Generative listening, generative dialogue, collective wholeness.  When we give, we receive.  We listen to a voice that desires to be heard; the speaker holds up a mirror for us to better hear our own truth.   We listen for hope, and we strengthen our own in the story we hear.  We hear the power of healing; we further heal ourselves. Dignity, faith, life-giving hope.   A reciprocity between the story teller and the story listener.     

I would like to say that I found Hope Has a Cold Nose as my leadership project.   I believe it also found me.  I initially chose this as my demonstration of what I’ve learned in this program because I could not conceive of a better exhibit of servant-leadership than to serve those who have so selflessly served their belief in freedom and in humanity.  I felt it was an application of many of the servant-leadership characteristics, such as listening and empathy.   I have come to realize that most of all, it provides me the opportunity to demonstrate a congruency in how I desire to lead and in who I am.

I am passionate about holistic healing and wish to inspire and increase awareness about alternative healing methodologies.   I also believe deeply that though we can’t prevent nor change life-altering experiences, we can choose to make why they happened matter.  I am always moved by the strength of the human spirit in how it finds the will to give purpose to the darkest times.    I am writing Hope Has a Cold Nose to be a voice for the stories of brave men and women who have dug deep within to find their own strength to not give up, that this book can reach and inspire others who are not certain they can continue stepping forward.   And, I am writing this book to advocate for those journeying with PTSD that society will pause, ask to hear stories, and gently listen without judgment or fear.   Pain, Trauma, Sorrow, and Despair are words that invoke negative connotations.  I would like to reframe how people perceive the meanings associated with these words such that PTSD becomes positively integrated into our vocabulary and our actions.   My intent is to advocate for and increase understanding, foster compassion and dignity, and create ...hope.  For twenty-two individuals a day, yes!  And for so many more!   Many lives depend on a change of heart and new actions taken.     My hope is to be one of the many change agents needed. 

Excerpt from Dear Reader in Hope Has a  Cold Nose:

Each story unique, yet all have the same common denominator.   Each have found hope, dignity, and the ability to integrate into and function within civilian life again.  Each are still standing tall with one hand in salute as the other is raised in vow – no comrade left behind.   These brave men and women who are now focused on their next mission - to increase awareness that to discover life is worth living again is not just an option.  It is a probability.   

These veteran warriors won’t profess that life is now struggle-free.  After all, they are human.   What these veteran warriors will share is that with the aid of their comrades in fur, they can go out in public again less afraid of a very large, noisy, crowded space on this side of enemy lines, that night terrors are no longer the ruler of the darkness, and that a ten, twelve, or sixteen different medication regime is now reduced to one or two.  And in many instances, one of those two “medicines” is in the form of four-legs and fur.   These veterans will share that they have found the ability to desire to wake up with the sunrise and pray for a day like the one they had yesterday, no longer praying that another day never comes.



Just as a seed cannot be rushed in it's growth, Hope Has a Cold Nose must be given the sacred space it needs to blossom.  As veteran warriors are ready to share their stories, Hope Has a Cold Nose will come into full fruition as a published book.   Fourteen stories have been written to date (Oct, 2019); the manuscript will be considered complete when it contains between twenty and twenty-two.  

Objective: To raise awareness and understanding about the positive impact of service animals in the support and recovery of individuals journeying with pain, trauma, sorrow, and despair (PTSD).

Reader Review:

As a direct result of this book, I see through a new set of eyes and feel with a more understanding heart. I admit to feeling irritation and confusion after witnessing a dog accompanying an adult ,in public, with no obvious physical disability.   Although I am a dog lover I felt this was crossing the line. Christine’s retelling of the stories of these Brave Soldiers and their individual struggles to adapt to civilian life taught me much. The fact that the Soldier, as well as the dog they were eventually paired with, managed to save each other was extremely powerful and left me thankful for these new eyes and open heart.

 -S. Dobos


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