Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Welcoming Invictus to the Camp Good Days' Family

I am excited to share that for those attending Camp Good Days this summer we are welcoming the newest member of our family, an Olde English Bulldog puppy, Invictus.  Invictus will be the third in the line of bulldogs, going back to the reason for Camp Good Days, my daughter, Teddi. 

When Teddi was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 1979 at the age of nine, she underwent a seven and a half hour craniotomy, and when I met with Dr. Nelson following the surgery, he explained that he did the best he could but that they were not able to get it all. Therefore, he suggested to start Teddi on eight weeks of radiation, which would take place Monday through Friday and with that, it would be best for her to finish school at home, with a tutor.  With her brother and sister at school and her home, he suggested it might be a good idea to get a puppy so that she would have something to focus on and take care of.  I went to the library and took out a big book with pictures of all the different breeds of dogs so that Teddi could look through it and pick out the one she wanted.  The next morning she came down and was very proud of herself because she had selected an English Bulldog.

Back then the English Bulldog was not a very popular breed of dog in Upstate New York but wanting to be a good Dad and hold true to my promise, I went over to World Wide News and picked up a copy of Dog World Magazine.  In that I found a breeder in Jamestown and when I called they had one puppy left who was the runt of the litter and already 16 weeks old, who they had named Sweetums. Teddi, her Mom and her sister went to pick up Sweetums.  We had always brought dogs to Camp Good Days and Sweetums was no different, quickly becoming part of the Camp Good Days’ family. Although Teddi died a few years later, Sweetums lived to be 12 years old, the same age Teddi was when she passed away.  For the children at Camp Good Days who are going through their battle with cancer, which can include hair loss, increase or decreases in weight, scarring, or the need for prosthesis, they oftentimes don’t like what they see when they look at themselves.  Pets can be so great and become so valuable because they are not judgmental or cruel.  As the famous quote says, “I want to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.”

We later got Jordyn who was a part of the Camp Good Days’ family for 10 years and now Invictus, whose name means unconquerable and to me represents the courage of all of our campers.  The inspiration for his name came because earlier this year, Wendy and I had the opportunity to attend the Invictus Games in Orlando, which were started by Prince Harry.  We were able to see the Bronze Medal Game between Denmark and the Netherlands, and the Gold Medal Wheelchair Basketball Game between the United States and the United Kingdom.  Wendy and I both have been to many, many sporting events over the years, but this was truly one of the most inspiring experiences.  To watch the wounded warriors, and their commitment and strength is amazing.  They say that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it.  These athletes all paid a significant price in protecting our freedom and athletes everywhere, as well as the rest of us, could learn so much from them.

Hence, we felt that Invictus was the perfect name for our newest addition and our newest Director of Barketing and we are thrilled to have him join our family at Camp Good Days!