HONOLULU -- During the 2012 Tripler Army Medical Center Prayer Breakfast in February, Chaplain (Col.) Mike Tarvin, command chaplain, Army Medicine, spoke about qualities that make individuals "winning warriors."

One of the most important of those qualities is loyalty. Tarvin said although there are many examples of loyalty and a person who owns a dog truly knows what unwavering loyalty is all about.

"(Dogs) are always there waiting for you and always happy to see you," Tarvin said. "There is nothing like a dog. (The loyalty they display) is the kind of loyalty we, as humans, strive for."

Judy Frieson-Wood, spouse of Randy Wood, Managed Care Division, TAMC, and her family have known that love and loyalty.

Last year in January, Frieson-Wood and her family suffered the loss of their 15-year-old dog.
Cheerio, an abused and neglected Miniature Pinscher the family rescued in 1996. Over the years, Cheerio became a dear member of the family.

During the difficult time after Cheerio passed away, Frieson-Wood searched for children's books that would help her daughters, Anna and Rebekah, cope with the loss and found the genre to be limited.

She took it upon herself to create a book of her own. She wanted to support her family and help them transition through the grieving process.

"Our purpose was to make the transition of our loss easier," Friesen-Wood said. "The book is for anyone who loves pets or who has lost a pet."

Friesen-Wood, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and underwent surgery in September 2011. She was in the middle of radiation therapy when Cheerio passed away. She was inconsolable following Cheerio's passing and found herself up a lot at night.

Spc. Kiersten Frock, animal care specialist, Fort Shafter Veterinary Clinic, said there is something special about the human-animal bond, the bond people form with animals.

"Pets love you unconditionally and they are always there for you and depend on you," Frock explained. "In many families they became like another child and a (true) member of the family."

Many people recognize the special qualities that pets have that make them so valued to many.

Frieson-Wood, who is doing great now, did research online and located a publisher that would support her cause. A "dog-lover" representative assisted them in getting the book published.

With Rebekah's support, Anna was even able to create illustrations for the book, making it more personal.

The family, who still lives in Hawaii, has Ruffles, Cheerio's daughter, who is now 10 years old and continues to bring joy to their lives.

Page last updated Fri March 30th, 2012 at 18:46