Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dixon's Story, PTSD Service Dog - a Guest Post by L.A.

Laurel's Note: Welcome to the Blog World, L.A. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, and Dixon, with us!

For years the casual consideration to blog about my PTSD experience has been quelled by procrastination, a disguise of vulnerability at least until today.  Today’s motivation to blog comes from what actually happened to my service dog, Dixon.  My story can wait another day but his cannot because his story represents many others.  

Dixon as a Puppy-in-training with National Service Dogs
His story is about the life and duty of every National Service Dog.  His is one based on careful selection of trusted breeds, generationally sound genetics, kind and willing temperament, but most importantly the ability to demonstrate selflessness well into white whiskers.  For most pups training begins at 9 weeks of age when dedicated puppy raisers pour love and affection into precious souls in order to build a puppy into a stellar dog, a dog with confidence, a dog with an imbedded sense of responsibility. With tears of sacrifice and trepidation puppy raisers relinquish their beloved companions over to the next level of intensive training.  The puppy raiser’s gift is not only in the dog but rather their committed investment into the life of another human being. Because of this unparalleled kindness a service dog gives from the overflow of what has been given to him.  Service dogs behave due to the consistency of qualified training that takes a third of their lives to accomplish under stringent rules and frequent testing.  Once they have acquired the mastery of their tasks they are then certified with supporting documentation for public access.  It takes hundreds of thousands of volunteer and trainer hours to achieve this feat.

Like any soldier or first responder there is pride in the uniform from the second it goes on, it is a badge of courage and honour that few aspire.  One stands a little taller, a little prouder knowing they earned it with a contentious work ethic of determination regardless of circumstances. It is similar with a working service dog, the carefree whimsical manner instantly stands aside while on duty in jacket.  The distinguishable vest is their marching orders to be respectful and diligent of their charge while remaining polite and considerate of the on looking public.  So today, when Dixon was refused entry to a local restaurant by an angry owner, my heart sank not so much for me but for him.  I wanted to melt into the floor.  Going out for lunch with my elderly mom was to be a good occasion not an uproar and for those seated simply enjoying their lunch it was awkward and unfriendly. We all seemed to muddle through by avoiding eye contact, but Dixon cast his eyes down as if he had done something terribly wrong.  If only I could explain it was not his doing, he behaved like a champion.

My persistence and proof of accreditation to management did nothing to improve our circumstance.

You see Dixon and I are newly assigned partners, so to write this blog is me standing up for him, I have his back just like he has mine.  Today we did not get the opportunity to eat at one of my family’s favourite places but instead we walked away believing the best course of action is to bring awareness to the role of service dogs in our community. 

Dixon (centre) & the National Service Dogs
 Class of 2015 PTSD Service Dogs
They are not pets, they are not out for a walk, they have earned their credentials, they are on duty.  They are working so a disabled person can have an improved quality of lifeSometimes the brightest part of cold week in March is a good meal outside the four walls.  It should be available to all.

- L.A. 

1 comment:

Christy Burton said...

All I can say is I love you both.💜