Author: Matthew D. Goebel, Disabled Veteran, Retired US Marshal, Patriot &  Survivor.
I believe the most important necessity needed to survive any disaster or breakdown in the WILL to survive.  I know this because I’ve faced death and the total destruction of what I understood as ‘my life’ and lived to talk about it.  Bullets, Food, Fire, Shelter, Income, Safety and Security, or what we perceive we need to live can change in a heartbeat.  
The day I turned in my x-wife for having sex with one of her underage students from a special needs school in New Jersey…My Will to Survive was tested…and tormented.  I lost my home, job, car, kids, retirement, and sanity.  I became bankrupt, jobless, homeless and began my journey of couch surfing. I married and divorced a third wife that tried to have me arrested after a PTSD moment..and me and my two wolf dogs, living out of my SUV… I traveled from NJ, and lived in national parks and couches in several states, WY, CO, KS, OH, PA and Virginia.  I lost 33 lbs and went without and medical care or meds, no guns, just a knife.  

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I wandered through mountains, deserts, forests, and did a lot of soul searching.  The ONLY thing that kept me alive was the love and admiration of my dogs.  THIS IS A KEY component to survival of man.  Without a dog primitive man could not be warned of danger, assisted in hunting, sleep with assurance, herd sheep, etc.  I fed off their resilience and they fed off my praise.  My Will to keep them alive honed my survival instinct and determination not to perish from this disaster.  After a series of horrible relationships I relied on my wolf dogs to choose who I would trust.  This led me to a strong relationship…the best ever.  

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I worked out and marketed myself with renewed strength and confidence which led to solid employment. Now I work with the Marines in Afghanistan because I have no fear, literally my Will has turned to hope and fortitude to not just survive but thrive. With my good pay I am recouping everything I lost and realized my new lifestyle as a Prepper…because disaster comes in many forms, BUT with strong WILL and a good Dog I believe we can make it through the hardest of times, like primitive man did, with ‘Pack’ mentality…leading and sacrificing to optimize survival.  How many times have we tried to kill off wolves and they continue to survive? How many dogs have rescued children or fought off an armed enemy to the death to protect its master?  The Relationship between Dog and Man and the WILL to Survive is the strongest of bonds and cannot be broken. 

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10 thoughts on “THE WILL TO SURVIVE”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. We currently have 3 dogs though we don’t consider ourselves their owners. We didn’t go get them or buy them, they each came to us of their own accord.They are what many (in the rural area of Georgia where we live) refer to as “put-out” dogs. Each year, usually between early spring and late summer, certain people …of questionable human value… load their presumably once loved pets into their vehicles and drive them many miles from their homes. Once a suitable location is found (usually way out in the country and near our home) they “put-out” their now unwanted family member on the side of the road and drive off. This is as sad and unfortunate a ritual as it is consistently sure to repeat itself each year as the seasons themselves.

    One can only imagine how hard it is for a dog… “put-out” in a totally unfamiliar place… to process watching their loved one drive off and disappear. And how does the driver (supposedly the one having higher intelligence and gifted with the ability of reason) reason themselves through the scene that plays out in their rear-view mirror as they drive away. The image of their dependent sitting on the side of the road….. shrinking as the distance grows. Or as is often the case, the …now estranged dog… chasing after them and barking “HEY… YOU FORGOT ME”.. The dog soon succumbs to exhaustion …and the realization and hopelessness of chasing someone who is no longer there.

    I myself could never justify such an act of desertion….. But for some…. a justification can always be easily found…. for most anything. I was told once that it was “set them free or take to the pound- and the pound was certain death. This way, at least they have a chance.” Of course those weren’t really the only choices…. just the only ones considered. And it ignores the fact that dogs really are not equipped to survive in the wild. The sad reality is, dogs left in this predicament are more likely to starve or be killed by a farmer protecting his chickens. Or succumb to the elements or disease or themselves become a meal to a predator like a bobcat or coyotes….. or even a pack of wild dogs. Two years ago, not twenty miles from our farm an elderly couple out for an early evening walk were killed by a pack of wild dogs who no doubt were at one time “put-outs”. The pack was hunted down and killed. Another tragedy brought to us by though’s who just wanted to “give them a chance”.

    And what have the dog dumpers traded …for so willingly freeing themselves from the responsibility of caring for their dogs….. for escaping the no doubt immense burden of loving another creature? Well they themselves traded away the unlimited love, unending loyalty, friendship and companionship from the dogs they so carelessly cast aside.

    Most of our neighbors have multiple dogs, many, if not most are “put-outs”. All will attest to the fact that “put-outs” make great family dogs…. and for us…. have added greatly to our family. In return for providing our dogs lodging, meals, healthcare and our love, they give us love, steady and unwavering loyalty, companionship, security and protection. A better deal could never be found. I hope to to be blessed with a few more put-outs this year.

    John Gault, somewhere in Georgia…

  2. Thank you for such a stirring post. Dogs are like a giant pacifier……they help to bring all things into perspective. I’m looking at my dog as I type this…..thanks for reminding me I need to go give her a big hug!!

  3. I have to say that Will’s story is truly inspiring. He is right about having the will to live. It is amazing how one event in our lives can change our path so much or that how even to so many what would be just some dogs inspired him to give life another chance and overcome a horrible time in his life.

  4. Great post. It proves one again that a person with a strong will to survive can survive almost anything. Too many people think than stuff is going to save them when things get bad. I agree it’s good to have a lot of survival stuff available. But, the question you have to ask your self and be truthful, what would I do to survive if I didn’t have anythying, but me to survive?

  5. As a dog rescuer, I can fully appreciate the problem of dogs dumped out by idiots. What may be worse is the people who keep them – chained to trees, not giving them food and clean water every day…people are sick. Dogs are faithful.

    I’d never really considered the connection to “will” and my furbabies (rescues), but I’m going to go hug and play with them now…

  6. I currently have 3 wonderful dogs, all rescues. I tell people they rescued me not the other way around. You will never get unconditional love anywhere else. When I am sad they cheer me up. When I am happy they magnify my joy. I think I will go give them a treat now.

  7. I live in a rural part of Alaska. During one of our trips to Fairbanks for supplies, my wife and decided to sleep in our JEEP to save the money we would have spent on a hotel to purchase food… We had our Newfoundland / Husky with us. About two in the morning an rather intoxicated looking individual came through the parking lot disturbing other people who were doing the same thing we were; car camping. I think this guy was looking for cigarettes or for someone to give him a ride somewhere. Doesn’t really matter. As he approached our vehicle, our dog let out one of the meanest growls I have ever heard. This fellow heard it as well and made an immediate about face and avoided our vehicle… We had purchased the dog for protection and he paid us back that night… “Nuff said…

  8. I’ve often felt that dogs are better than humans. They are more faithful and honest and always offer all their affection to those that deserve it.

  9. Thanks for a good article, plus all the great comments. We too live in the country and have dogs and cats dumped on us all the time. We currently have 4 dogs and 5 cats.

    I especially liked John Gault’s comment about what the people were thinking as they drove off and looked in the rear-view mirror.
    There are other choices. If they treat God’s creation, yes even our pets in that in-humane way, I wonder how they would treat their brother?


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