I was honored to photograph Master Sergeant Mark Gwathmey and his dog, Larry. Larry was trained by an organization called America’s VetDogs and is a service dog to Mark.
When Mark returned from Iraq after his third tour, he had seizures several times a day. Enter Larry, who was trained to help Mark and his wife CeCe know ahead of time when a seizure was going to happen. Larry changed their lives more than they could have expected.
While I was at their home, I saw first hand the special gift Larry has. Mark had laid down on the couch to take a break with Larry by his side. Then, Larry started barking. I didn’t know why, but Mark’s wife told me it was to warn of the impending seizure.
The first thing Mark experiences as he comes out of the seizure is Larry, right there to protect him. Even before he is fully conscious, Mark reaches for Larry.
As Mark regains consciousness, Larry exuberantly greets Mark like he’d just come back from a long trip.
Then, as Mark starts to rest again, Larry won’t take his eyes off of him.
It was an overwhelming experience to see this partnership in action. Truly amazing.
On this Memorial Day, we remember with great respect the heroes who fight for our country and the people and dogs who support them.