The Essence of a Heart

 In OBX Community, Pets & Wildlife

Ask folks with grey in their hair, and most will tell you learning lessons in this journey of life is why we are here in this world. Positive, harmful, or in between, we learn that lesson and then move on to the next one. But, if we fail to realize, it somehow returns like a 2×4 to the head, to show us again, and again, until we get it. “Live and learn,” as the cliche goes.

Now qualifying with greying hair, I have learned the essence of the
human heart is defined by three things:

  1. How you treat children.

  2. How you treat the elderly and impaired.

  3. How you treat animals, especially DOGS.

I have found many friend’s here in the Outer Banks who qualify. 

The human I have met for this article, Thomas Nycz, is a veteran and now a disabled fireman. He and his wife, Kim, have four children and reside in Wanchese. Tom has taught me that “dogs are God’s way of proving that He didn’t want us to walk alone.”

Initially, Tom and wife Kim adopted a smaller black labrador mix puppy from the Outer Banks Shelter to help one of their children who suffered night terrors. Thunder was up to the task, and his unconditional love for that child brought security, peace, and rest, not only to that child but also to the entire family. Thunder filled the hearts of his family with his unique spirit. Tom, being disabled, found a loving shadow in Thunder as he went about his daily endeavors. The bonds were tight.

Thunder’s strength and love for his family came to a crisis last December, though. A hit-and-run driver ran over Thunder and dragged him down the street under the car. It never stopped. It just kept on driving. Though badly injured in his hind legs, Thunder still managed to drag himself home, where he collapsed on the porch. His family rushed him to Roanoke Island Animal Clinic in Manteo. In 2021, Thunder was an “older dog.” Because of that, his veterinarian, Dr. Mary Burkhart, hesitated to treat Thunder’s severe multiple injuries, which would include amputation of one hind leg and a hip replacement on the other. 

Like most of us, Tom and Kim Nycz are not rich people in monetary terms. Even with financial adjustments from the veterinary clinic, Thunder’s initial bill wiped out their savings. They were facing another several thousand of dollars in upcoming bills for his surgeries and care.

obx dog thunder

They were in the middle of a crossroads; humanely let Thunder go or go out on a limb with Thunder and save him for a longer life. Their response was automatic…Thunder was family. Thunder’s loving heart and spirit had always been there for them, and they refused to desert him in his time of need. It was time to call in more help.

The Coastal Humane Society is a charitable service organization that works locally to help the people of the Outer Banks in times of financial stress caring for their pets. Their objective is to help pet parents provide for their pets when needed, so no one is forced to give up or compromise their pet’s care due to financial hardship. As a result, the human-animal bond stays strong and vibrant, the pets are healthier, and the love is shared. Operating on this simple premise, the Coastal Humane Society has helped over 9,200 Outer Banks pets and their families since its formation in 1997. Non-profit, the Coastal Humane Society exists on donations and volunteers. (More information on how you can help at the end of this article.)

Thunder Nycz and his family found a perfect partner in the Coastal Humane Society. The Society’s volunteers stepped up with knowledge and guidance for the family in creating and operating social media options to help find the funds needed for Thunder’s medical bills. Coastal Humane Society’s Main Point of Contact, Patti Bourexis, was inspired by how the entire Nycz Family followed the instructions and tasks assigned to create a positive future of health for Thunder. They also met and exceeded every benchmark of therapy and recovery set for Thunder by Dr. Burkhart. Tom Nycz could tell Thunder’s willing heart and spirit was soaring as he accomplished what they requested of him.

If you’d like to know more about the

Coastal Humane Society:

Main Contact: Patti Bourexis
Phone: 252- 261-7417
Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
Email: INFO@OBXCoastalHumaneSociety.Org
Website: OBXCoastalHumaneSociety.Org

Also, on FaceBook. coastal humane society logo

Donations and volunteers are always appreciated!

In January 2022, Thunder had his left hind leg amputated and a new hip joint installed in the other leg. But, with his family’s help, he’s busy learning to navigate his world as a 3-legged dog. Tom and Kim Nycz successfully raised the needed funds for Thunder’s medical expenses through the kind donations of folks like us on FaceBook and GoFundMe.

To a dog, his human is his world. He demonstrates his gratitude with the uncompromising love of a wagging tail, happy hugs and kisses, and his head thrown back in his howling song; he will always be there for you—life and love, together as one, the true essence of a heart.

Rebecca Orr
Author: Rebecca Orr

Rebecca is a recent Iowa transplant to the Outer Banks and spends her days enjoying the beach and seafood, and her nights contemplating the sea and the stars. It has been her long-held dream to be a writer.

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