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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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