My PTSD Counselor Has a Wet Nose.
I have been asked over and over, “What is a PTSD dog?” I come up with a bigger answer every time I think about all the things she does for me as I learn to just trust her. PTSD service dogs are not your common service dog. PTSD service dogs, unfortunately, will be very common soon enough and we need to start now in alerting the public and getting the dogs trained and ready to go.
Scrubs has given me new life. What I mean by that is, I can go out in public and not have the same anxiety attack that I may have without her. My anxiety attacks can take days to get over, but since she needs to go outside every day, we just go.
Most of the time we will be by ourselves but she is also a way to take attention off of me if we do go to a mall or crowded store. When I awaken during the night with a bad feeling, if Scrubs is sleeping, then I know everything is just a dream. When I am with my dog I feel like I can talk to anyone. If I do get overwhelmed she can pull me outside on command and in many cases get me all the way back to the car.
When she is wearing the proper vest she keeps people away from me. If I need help she barks and barks getting the attention of everyone around us. She has labeling on her vest and emergency information on her dog tags. Having my dog Scrubs with me really helps me stay focused on her.
The games we play together have several purposes: first, she gives me a cold hard stare as I ask her to move forward one step at a time; second, it is a focusing exercise like breathing which decreases anxiety. When I use that exercise during an anxiety attack, it takes the focus off of me and Scrubs is the one people are looking at.
I feel like she has my back no mater what. If I cry or say something out of anger she is still going to be there. Scrubs has my back 24/7. I can talk to her and tell her things just to get them off my chest. I have never been judged by Scrubs.
US Army Veteran living with PTSD
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.