Jonathan Lopez is the last person you want to go to with an excuse. He is a doer, a believer, an encourager, and a motivator. He does not take no for an answer and he uses his disability to empower others. He believes that if he can go out and complete a Spartan race with one arm, and medical injuries in his three remaining extremities, there is no excuse as to why anyone else can’t complete a race as well. He knows they can do it, even when they don’t know it yet themselves – sometimes it just takes a little spark of encouragement to build that confidence.
Jonathan didn’t always have confidence in himself, which is why he understands what people are going through and why he wants to be that spark to helping change peoples’ lives. When he was first injured and he watched his military career come to an end, he felt that he lost his identity and he was spiraling. He was adjusting into a civilian life he had not been prepared for and was battling the judgment of society of being a man with a visible disability. He found his solace, comfort and confidence in the unwavering, non-judgmental loyalty and love of his dog, Zoe. With Zoe by his side, people weren’t afraid to come up to him and he felt calmer speaking about his story in public crowds. She is his icebreaker and source of steadiness – constantly giving him reassurance and solace in a way that only a faithful dog can.
As he discovered a newfound love for fitness, his outlook on life started to do a 180. He was inspired and determined to compete in any race possible, and then he decided to bring Zoe with him to compete alongside him throughout the 15-mile obstacle course races. Now, the duo is unstoppable on the course and he couldn’t imagine competing without Zoe by his side. She is his teammate, but more importantly she is an inspiration to all of the other competitors on the course. When racers see Jonathan get both himself and Zoe through an obstacle course, it becomes a little more difficult for them to make an excuse for themselves.
Jonathan and Zoe will be the first to cheer you on and the last ones out on the course helping you finish. They are a simple pet and pet parent, yet they are so much more than that – they are the epitome of loyalty, inspiration and possibility.