Iowa Lakes Equestrian

At Overlook Farm


Seize the day! - getting the most out of every twenty-four hours

Posted by Greg Ervin, MS on August 17, 2012 at 10:10 PM

A beautiful summer morning! The sunshines and heavy dew from overnight glistens from each blade of grass, gently brushing yesterday’s dust from my boots as I walk through the farmyard ready to face a new day of opportunities and challenges.

As I climb into the pick-up truck to go to work, our farm’s dogs and horses greet me, as they do each morning and they’re consistently eager faces remind me today of the importance of living in the moment. You know, as I pause and think about this, our dogs and horses are always excited to see me. This inherent zest for life is contagious and animals are the very best for living in the moment.

Dr. Stanley Coren predicts that dog’s cognitive abilities are approximately that of three-year old children (Krantz, 2009). The dog, always happy to greet it’s owner, running from person to person with wagging tail, showing affection with no worries about the next minute, next hour, or next day. The dog truly finds wonderful joy in the moment, a similar display of out ward emotions seen in a young child. Biblically, Jesus often teaches us much about the importance of being like a child.

Because of the powerful loving bonding abilities dogs possess, a unique program has been designed for our military heroes. It provides special dogs to live with our wounded service men and women, helping our heroes overcome the obstacles of war, and giving them new hope. This new outlook gives them strength to face opportunities and challenges they will encounter every twenty-four hours after returning home from their tours overseas.

The Purple Heart Service Dog program helps our service men and women in many significant ways. As a therapeutic part of their treatment programs, soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome spend valuable time training retired racing Gray Hounds to become certified service dogs for their comrades who have been physically wounded in battle. These wonderful dogs are trained to perform multitudes of tasks including turning on and off lights, fetching, lifting and carrying objects, as well as becoming life long companions to the injured warriors. Living in the moment, these special dogs toil with an endless bounty of love and provide their trainers, and eventually their injured partners, with countless years of life-helping services.


As we contemplate the many positive outcomes of the work preformed by all involved with the Purple Heart Service Dog program, we to can enrich our own busy lives by looking for openings each day to be a blessing to others. Our daily routine may be shook or inconvenienced a bit, but stepping out to help others truly makes our world a better place. And we ask, how do we add more to our already busy day? We look to Sir William Osler, the founder of John Hopkins School of Medicine, who followed these words leading him to a life free from worry and filled with hope, possibilities and challenge; “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand” (Carnegie, 1948.

Using a weekly or monthly goal or to-do list with updates on a daily basis is an effective method for organizing work and non-work related tasks. There is nothing more gratifying than scratching completed tasks and appointments from your list. Managing the list keeps important tasks clearly at hand and eliminates energy extended on nebulous tasks that lie dimly at a distance. Adopting this system of daily task management might be just what is needed to do more and as we find more time, we can develop into our routines the conscious habit of stepping out and helping others. The most exciting lessons soon learned from this experience is that as we perfect the more efficient use of our time and the positive use of our talents, we not only become a blessing for those around us but we surprisingly grow from the experiences and in turn help ourselves!

From Our Helping Others Series – Your Friends At Overlook Farm

Gregory M. Ervin MS, CCA
Executive Director

Links to various groups employing Purple Heart Service Dog Programs




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