As parents, we often get our children a pet for a variety of different reasons, everything from teaching them about the circle of life to getting them to understand what it means to take care of another life. But animals can also help kids to deal with depression and cope with difficult, uncomfortable situations like bullying and depression.
A Judgement Free Zone
One of the best parts of any type of relationship we may have with our pets is that they never judge, don’t offer an unwelcome opinion or even hold a grudge. In one remarkable story, a dog named Marshall along with his human companions are helping to teach children (and adults) some important lessons about forgiveness, the power of love and overcoming disabilities that could lead to some potential teasing and bullying.
Marshall, a beagle mix, one of the most popular breeds of canines in America, was initially rescued from an animal hoarder who had over sixty neglected pets in their possession. Marshall was one of the worst, so severely abused, he lost a limb as the result of an untreated broken leg. Despite his mistreatment and a very poor prognosis that wasn’t very promising, eventually he pulled through and was given the title of “The Miracle Dog” by his caregivers. He’s now a trained therapy animal who travels across the country to help kids deal with bullying and depression.
Rescuing, Understanding And Revealing Marshall
A caring woman named Cyndi Willenbrock adopted Marshall after he finally recovered and she quickly realized that this special dog could offer kids an important connection when it comes to coping with struggles like bullying and resulting depression. Cyndi wrote a children’s book about Marshall and the obstacles he overcame offering this dog as a pathway of courage, acceptance and unconditional love to kids of all ages.
This gave way to a campaign known as “The Marshall Movement,” where Cyndi was able to carry this message to the big screen in a lesser known movie entitled “Marshall’s Miracle.” Willenbrock has also been travelling across the country with Marshall at her side to share his touching story with school-aged children across the nation.
Giving And Receiving
Perhaps one of the most important messages we can learn from Cyndi and her caring canine companion is one of giving and receiving love and affection despite the obstacles we may have been given in the past. Since Marshall’s recovery and subsequent training as an emotional support dog, kids flock to him like bees to honey during these emotional encounters.
Sharing And Caring
In a recent interview with The Daily Republic, Cyndi shares the story about Marshall and their incredible journey together like this:
“I always tell people if they’re going through tough times to go volunteer. It’s the same thing with animals,” shares Cyndi. “Having him trained as a therapy dog game him confidence and exposed him to people in a really safe environment. It really showed him that he does have a purpose to serve. Everyone has a purpose, and more often than not, you find that will giving to others.”
In Marshall’s and Cyndi’s case, we may often wonder, exactly who saved who or which one was the rescuer and who was given a second chance at life and then given a specific calling and purpose. No matter what we believe, the choice is obvious: Love, acceptance and courage will conquer all when faced with adversity and this is an important lesson for our children.