Local Gold Star Family makes history with service dogs

MILAN, Tenn. — Retired high school teacher Cindy Tatum says she’s caught more than one person off guard when she introduces herself, plus her service dog, Linus — short for Linasaurus Rex.

Screen Shot 2020 10 15 At 12.15.31 Pm

One of those people was a staff member at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C.

“He said, ‘I’ll be right back.’ So he went downstairs and came back up and he was grinning from ear to ear. He said. ‘It’s a go. Everything is perfect,'” Tatum said.

Tatum and her husband are Gold Star Parents.

They were invited to participate in the wreath laying ceremony, and of course, Linus and Cindy’s husband’s service dog, Millie, went with them.

Wreath Laying

“This is the first time in history that service dogs, let alone one, but two service dogs, have been down to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown,” Tatum said.

Why is this event important? Service dogs like Linus haven’t been in use for all that long, and people like Tatum are working to normalize it.

“It’s part of understanding the dogs perform a service,” Tatum said. “It’s just like you taking medication for something. The dog is able to perform that service for you.”

Gold Star Wreath Laying

The dogs were trained through a service called ‘Working Dogs for Vets’, and in this case, veterans’ parents.

Tatum’s dogs help remind them to take medication and alert other people to medical problems.

“At the end of the day, we’re bringing awareness to service dogs, we’re bringing awareness to Gold Star Families, and forming an education on both sides of that,” Tatum said.

Cindy Tatum is the National President of American Gold Star Mothers. Her son, Daniel Tatum, was in the Marine Corps. He died in 2007.

Categories: Local News, News