Love 2 min read

Mom’s Christmas Gift Pulls Her Son From The Depths Of Depression

Love means never giving up.

The smallest acts of kindness hold the power to heal.

When those we love suffer, sometimes nothing we do to help seems to work. Yet, loving someone means never giving up on them--we love them unconditionally and find new ways to ease their struggles.  

This was the case for Dena Coukoulis from Tallahassee, Florida.  Dena’s twenty-six-year-old son Peter, a U.S. Marine, returned home from a five year tour of duty in Afghanistan.  

Peter’s years of service put him on the front lines of bloodshed, destruction and loss of life.  Transitioning to civilian life proved difficult as he developed PTSD; the panic attacks, anxiety and depression overtook his ability to function.  

It’s a fact that our veterans suffer horrific mental and physical scars after their service.  As Dena shared, “...with veterans committing suicide at a rate of 22 a day, I worry at all times.”

Dena feared for her son’s life and came up with an idea to help pull him from the depths of depression.

As a child Peter adored his beagle named Jackie; his time playing with her brought him happiness and warmth.  Jackie was Peter’s faithful companion until his tour of duty took her away.  Sadly, she passed away while Peter was still overseas.

But, Dena found a way to bring Jackie’s loving innocence back to Peter’s life.

Wrapped in a special, ornament-covered box for Christmas, a tiny beagle puppy waited to shower Peter with love.  The video of this life-affirming gift has gone viral.

By knowing what Peter held nearest to his heart, his mother and family were able to lift his spirits.  That’s love.


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