Submitted by: Eric Haynes

Category: Film / Documentary

My Belgian Malinois stole my heart for life and we are now bonded at the heart and soul with a mission like no other. I now have purpose joy, hope and freedom. Her name is Ciara, a former Army SF bomb sniffer, now my service dog. My life together with Ciara would become history at a song writer conference, of all places. Because of music, she would become the pitch-perfect sound in my life I had been waiting for and been given to complement all the tragedies that life had thrown my way.

My life has been filled with uphill climbs, even as a child. Growing up, I sang and wrote songs, but never told anyone. It was my get-away, the place I could express myself where nobody else could intrude in my life and tell me how stupid I was or how slow I was, or I could not do something. I was good at it. The lyrics flowed and I was given a gift, and even if at the time it were to only benefit me, I was not to be denied. I was afraid to share it with society at 16 years old. I would not be totally free and open up to the world with this gift until 32 years later. In 2018 I wrote “FREE” but would not start singing until the spring of 2019, once Ciara came along we went to open-mic nights because I finally had the strength to start life over. Ciara gave me my physical voice back.

I believe words can be some of the worst pain any human being can inflict on another human being, yet words can also be used to uplift someone to new heights and this is what Ciara and I do now. In 2000, 18 years before Ciara, I would sing to my dad who was dying and later at his funeral, I sang the very first song I wrote.

I went into hiding again with my voice. While I was in Iraq I fell 15 feet and landed on my head and suffered a TBI, In 2016 was in a car accident and suffered a massive concussion.

We do benefit concerts, have been in many articles, featured in a book and are currently writing a book. Our documentary called "Unexpected Bond" will soon be released by Newhouse Studios, Syracuse University. We also wrote a bill in Congress with John Katko to stop military dogs from being euthanized. We met the Penn State tootball team and Trace McSorley, Coach Franklin and got autographs. We have auditioned on "America's Got Talent", climbed the Empire State Building together, saw the 911 Dog Museum, attended a UFC fight where Joe Rogan pet Ciara. We are two very blessed vets on this journey

About the author:

Eric J. Haynes is a singer/songwriter who served in the Army AD 1995-2007 and Iraq from 2005-2006 before being medically discharged. Ciara is 11-years-old, understands four languages: English, French, Dutch and German. She to did a year oveseas and also suffers from PTSD.