Five years ago, there would be no way I would have written this column. That was during my pre-Coqui life, a time when I thought dogs were cute, but only from a distance.

There was certainly no way our household would ever have a dog, we told our three daughters every time the topic came up.

But then there was Coqui, the border collie, cocker spaniel puppy that was too energetic for Grandma. His big brown eyes, playful personality and overall cuteness were impossible to say no to and he moved into our home permanently in February 2011 and almost instantaneously, I became a “dog-lover.”

I wrote about Coqui in December 2012, and don’t want to come off as a bragging mom so I won’t go into all the special qualities of the mutt who has become king of the household. But, I can tell you that I now have a better understanding of the love a person can have for man or woman’s best friend.

I won’t go so far as to say I understand people who leave their life savings to their pet when they die, but I can certainly understand the bond people share with their animals.

Dogs are loyal beyond belief – always happy to see their “people,” never remembering times when their voices were raised in admonition to their antics. They ask for little: food, water, attention, maybe a scratch on the belly, but nothing more. They are happy with just the slightest bit of attention, and, at least in Coqui’s case, will spend hours snuggling on the couch with family members during Packer games.

I truly can’t imagine life without a dog and surprisingly, my husband, who shared my feelings about dogs in the house prior to Coqui, feels exactly the same way.

Why am I talking about dogs and the joy they have brought our household?

This issue of Catholic Herald Family features a touching story about a Golden Labrador named Stallone who recently moved into the Skora family’s home in rural Burlington.

But Stallone is no ordinary dog. He’s a psychiatric service dog who has been specially trained to attend to the needs of 11-year-old Troy whose life has been scarred by years of abuse in the home of his biological family.
Fortunately for him, he and his siblings were removed from that situation and now have a safe, adoptive home with Rose Skora, yet the scars remain.

In an effort to help Troy deal with the lingering effects of the abuse, Skora, with the help of her community that raised $10,000 for Stallone, hopes to have found a way to help Troy deal with the effects of Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).

As you’ll read on Page 6, “Stallone’s arrival brings ‘hope 4 Troy,’’’ trust is a difficult concept for Troy. Perhaps his four-footed, furry friend will be the one to gain Troy’s trust and help show him that there is love and safety in the world.

Also this issue, don’t miss Jacob Scobey-Polacheck’s column that addresses prayer and sports. You’ll never guess who instigated prayer following one of his sporting events. Jacob offers some interesting insights into the value of communal prayer and the camaraderie and team spirit it has brought to this group of young adults.

Finally, this month, travel as a family through the remainder of Lent and into the Easter season with the help of Henry Reyes’ reflection on Page 4. Looking back on the journey the Holy Family traveled, Reyes suggests we turn to them as a model for our own lives.

A Blessed Easter season to all!