Dear Phoebe

Ed. Note: I host a chat room on Starbright World, an online community for children with chronic medical problems. Each month, I hold a special workshop for kids who like to write. We share poems, essays, songs and stories, often intimate glimpses into the lives and times of some of the strongest people I know. At the end of each chat, I assign the kids a topic and a writing exercise to complete before our next meeting. Recently, I asked them to write a letter to their hero. This is Rebecca's letter.

A letter to one of my heroes ☺

The word "hero" is defined as, "a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal." So when asked most people would probably say their hero is someone close to them in their life or even a superhero or celebrity that may seem like they are indestructible. But when I think about a hero I think about someone who is the opposite, someone that has seen or experienced things others have not. When I think about who my hero might be it’s a tough call, I could say my hero is a family member, a friend or even a movie star. But in all honesty I think I would have to say one of my many heroes has to be Phoebe the service dog. Here is a letter I wrote to Phoebe.

Dear Phoebe,

I know you probably don’t get many letters since you are a dog, but I thought I would write you one even though you won’t be able to write back. When I looked at the definition of a hero online I was thinking of all the people who I could write a letter to but you came to mind because you are a true hero. You are not just an ordinary dog or even just a really good dog, you are a service dog and you are trained to help people. Although you help Lauren mostly, you are able to help people that you come across while you do something as simple as help Lauren walk to the store. You can spread joy, hope and happiness to everyone you meet even if it might seem like they don’t need it. More importantly you help Lauren walk after not being able to for many years. I am not sure that I have ever seen a human so dedicated to helping someone as much as you are to helping Lauren, so that is a truly special quality. In my eyes as well as many others you are the definition of hero. You work hard in order to help others, perform selfless acts everyday and spread joy to everyone you meet. I know most people just look at service dogs as regular dogs that are trained to do above and beyond but I look at you as a true hero and an equal. You may be a dog but you are one heck of a boss! I would like to thank you for all of your heroic work and dedication.