Caleb & Claire

Caleb & Claire

Caleb writes   –I don’t know where to start….Claire was made for me.  Her sense of humor makes me laugh every day.  She isn’t even trained to “fight depression”, yet she is depression’s worst nightmare!  When I go into crowded public areas, she helps me remain calm by just being there.  When my alarm sounds at 9:30 in the morning, she drowns me in loving, slobbery wet kisses to get me up.  When she knows it is time to eat, she will sit by my medicine cabinet while she stares laser beams through my eyes, reminding me to take my medicine.When I’m driving down the road, I no longer have panic attacks because I’m distracted by her sticking her head out the window and watching her drool roll down my windows- but I don’t mind, I just laugh.  When her head isn’t out the window, she is following light “glares” with her eyes and once in a while I will hear her nose punch my (car) headboard as she lunges for it.  She brightens every minute of my day and I am only sad when I have to crate her.  Claire was made to combat PTSD & depression. 

 

Jackie writes   —Caleb Swartz… So many things come to mind when I think of him. He’s brave, smart, kind and humble. He’s a friend, a brother, and someone I am so proud to call my other-half. Caleb is so many wonderful things but he is also a wounded warrior, a Marine scarred not only on the outside but also within from his part in the fight to keep our country safe from foreign enemies. He has carried these scars for him for a number of years now.When I first met Caleb, he had freshly completed a program through the VA to help him better understand and cope with his PTSD and TBI. He did very well with it but still has trouble coping, some parts of the year being much worse than others. You see, towards the end of April during his tour in Fallujah, Caleb experienced two very life changing events very close to one another. He lost a brother and mentor and experienced being hit by an IED first hand. Even though these events took place many years ago, he is still haunted by the memories and they affect him significantly. Last year, it hurt him so badly. I felt so helpless watching him fight the internal battle. He tried so hard not to let it get to him but in the end, it caused him to slip into depression.

 

It was a few months after he had reached his low point that he learned about Purposeful Paws. Caleb loves dogs and the whole time I listened to him explain the program to me, I saw genuine excitement. It warmed my heart to see the old Caleb coming back out so I had to learn more. I read about service dogs and how they can help those with disabilities that can’t be seen. They can help people with seizures, autism, and (yes) even PTSD. Caleb received a lot of support and encouragement so he filled out the application. A short period of time went by before he received word back. He had been accepted to have a service dog of his very own. I wish I could have captured that moment, he was so excited.

 

The day Caleb went to meet the Purposeful Paws staff was the day he met his new best friend. He came home having fallen IN LOVE with a cute German Shepherd by the name of Claire. Over-time, Caleb continued to work with Claire and I noticed such an improvement in his demeanor. He was happy and excited. Every day that he got to work with Claire was a good day. Caleb and Claire were two peas in a pod. Finally, in March of 2015, Claire came home.

 

Claire has changed Caleb so much in the short time she’s been with us. I no longer worry about anxiety attacks when I’m not home because he has Claire. He has a much better sleep schedule because she won’t let him sleep in too late. Keeping depression away is an easy feat for her because of her wonderful personality and the connection she has with Caleb. I won’t say that Claire has brought out the good qualities in Caleb because he’s already so sweet and loving. She has simply amplified these good qualities and continues to give him companionship. She’s with him literally every step of the way. Not only has Claire given Caleb (any myself) a new family in Purposeful Paws, she has given him the greatest gift of all: being a best friend.  ~ Jackie Wandler