Dog Days of August

We are often gratified to get an email or a note from a fan that lets us know we've had a place in their life through our music. But this recent letter from Randy Patrick (who we do remember from waaay back in the 90's) kind of takes the cake. With his permission, we'll share with you his story of the part he says our music played in setting his life in a new direction as the founder of PawPADS (Pawsitive Perspectives Assistance Dogs).  You may want a hanky...

Dear Mick,
I want to share with you the long overdue story about how your and Colcannon's music has impacted many lives far beyond which you could imagine in your dreams.

Back in the late 80's and through the nineties, when I lived in Greeley and Louisville, Colorado, my wife (at the time) and friends would go listen to you all every chance we got - at the James Pub, in Laramie, and at Curt Gowdy State Park. I still count my "Some Foreign Land" CD - autographed by all of you at the time - as one of my treasures.

In 1999, I remarried and my wife and I moved to Bosnia, where I had a job with the United Nations. We lived in small city named Goražde. My wife, Linda,  became the Country Director for GOAL Ireland - Balkans. GOAL is an international humanitarian organization headquartered in Dún Laoghaire. I eventually went to work for GOAL myself, working for my wife. She supervised reconstruction and reconciliation projects in southeast Bosnia.
 
In 2001, Linda found a puppy foraging in the garbage outside her office. It was alone, hungry, injured, probably by being attacked by other stray dogs. We weren't "dog people" at the time.  I didn't want her to name the puppy because I had no intention of keeping it. But, in Bosnian language, people often refer to young children, young goats, sheep, kittens and puppies as "mali" (Molly) - which simply means "small" or "little one." So Molly became the pups name while we treated her injuries, got her fattened up and back to health before, as we planned, we took it out to a village where a family had agreed to take her as a farm dog.
 
For the next few weeks after we took her in, Molly worked her way into Linda's heart. She liked to be held as a baby and would groan when you rubbed her tummy. I, on the other hand remained very practical about it. We lived and worked in a part of the country from which we could have to evacuate quickly due to civil or military violence and we couldn't be weighed down by a dog, could we?!

On the night before we were to resettle Molly with the villagers, I was sitting out in the garden with her groaning on my lap. I had my “Saint Bartholomew's Feast” CD playing and "Silas" came up. Holding little Molly and listening to "Silas" many times over, I was soon overcome with sadness about sending Molly off. I carried her into our war damaged flat and played "Silas" for Linda. We both tearfully agreed: we had to keep Molly and take care of her.

Molly changed our lives. She traveled the world with us. Serbia, Kosovo, Central America,  all over the United States. What we learned about dogs - we learned from her. Because of her, we became "dog people," eventually taking in a street dog from Honduras and a lab from a shelter in Oregon. 
More importantly, not only did we fall in love with Molly, but all over the world we were able to take notice of the universal connection dogs have with people, and the potential which that human-canine bond offers as a therapeutic, educational, healing tool. 
So, in 2005, after I returned to the States from a short posting in Afghanistan, we started "Pawsitive Perspectives Assistance Dogs (PawPADs), a nonprofit,  training service dogs for people with physical mobility disabilities. Our programs give volunteers, veterans, inmates, and at-risk youth the opportunity to help raise and train the dogs to be placed with persons with physical disabilities and have recently started placements of diabetic alert dogs and autism support dogs.
 
The point of my story is this: none of this would have been if we had not let ourselves be taken in by Molly. We credit her for inspiring PawPADs and I credit “Silas” for making Molly’s life with us possible.
 
The impact these dogs have on lives spreads out like the waves from a stone in a pond:
Jeremy - ” Rio, is a lifeline for our family.  He provides assistance, permanent companionship, and a tie to reality.  As much as we depend on 
them, he depends on us.”
Andrea’ – “Sage has changed my life!   He is my diabetic alert dog and quite frankly the smartest dog I have ever known.  His job is to alert me when my blood sugars are out of range.  This means my glucose level could be low or high and he will pick this up before I do.  In the past I had 4 episodes that I was unconscious  and the ambulance needed to be called due to my diabetes.  Sage prevents this from happening.   He has already proven his worth a thousand times over.”
Patrick Zeigler (a wounded warrior shot 4 times in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, leaving him partially paralyzed): "Ranger has given me back my independence, he is a wonderful companion. With Ranger in our home, Jessica has more free time to spend with our son and her family and friends. And now I can go for a walk with Ranger knowing that I am safe. If I fall, he can help me get up or go for help if I am hurt." Patrick talks of Ranger's intuition that has developed, "It seems that if I just look at something across the room Ranger seems to know what I want and get it for me. It is amazing."
 
Anyway, I’ve wanted to share this with you for a long time, and as Molly passed away last week, I thought it was about time to tell you that your music had a part in creating a legacy that will continue a long time.
 
 
Randy Patrick
Director of Pawsitive Perspectives Assistance Dogs
Savage, MN

4 comments

  • Miriam Berkley

    Miriam Berkley NYC

    What a lovely story!

    What a lovely story!

  • Sandy

    Sandy Laramie, WY

    What a great thing to have organized and instituted! Best wishes for your positive impact on people, Randy and Linda. It's such a testament to the impact of music in our lives, too.

    What a great thing to have organized and instituted! Best wishes for your positive impact on people, Randy and Linda. It's such a testament to the impact of music in our lives, too.

  • Leslie L.

    Leslie L. Boulder

    That is an incredible story.

    That is an incredible story.

  • r0y in San Luis Obispo

    r0y in San Luis Obispo

    Truly an inspiring tale - as heartfelt as 'Silas' is (a great song, by the way).

    Truly an inspiring tale - as heartfelt as 'Silas' is (a great song, by the way).

Add comment