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Zach's Journey

October 4, 2021

My Pal Bill and his Dog

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Written by: Bob Guere
~I little over a year ago, I met a very interesting man with interesting name. Over time, I learned more about him, including his name and his beautiful story would take shape.In my eyes, he became a legend.
~My friends name is William Patience and it took a year before I learned how ironic his name is. I knew that Bill had been in an accident but I that’s all I knew. I could tell that it had been bad-bad enough not to ask what had happened. Bill never complained when I saw him, just talked about how much better he was getting and how grateful he was to be alive. Don’t get me wrong, you could tell that some days were better than others, but he wouldn’t dare complain, I could just tell. 
~Bill knows my story and he knows that I too was very sick, not from an accident but from alcohol induced liver and kidney failure. He also knows how my dogs played a crucial role in saving my life. Despite not knowing BIll all that well, every time I saw him at Starbuck’s or elsewhere around town, he’d make sure to stop me and let me know what great work I was doing and that he was proud. He made direct eye contact with me and sometimes voiced his pride and appreciation unabashedly, in front groups of people. That’s important because in the realm of “MANHOOD” its rare for a dude to feel comfortable enough with himself to compliment another man- so endearingly, no less- within earshot of whomever and anyone. I appreciate that about Bill, very much so in fact. Don’t get me wrong, there are “men” that are proud of me and say so, but other than my Dad, its not usually so blatant and clear of a communication. Most of the folks that follow Marley’s Mutts are women and I think you’d agree that they have an intrinsic inclination to appreciate compassionate work like saving dogs; men may appreciate it but rarely communicate it. I think that because so many women follow our Facebook and our adventures, it may even be a deterrent for men to voice their opinion or get involved for fear that they’ll get lumped in with the women supporters. This is of course ridiculous but nonetheless a reality. Bill is not one of those men who fears others opinions and he is glowingly proud of the work I/we do, but why? 
~I found out why in an email that Bill sent me about his accident which took place right after returning home from the War in Iraq. That’s right, Iraq. Bill’s full name is in fact Lieutenant Colonel William Patience of The United States Air Force. In his email, Bill detailed that he was nearly killed in an accident that basically ripped his face off, fractured his skull in 4 places, crushed his nasal cavity, broke his neck and back and left him in a drug induced coma for 6 weeks. The accident happened in 2008 and he does NOT remember ANY of 2009. Bill’s road to recovery was treacherous and required years of rehabilitation, many surgeries and an iron will. Bill did have a secret weapon, though much different from the conventional weapons that he was accustomed to wielding. It was not made of steel and wasn’t capable of traveling at mach 2, instead it was poofy-white,weighed in at about 12 pounds and used its tongue to promote healing! Bill’s secret weapon is a Bichon-poodle mix named Jazz, and she made it her mission to help Dad get better- to help Dad survive and thrive despite the odds. Now I was beginning to see that Bill and I had a lot in common because his dog had helped save his life as well. Just like Marley would lay next to me in the bathroom while I vomited blood, Jazz would lay on Bill’s chest while he struggled to cope with the pain. Jazz became Bill’s mascot, cheerleader and wellness-warrior and with her help, he survived and was thriving. Bill had a dramatic setback when in Dec. 2010 he suffered a catastrophic seizure that debilitated him. Jazz sprung in to action and rested on his chest to help calm him down, calmly licking his face as if to say “don’t worry, Dad, help will be here soon.” When the paramedics arrived, Jazzy was still on his chest, doing her job, and the paramedics all but had to pry her off! Now thats LOVE!
~ Bill is still healing and learning how to do things that used to come easy to him. I guess we are all “still learning” and with the support of our canine companions, we find it evermore tolerable to come back from the brink and strive towards wellness, health and a balanced life. Jazzy flies with him and continues to be a source of strength and unconditional love. Thanks for sharing your story, Bill, i can’t wait to see you at Starbuck’s and let you know how proud of you I AM!


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