Katie & Callie

Katie & Callie
katieI have been working with PurposeFULL Paws, a nonprofit corporation created for the purpose of raising and training service dogs and assistance dogs to work with disabled individuals and offer them more independence. Through this organization, I was introduced to Callie, a charismatic and loving labrador retriever trained to assist me with tasks I have trouble with due to PTSD.

 

I do not usually discuss my disability, and it may come as a surprise to some to learn that I have PTSD. Through treatment and therapy, I have learned to manage the major symptoms and lead a relatively normal life. I have also learned and accepted that PTSD is a life-long condition that will continue to present me with difficulties, particularly with certain tasks.

 

My goal in working with Callie is to lessen the impact these difficulties have on my life and she has already been a tremendous help. Rather than shying away from situations that would normally present a problem for me, working with Callie has allowed me to address them head-on.

 

Callie has been trained to provide me with space in public places, making something as simple as a trip to a crowded grocery store more manageable for me, and significantly reducing my anxiety related to being out with other people. She is extremely well behaved, and will lay patiently at my feet at a restaurant or in meetings and remain attentive and at my side during trips to court.

 

In addition to these more visible tasks, Callie also helps me with tasks at home when her vest is off. She responds to my nightmares by waking me up and staying near me until the anxiety has passed. Callie helps me to stay on a schedule, reminds me to take my medication, and responds to me when I am behaving differently. She leans up against me or rests her head on my leg when I am upset. Although simply a part of her nature, Callie is also an extremely happy dog whose tail is always wagging, and this is a great source of comfort and relief from stress.

 

I can’t express how much of a difference working with Callie has made on my life!

 

{Original photo by Miguel Martinez- migmartinez.com }