Friday, August 26, 2011

Don't Use Fallen Soldier's Dog In Iowa Game: Pay Homage To Fallen Soldiers By Honoring Grieving Families

Millions of dog lovers nationwide were affected by the pictures this week of Hawkeye, a dog mourning the loss of his master.

Hawkeye, a labrador retriever, was owned by Navy Seal Jon Tumlinson, who was killed in that tragic helicopter crash in Afghanistan a few weeks ago that killed 31 other American soldiers.

Hawkeye was such a devoted dog to his owner that during Tumlinson's funeral, Hawkeye wouldn't leave the casket.  These pictures made national news, illustrating the bond between dog and master.

Tumlinson was apparently a devoted Iowa Hawkeye fan (hence the origin of his dog's name), and when former Hawkeye player Jon Lazar heard of this, he had an idea: have Hawkeye lead Iowa out onto the field for the opening football game.

After all, it will be eight days before the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.

I think it's a terrible idea.

If you want to do something to honor the sacrifices of Iowan soldiers since 9/11, have the (human) families of all the soldiers from Iowa who have been killed on the football field instead.  If you want to make an impact, show the state the human impact of their loss.  Have the kids of the dead soldiers lead the team out instead.  Really, Iowa, a dog??

Another reason to not let the dog do it is that by all accounts, it is still deeply mourning the loss of his master.  He  may become upset and confused in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans.  How would that look if the dog becomes frightened or anxious?  I love dogs, and have worked with a lot of them, and there's just no way to predict how he will act.

Iowa, don't use a dog to signify the losses you've suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Honor your people instead.


Anonymous said...

What's wrong with the dog leading he's not a person but doesn't he still have feelings also?????? You must not be an animal lover.And maybe the family of the soldier would appreciate that being the dog was soooooooo devoted to the soldier!!! Some people are soooo insensitive!!

Jules said...

I am very, very much a dog lover, which is why I don't want the dog to be out on a field in front of tens of thousands of screaming people with 80+ large football players running behind him and a marching band playing loud music. I just can not see the dog responding well, especially considering it just lost its master. Dogs do have feelings, and this one is grieving badly. Running out at a football game is not going to cheer him up.

I actually should have also said in the article that, while I'd like the kids to be involved, obviously there's a reasonable limit to that, too. No need to further traumatize anyone.

Thanks for your comment, though, and thanks for reading!

Laura said...

I feel that the opinions expressed in your article were awful. Dog's are wonderful creatures. I think it's wonderful to allow the dog to be part of the opening football game. Why not have the dog lead and have the children and families of the other soldiers follow. What you are forgetting is that although Hawkeye may walk on 4 legs, he was this soldier's family. They clearly had a wonderful bond.

Jules said...

Thanks for your opinion but did you only read a couple lines? I LOVE dogs, which is why my chief concern is the dog's well-being. The dog doesn't know he's at a football game to honor his master. He doesn't need to be there. Not because I don't him to honor his master if he could (because he did that at the funeral), but because I can not see a grieving dog in that situation reacting well. If I'm awful because I'm trying to protect this dog from being used in this manner, then I'm happy to be awful.