I spent the last three days in Seattle, working with the local Salvation Army staff.
In passing, I met Richard LeMieux and his 12 year-old bichon frise, Willow. LeMieux recently published a book about his life called Breakfast at Sally’s: One Homeless Man’s Inspirational Journey. It details his transformation from wealthy businessman, family man, and owner of luxury cars and homes, all the way to homelessness, depression and attempted suicide.
LeMieux called his book Breakfast at Sally’s because The Salvation Army in Bremerton, Washington, affectionately known as “Sally’s,” figured prominently in his healing. It’s the scene of so many interactions with other homeless individuals and Salvation Army Major James Baker, all of whom helped LeMieux see the value in his life.
Another major factor in LeMieux’s healing is Willow, “the wonder dog.” In fact, she gets much of the credit for keeping him from jumping off a bridge one night when he’d had enough of his life. The sound of her frantic barking reached him on the edge of the bridge, sending him back to his beat up old van and his precious dog.
The two of them are still inseparable. Since the book was published in October, LeMieux and Willow have done book signings and speaking engagements all over the US. He told me a sweet story about a recent trip to Columbus, Ohio. LeMieux got to sit in a place of honor next to Senator (and astronaut) John Glenn at the head table at a Salvation Army event. Glenn was so taken with Willow that he cut up his chicken breast and let her eat it right there on the floor of the swanky ballroom.
One really can’t help being grateful for Willow’s role in LeMieux’s transformation. God uses who He can to give us breakthroughs exactly when we need them. Willow was the “who” God gave LeMieux to get him through loss and depression. Their bond is precious and God-blessed.
I have an extra copy of the book that I’d be happy to share. Be the first to post a comment about your special human / animal bond and I’ll send it to you!