I am honored to introduce to you my service dog Scrubs. She is a tri-colored border collie and she is 4 years old. She started out her life on a cattle ranch in the foothills of Coalinga, California. This part of California has nothing but cattle and agriculture, so border collies are pretty common.
I decided I needed to have a dog in my life once again. I asked a good friend of mine and she said, “I will ask around.” This woman was Coalinga’s version of Google and a couple of days later I had a phone number and I made the call that would change my life. I picked her up at the ranch, became friends with the folk on the ranch who were all really good people.
First things first, I had to wash all the cow (SMELL) off of this dog. After her bath we went to my photography studio and I had 2 or 3 customers. One or two hours passed and I realized I had no dog. Yep, she ran 7 miles that night back to the ranch (She really hates a bath time.)
I picked her up the next morning and something clicked between us and she has never left my side again. Some days she would go into the bank with me or walk to the park for a photo shoot with a customer. I knew this dog and she knew me.
Scrubs has excellent herding skills and she is bred to do this new job for me. To control the people around me in a friendly manner, she stands behind me in line so people don’t get too close. If I wake up at night in a panic and she is sleeping, I know what I am feeling or dreaming is not real.
Scrubs is just as jumpy as I am and her reaction is faster than mine, she is already assessing the situation. I trust her. Sometimes she will wake up just to give me the “why don’t we go back to sleep?” look. She blocks people from getting too close to me.
She and I have some very effective breathing and focus techniques and she knows before I do when I am getting anxiety symptoms and she gets my attention by pawing or jumping up on me. She will pull me with all her might to get me outside. She has my back and I am here today partly because of the care this dog never quits giving. Scrubs is on 24/7 so I don’t have to be.
Don’t get me wrong, this story is the short version. Countless upon countless hours of training was involved by several people as well as me to produce this magnificent PTSD service dog named Scrubs.
My mission is to use my experiences to help other veterans understand and recognize the signs, symptoms and effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, and then to help them find the resources they need to cope with its effects and live a happy productive life.