Maurice and Horton
Daniel and Kenya
Vince and Flay
How has a service dog helped?
When I think back to that first day, the culmination of uncertainty and second guessing the decision to get a service dog was at its peak.
What the heck are we doing in Kansas?!?
We waited anxiously as others names were called and their selected dog was handed over to them.
As I recall that moment in time, in my mind, it replays as a film in slow motion. I can vividly see that smiling, prancing, big fluffy ball of fluff crossing the room. The leash relinquished to my husband as they pronounced this is Horton, for Maurice and with those huge, soft, gentle eyes he looked up into my husband’s eyes and planted a big wet slurp on his cheek. It was as if he was saying "here I am Dad, I've waited so long to meet you". The look in my husband’s face still overwhelms me when I reflect on it. The image of his smile when meeting Horton spoke silently of hope, joy, and love. It is a treasured snapshot forever seared in my memory bank.
Initially we were not completely certain how Horton was going to help him. Maurice has PTSD. We have lived with this diagnosis for 20 years, although it was not identified as such until 14 years ago. Our whole family has suffered much from all the effects of this. Maurice has worked extremely hard and diligently over the years to process and manage symptoms. He does not fit under a typical umbrella of symptoms, no longer has flashbacks and no hypervigilance. For him the most profound effects have been on self-worth and depression. We have spent years carrying this secret burden, heavily laden with guilt and shame. How on earth would a dog address this?
In the beginning days I noticed that Horton created a sense of purpose. This dog was his responsibility. We have another dog at home but this was different. He constantly looked to Maurice for some direction, as in what can I do for you Dad? A deep bond was being forged as Maurice took all the duties of care giving for the dog. A sense of pride was sparked when looking after Horton. A deep appreciation was there, he has my back and I've got his.
When Maurice was feeling down the dog would just be there next to him gaining his trust. Maurice went out more with the dog and this was well received. What had initially been one of the biggest emotional obstacles to obtaining him, going everywhere accompanied by a service dog, actually became the gateway to positive conversations. It prompted a boldness and confidence in Maurice to speak with others about the journey he has walked. Friends have interpreted what we perceived as a vulnerability as courage and authenticity. Maurice regularly goes to a gym and works out with 2 other guys. Horton faithfully sits nearby. He is frequently out with Horton completing errands and attending activities. He is building deeper, more genuine relationships with others.
We have experienced some very dark and trying days and have spent years in survival mode. Our normal has been severely bent and shaped by the effects of this tragic and difficult disorder.
A huge serendipitous effect of having Horton has been the emotional benefits to me, the spouse. I no longer carry such a heavy weight of worry when Maurice is out. I know his buddy is with him!
As we have settled into this first year with a service dog this soft head and wet nose has nudged open the lid of my previously buried, encapsulated emotions. He has permitted me the freedom to embark on my own journey of healing and processing through numerous layers of pain. He has helped me realize I can loosen the grip of care-giver. I can begin to rest with both eyes shut. I can start to untangle the cords of fear that have wrapped themselves around my throat in order that I may breathe easier again.
Horton has truly been a gift from the hand of God and we are exceedingly thankful every day. We are extremely grateful to all who had a role, and there are numerous people, in helping place this beautiful golden boy in our lives and in our hearts!
We hold a huge sense of indebtedness to you all, thank-you for such a precious gift!
Sherry and Lexy
For such a long time I would not leave my house or meet up with anyone I knew. Then OSSIS came into my life to help me cope with my problems, it has done just that. Because of good people like Paws fur thought I was able to get me my new best friend. I went to Kansas not knowing what I was in for, that first day of class Flay was the second dog to come out. He came right up to me got on my lap then hugged, and kissed me, I cried when this happened knowing now that I have my best friend. Flay is so right for me now, I'm out and about more then ever. feeling better about my self worth. We sleep,eat.walk,drive, everything together. Flay has also got my Wife and I back on the right trail again along with Taffy our King Charles. The four of us are very happy now and as a family, We Thank everybody who is part in my life changes; Thank You;
I cannot say what might have been but since Lexi, a service dog, I can now think of tomorrow. This amazing girl has been guiding me thru a long and dark tunnel. She gives me the confidence to go in public and preform what most would not think twice on like grocery shopping. She knows when to protect my back while in public settings or to provide the space I need when talking to people. Lexi paws me to bring me back to reality when symptoms take me away. She is their when triggers approach to give me the ability to deal with stressful settings. She brightens every day! Lexi has changed two lives. My partner is still serving and Lexi knows both of our stressors and triggers. She takes such great care of us and we are so grateful to have her in our life. I appreciate Lexi’s previous owner for recognizing that she is special and donating her to become a service dog. Thank You Paws Fur Thought for changing and giving a better quality of life.
In my days of darkness came a little angel who light up my life and brought unconditional love. She takes good care of me I would not be alive today if was not because of help dealing my illness and handicap.
Tks medric for improving my quality of life by providing me Kenya