND IN LOUISIANA THEY WERE GOING TO EUTHANIZE ALL 11 OF THEM.

STARTING OUT WITH HIM, IT'S STARTING OUT WITH LIKE A NEW CHILD, BUT IT'S A PUPPY.

NOW YOU HAVE TO MOLD IT.

I MET SOMEONE NAMED TODD WHO WAS A MEMBER OF PAWS OF WAR AND HAD A SERVICE DOG.

ONCE I MET TODD AND I SAW HOW MUCH HELP THE SERVICE DOG WAS GIVING HIM, I STARTED THINKING MAYBE A SERVICE DOG WOULD BE GOOD.

THIS WAS EARLY WHEN I FIRST STARTED IDENTIFYING EVERYTHING.

HIS DOG HELPED ME SO MUCH BECAUSE IT WAS A FULLY TRAINED SERVICE DOG THAT I WAS LOOKING AFTER AND TAKING WITH ME EVERYWHERE.

IT WAS FANTASTIC.

I STARTED SMILING AND LAUGHING AGAIN.

IT WAS PRETTY COOL.

SO I SAID WHAT'S THE CHANCES THAT I CAN GET A DOG?

THEY SAID I THINK THE CHANCES ARE PRETTY GOOD.

SO I PUT AN APPLICATION IN, I WENT THROUGH THE PROCESS THAT I'M NOW IN CHARGE OF AND I GOT ROCKY.

ROCKY HAS JUST EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS.

HE'S VERY WELL TRAINED.

HE'S A VERY GOOD DOG.

I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER WITH ROCKY.

HE'S PART OF MY CLASS AND HE'S GOING FOR THE REST OF THE BADGES FOR ROCKY.

WE'RE TAKING HIM THROUGH ALL THE LEVELS.

THEY'RE VERY GOOD STUDENTS.

EVERY CLASS IS AT LEAST FOUR TO SIX DOGS, IF NOT MORE.

IF ANY OF THE GUYS -- SAY THEIR WORK SCHEDULE IS TOO HECHECTIC, WE'LL HAVE THE DOG WALKING.

WE CAN BRING THE VETERINARIAN TO THE SERVICE DOG IN NEED.

IF ANYONE NEEDS HELP WITH DRUG OR SUBSTANCE ABUSE ISSUES, WE HAVE A LIAISON TO GET THEM IN THE DIRECTION THEY NEED.

SERVICE DOG IS AN EXTENSION OF YOUR ARM.

SERVICE DOG MEANS THAT THE SERVICE DOG HAS A JOB TO DO AND MUST BE ATTACHED TO SAID SERVICE PERSON'S HIP.

HE'S JUST THERE.

SAY LIKE IF I'M DREAMING AT NIGHT AND I'M SWEATING AND STUFF, HE'LL COME OVER TO ME, HE'LL POUNCE ON ME, HE'LL LICK MY FACE.

HE'LL WAKE ME UP FROM MY DREAM.

HE GOES TO SCHOOL WITH ME.

HE'S TRAINED TO LAY DOWN OR SIT.

I TELL HIM THE COMMANDS DEPENDING ON WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE CLASSROOM AND HE SAYS THERE.

HE DOESN'T CARRY NOTES OR BOOKS.

MOST OF THE DOGS IN THE BEGINNING, ONCE WE TRAIN THAT MUTUAL CONNECTION, THEY START TO TRIGGER.

I KNOW SHOW THE GUYS WHEN THE D TRIGGERING.

THEY'LL SEE IT.

I PICKED HIM UP.

I DIDN'T TOUCH MY ANY OTHER PUP.

I'M LIKE I WANT HIM.

HE WAS NICE AND CALM.

HE WAS CONSOLING ME RIGHT AWAY.

HE NESTLED UP TO ME.

EVERY NOW HE STILL FOLLOWS ME EVERYWHERE.

WHEN THE VEST IS OFF, THE DOG CAN BE A NORMAL DOG.

ROCKY.

WHEN THE VEST IS ON, THE DOG IS IN WORKING MODE.

SO THE DOG DOES KNOW THE DIFFERENCE OF WHEN HE NEEDS TO BE DOING HIS JOB AND WHEN IT'S OFF THE CLOCK TIME.

WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE VETERANS ARE INTERESTED IN OUR ORGANIZATION, THAT A DOG REALLY WILL BE A GOOD FIT AND THAT THEY ARE RECEIVING CARE ALREADY.

IF A VETERAN COMES TO US AND THEY HAVE PTSD AND IT'S NEVER BEEN DIAGNOSED, THEY'RE NOT GETTING OUTSIDE HELP FOR IT, THEN THAT'S WHERE OUR PEER SPECIALISTS WILL COME IN AND POINT THEM IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, SAY, LISTEN, THIS IS WHAT YOU MIGHT NEED.

US HERE AT PAWS OF WAR, WE'RE JUST OTHER VETERANS THAT HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS.

EVERYONE IS AFFECTED A DIFFERENT WAY.

SOMETIMES IT'S VERY HARD FOR THEM TO ACCEPT THAT THAT IS WHO THEY ARE NOW.

THAT'S THE BIGGEST HURDLE THAT A LOT OF THESE GUYS GO THROUGH.

WITH THE DOG AS ANOTHER THERAPEUTIC HAND IN THAT, IT HELPS THEM MORE EASILY TRANSITION AND ACCEPT WHAT THEY'RE GOING THROUGH AND BE ABLE TO PROCEED FORWARD AND LIVE A MORE FULFILLED LIFE.

YOU'LL ALWAYS HAVE A FRIEND.

YOU'LL NEVER BE LONELY.

YOU'LL ALWAYS HAVE SOMEONE TO TALK TO.

THEY MIGHT NOT TALK BACK, BUT THEY'RE THERE FOR YOU WHEN YOU'RE HAVING THOSE HARD MOMENTS OR THOSE DOWNTIMES.

YOU'LL ALWAYS HAVE A FRIEND WITH YOU.

THIS IS OUR SERVICE FOR YOU AND WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR IT.

THIS IS OUR GIFT BACK TO YOU.

♪ ♪ ♪

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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