I was an Air Force firefighter. During a rescue attempt on a pilot in an F4 Phantom, I was seriously injured. I needed two major back surgeries while I was still on active duty, and it took about 6 months to learn to walk again. Since then I’ve had 3 more back surgeries, one neck surgery, and three hand surgeries. I have enough hardware in my back to set off metal detectors. And I have lost the use of my left leg from the knee down. I have a drop foot and no feeling in my left leg. And these things create major problems in my day to day.
Because of the Dogtopia Foundation and Service Dogs, Inc, I was partnered with a black lab service dog named Solo. Solo has been trained to pick my cane up off the ground when I drop it, which I do quite often, and return it to me. He can “fetch” my leg brace, or anything else I drop. He can open doors and the refrigerator, and he can close cabinet doors and drawers. He also can lift me out of a chair or couch when my back and legs aren’t able to do it for me, and he can keep me balanced, to prevent me from falling.
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Additionally, without any formal training in this area, he can tell when I’m about to have symptoms from PTS and he’ll cuddle up to me and rub against me, easing the nightmares and night terrors.