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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dog Holds Vigil by Soldier Companion's Casket

Jon Tumilson was a Navy Seal.  Jon Tumilson was an Iowan.  Jon Tumilson is a hero.  Jon was one of thirty soldiers killed in Afghanistan when the Chinook helicopter in which they were traveling was shot down on Aug. 6, 2011 by Afghani forces.  He was 35 years old.  A photo of his funeral has gone viral and become one of the most popular photos on the Internet being spread worldwide.

At the funeral, his family sat, grieving just a few yards away from the flag draped casket.  One family member needed to be closer. 

Jon's loyal Labrador Retriever, named Hawkeye, left the side of mourning family members to lay beside the casket of his hero and best friend. 

The photo was taken in a small town in Iowa named Rockford, which is nestled in Floyd County, Iowa.

In an ironic twist, in the same county where a dog showed his unconditional love and loyalty for his human companion and his photo generated worldwide admiration, there are at least five Government approved puppy mills.  Commercial breeders reside within the cities of Ionia, Charles City, and Rudd, all neighbors of the little town of Rockford, where Hawkeye stood vigil for his fallen companion.  There are hundreds of dogs in Floyd County living their entire lives within a cage with little, if any, show of human affection.  "According to the USDA, at least 23,000 adult dogs are kept in Iowa commercial kennels."  

(Above Photos used as examples and not of Floyd County)
The love that Hawkeye showed to his hero has shown the world the true value of a canine companion.   Dogs know and understand loyalty, unconditional love, and they mourn the loss of their companions, human or canine.   Dogs are true companions, and not something to be kept in a cage for a lifetime of neglect and repetitive breeding.  A dog's love and life long companionship are worth so much more than the money their puppies produce.

While Hawkeye has earned the privilege of leading the University of Iowa Hawkeye's onto the turf covered field during a football game, we must remember the hundreds of dogs within Floyd county, and the thousands in Iowa, and millions of dogs nationwide, who have never stepped foot onto grass or felt the wind blow.

Perhaps Floyd County and Iowa will open their eyes to the honor of being a dog thanks to the world's appreciation of Hawkeye's actions.  But it is more likely the horrific lives of the commercial breeding dogs will continue to be hidden and government approved.

I suspect that if Hawkeye could speak, he would voice his opinion loudly.

Our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Jon Tumilson. 

There are two heroes of which you should be proud.

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Wendy Kadner said...

Excellent post!

Brenda Hager said...


Felix Espudo said...

The pic of the dog got to me

Betsy Fickel said...

As a mom of two soldiers and friends to other soldiers, I am speechless at your dispicable use of this fallen hero and his mourning family and canine companion to try to further your agenda.
There are many other venues available, but please, not this one.
It is the epitomy of insult to this family and all soldiers. They literally put their lives on the line to try to preserve our fast dwindling freedoms, one of which is freedom of speech.
And, yes, I will stand in your defense of freedom of speech, also.
So please, I beg of you, show some respect for our heroes both living and dead and their families.
Your words of sympathy are empty.

Marty Flore said...

no words can describe..

Donna A. Reuter said...

Hawkeye is a great and loyal dog.

Sharon StClair said...

This breaks my heart. Talk about a strong bond. So sad what happened. RIP

Diann W said...

As a military spouse for the past 30 years as well as a military parent, I was very touched by the devotion of this dog to his master and I was not at all insulted by this blog.

Most of the time, we recognize the human soldiers that pay the ultimate price, but the 4-legged soldiers are often forgotten, and there are many of them. There are 4-legged "soldiers" of many different types who fight battles each and every day of their life and suffer many horrible things at the hands of their caretakers...most of the time in puppy mills where their entire existance is made up of just reproducing babies to make money.

I also believe in freedom of speech, and it is soldiers like my husband and my sons that keep those freedoms alive for all of us. It doesn't mean I will always agree with what people use that freedom to say, but it is within my ability to use the "delete" button or choose not to read or respond to a particular article. I would suggest, Ms Fickel, that you do the same.

Lisa, please keep doing what you do so well to raise the awareness of how we Americans treat our animals with so little respect for their quality of life. I am truly honored to know you.

Polly said...

Very nice blog, Lisa. Americans spend much time and money each year celebrating our pets and pet ownership via products and services we buy for them, shows and events we enter them in and through the love and service they give back to us. Amid all of this joy, it's easy to forget the unseen dogs left behind in puppy mills. It's even easier to disconnect their suffering with the amazing gifts their offspring provide American dog owners with. Thank you for reminding us all that puppy mill dogs always come up short in this world of dog fancy. They deserve better and we all need to do our part to assure them the quality life they are so deserving of.

maryaw said...

This brought tears to my eyes. We honor our soldiers (many in my family, living and gone) and when they are brought to our attention, we honor the exceptional dogs like Hawkeye, but we forget the unseen dogs in puppymills, the forgotten dogs on chains behind houses, the death-row dogs euthanized in Animal Control facilities because people buy puppies in petstores instead of adopting.
We need to honor our soldiers when our government needs money to raise their salaries or give them more benefits. We need to respect ALL life by refusing to buy animals from pet stores or auctions and supporting reputable animal shelters.
Respecting ALL life and doing His work on earth, Mary Delaney

Kathryn, Lily & Myles said...

I've read the blog about Hawkeye the loyal lab but could not find anything offensive that she said. She pointed out the tens of thousands of dogs kept in cages... government sanctioned cages at that and I believe that she is trying to point out that this should not be going on anywhere. Good for her to point out these things. I'm wondering what you found offensive...

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming 'Wow! What a ride!!!'" Hunter S. Thompson

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be determined by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. Martin Luther King

Love & Blessings,

Joan Windschitl said...

Ms Fickel would do well to not presume to know what is in the hearts and minds of all soldiers or their families... We can speak for ourselves unlike the abused and neglected animals for which Lisa champions.

Anonymous said...

I think it's terrible that you would use this as your opportunity to say your piece. This family has been through enough. As a citizen of Rudd and someone who knows the Tumilson family I feel you should realize how disrespectful you are being. These 2 situations have nothing to do with each other.
I couldn't agree with you more about your feelings for puppy mills. However using this as your chance to spread your word makes you no different than the group of people who chose some of Jon's fellow soldiers funeral as their opportunity to express their opinion for gay people. You have the right to speak out because of people like Jon so try showing some respect!

Animal Rescue said...

The very root of your writing whilst appearing reasonable in the beginning, did not really sit properly with me after some time. Somewhere throughout the sentences you actually managed to make me a believer but just for a very short while. I nevertheless have a problem with your leaps in logic and one might do well to fill in those breaks. When you actually can accomplish that, I will surely end up being impressed.