This is a story about my very dear friend Mark - likely referred to as "Kooyman" going forward -- and how the love of his dogs has helped him through an incredibly challenging time in his life.
Kooyman and I have been friends for more than 25 years now and one thing that has always connected us is our shared passion for animals, especially our dogs. As neither of us have human children, our pets have taken on that role in our respective lives and I think we both agree we wouldn't know how to survive without them. Over the years, they have proven to be a great source of happiness, comfort and unconditional love.
So . . . to the story. Kooyman recently had a very bad car accident after which he spent 17 days in the hospital where he endured five major surgeries to reset his legs, wrist and shoulder. It was a very tough time for Mark, his family and his friends as they prayed he would successfully recover from his injuries.
After being released from the hospital, rather than going into a rehab facility as the doctors suggested, Kooyman chose an alternative route to recovery. He opted to go home with his parents (his mother is a retired RN and nursing instructor) and surround himself with the love and support only a family can provide, as well as the unconditional love of the family pets.
You see . . . Kooyman is an incredibly insightful human being. He knew that his recovery was not just about physical healing, but equally important was his emotional healing. And who better to help provide this emotional healing than their beloved dogs.
With five dogs in total -- Kooyman's two Cocker Spaniels Herschel and Georgia Girl (a true Georgia Bulldog fan), his parents' Cocker Spaniels Peaches and Molly, and Barney the lone Springer Spaniel -- there was a whole lot of love to go around. As a matter of fact, the first thing Kooyman remembers about his arrival at his parent's home were the welcoming kisses he got from the dogs. According to Mark, "they were my own personal welcoming committee"!
And the love and nurturing didn't stop at the door. Peaches, the dog-family Matriarch, sleeps in his bedroom almost every night. Molly, the queen of affection, provides his morning wake up call with lots of happy licks on the face. Herschel and Barney are his protectors sleeping next to the bed. And sweet Georgia Girl provides encouragement through his painful physical therapy sessions by sitting on the bed and kissing him throughout his workouts.
Kooyman has been at his parent's house for two weeks now during which time he's engaged in some pretty rigorous physical therapy. However, if you ask him what has kept him going and provided him with the motivation and courage to push through the challenges associated with his recovery, he will tell you "there ain't nothing like the love of a good dog"!
So hats off to my good friend Kooyman who will weather this storm as he has weathered many others. I'm just happy to know that he has his family -- both human and animal --surrounding him and providing the love, support and encouragement he needs to heal.
We love you Kooyman!