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El Capitan de Los Protectores

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     Tacara's Rose Royal Paladin, Gloria's Belgian Tervuren Service Dog, is well named. From the first moment he saw her, he chose Gloria to be his companion. Out of a pen of gorgeous male pups, he alone came and snuggled next to Gloria's leg and just waited until she realized that he was the one.
    First a show dog, who nearly completed his championship, he became a working Service Dog when Gloria fell from a ladder and was then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome. He has his CGC from the AKC, and has taken advanced obedience training with Terri Wilson. He and Gloria are a recognized team by the IAADP and have worked together for three years.
    His work allows Gloria to go places and do things she wouldn't otherwise be able to do. In May of 2004, he accompanied Gloria and her family to Washington, D.C. for the dedication of the World War II Memorial. Although he had flown before, he had never ridden escalators, subways, or open trams, but - whatever new experience was offered to him he accomplished it with his usual dignity and grace.

On the National Mall

     With the Capital Dome hovering in the background like a cloud the family pauses on the National Mall to decide what to see next. Notice that Pal is standing in normal position at Gloria's side. We were still pretty fresh at this point.
     From left to right, Gloria, Pal, Gloria's sister Nora, Nora's boys Bryan and Tyler, and Gloria's Dad.

World War II Memorial at the Pacific side.

     The family poses in front of the Pacific Memorial within the WWII Memorial area. Pal, although it looks a bit like he wishes he were somewhere else, is actually leaning against his harness to help Gloria stand up-right.

    We had gone through the Smithsonian by this point and everyone was getting tired - and the Memorial is so poignant that it took an emotional toll on all of us.



Dad and Gloria at the WWII Memorial

Gloria and her Dad in front of the Pacific monument. Notice that by now Pal is really leaning to hold Gloria up-right. We walked back to the subway and headed back to the hotel not long after this picture was taken.

An old soldier reflects....

At 81, with his brother and most of his friends gone, Dad pauses for a private moment with his memories.

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." 
- John Steinbeck 

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