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Over the last three years, our son has gone from an urban homeschooler to fulfilling his dream as a Soldier. It's been a wild ride, and there is so much more awaiting him. As a mom, I keep tabs on what's going on in the world, what he may be going through, what he may endure and how it may affect the rest of us civilians. And as a Pagan, I also like to learn from others who are or have served to understand their perspectives, victories and struggles. From what I learn, I share with others and have been faithfully doing so every week.

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Unconditional love is pure magick

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another posting! And yes - Happy Lammas everyone! What plans do you have for today? For us, it's a special one, as our beloved furbaby made it to his thirteenth year after having a few scary moments. He's getting old, slowing down, sleeping more often, but there's still those times where he dances around and plays just like when he was a kitten.

So to make today a special day, I contacted my local supermarket to see if their sushi chefs would be willing to offer their art for him and make him a birthday "cake". I thought they'd think I was a crazy cat lady, but nope - they thought it would be a cool thing to do! So after I stop by the office to get my commission check, I'm paying them a visit. I'm thinking salmon and extra tuna. And yes, his vet said "people food" is okay as the occasional treat, as long as it's plain. So don't worry, it will be sans the ginger, wasabi and soy sauce. Oh, and his present - a new collar we special-ordered with the digital camo. (Stupid clothes! haha)

It has me thinking how much it must pain those fighting overseas must feel to be separated from their furbabies, too. And yes, the love is definitely mutual. We've all seen the videos countless times, of when someone returns home, and the families rejoice. The ones with the moms and the ones with the children are always wonderful, especially the surprise ones. But I will say, the ones where the dogs see them for the first time - those are always tear-jerker moments. Let's watch a few:

(I like the wait over two minutes in for the tail to start wagging. The anticipation was killing me!)

(In this one, the dog was only a pup when he left for Afghanistan, but oh yes, she remembers him alrighty!)

(And of course, this is the one everyone's talking about. Those whimpers and barks! "Don't you ever leave me like that again!")

The welcome homes for people is different. Even for children, it's different, because they can at least be told Dad is gone but will be cominghome. They can talk to them on Skype, write letters and make phone calls. For our animal companions, they don't know. So when Mom, or Dad, or Big Brother or Sister come home, the reunion is nothing short of beautiful - coming from sentient beings who give pure, unconditional love. It's that kind of love that can turn even the coldest heart warm.

Unfortunately, not every reunion happens, as we all know too well. But in one case, it didn't have to happen. For 1st Lt. Brandon Harker, he couldn't wait to come home and give snuggles and pets to his buddy, Oakley. He entrusted a friend to care for Oakley while he was serving, but for reasons not truly known, his friend gave Oakley away to someone on Craigslist. I think everyone I know said the same thing in unison:

"What an ****!!!"

Lt. Harker is asking folks to help him get Oakley back, and I ask folks, while you're making your breads and corn dollies today, or however else you celebrate the first harvest, please add some good intentions into the mix so these two can once again be together. Envision Oakley running up to Daddy like in the video clips I posted above, barking, wagging and licking his face, doing the ultimate happy dance. Our troops sacrifice so much for us, many of whom have such hard lives ahead, and I think it's only right we try to make their homecomings joyful - even if it's just a man and his dog.

This post is short, I know, but I wanted to instead spend your time watching the videos to help you do a little magick for these two. I hope you all have a wonderful harvest filled with good things to eat and good people to share it with. Many blessings to you and yours!

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Lori Dake is native Chicagoan, a wife and mother to one and works in real estate leasing apartments. Things she enjoys are heavy metal, being a foodie (mostly vegetarian), camping, writing and painting.

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