Our Heroes Will Never Walk Alone

Corey & Zach

Zach has my six everywhere we go. Knowing I have him next to me at all times I am able to experience life again. My sleep has improved, he interrupts my anxiety and irritability moments. We make a great team and I couldn’t imagine life without him.

Tony & Gunner

I am someone who knows firsthand what it’s like to experience severely dark moments. After multiple combat tours serving overseas and being a veteran police officer for over 30 years, I was diagnosed with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, along with multiple other physically challenging injuries. I was in severe pain, depressed and wanted to stay in my home isolated from everyone.

I was referred to Freedom Paws by my counselor, completed the vetting process, and was paired with Gunner. Gunner has been a critical part of my treatment for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. I’m able to focus on him more than the other variables that would normally bother me.

I have a better attention span, less irritability, more confidence, and most of all he gets me off the couch and out of the house. I also have to maintain his training, which gives me a sense of purpose. I’m active and engaging in the world again. I’m going to the park and sleeping better.

Gunner has given me a quality of life that I had lost. With Gunner having my back, I’m able to sleep more for the first time, and that was something I was having a hard time with. As well as learning general obedience, and other tasks, Gunner and I are learning specific commands that are designed to help me with PTSD. He is trained to notice signs of anxiety and will comfort me and help calm the me if needed.

He also assists me when I’m out in public. For example, because I can be hyper-vigilant in crowds, Gunner can be given the“block” command, which means to help the me get some much needed personal space by standing sideways in front of me. Another command that Gunner was taught is “cover.” This means can position himself behind the me and will warn of approaching people–essentially, He is watching my back.

Gunner has drastically improved my quality of life and I feel he rescued me.

Suzie & Annie

Annie is my lifeline. I don’t like to think of where I would be in my recovery without her. She keeps me calm when I feel like my world is crumbling. She watches my back and keeps people away from me while in public, and snuggles me at night to keep my nightmares at bay. She is so much more than just a dog, she is the reason I’m able to live my life again!

Ashley & Goose

Goose has helped me tremendously with being able to confidently go out into crowds or handle tests at my University when I would normally have had a panic attack! He is right there and can sense my anxiety and when I begin to get nervous he reminds me that he is right there with me and that I’m not alone! My quality of life has improved tremendously with him by my side and I can’t thank Freedom Paws Service Dogs Foundation enough for what they have done for me!

Stephen & Dakota

It took years before I accepted help, or recognized I needed it. The world had become painful in my mind and my body, so I accepted the nightmares. The enemy I was unable to defend against as I slept, so sleep was difficult to say the least. I shake badly some days and my body isn’t reliable to trust.

Freedom paws service dogs became my life line. I matched w/ Dakota, a small silver lab puppy. As she grew before my eyes, the instruction by our trainers started taking hold. Bit by bit every day was a little easier. My fear of losing my cane and ability to walk was slowly released.

As Dakota loved learning and its rewards (of course), she began picking up my cane, then my car keys, and phone. Now she understands me and my abilities, and is ready to help before I realize I need it. Almost falling – she’s right there to grab onto. Cane fell down a flight of stairs – bam she is ready to go get it.

I didn’t realize I dropped my keys when my hand went numb, and 15ft away I noticed she was carrying them, because she cares. Nightmares – she lays closer to me. Even when I’m at my worst, she not only cares and loves me, but she knows how to help me. Feeling lost in anger and depression… she comes and lays on me.

She helps me in many more ways; as I tear up thinking of my darkest times; right now she comes and lays quietly on me. Yes, she’s a dog and a friend. but my life is different now because I can trust her –  to be up for anything life throws at me she’s my support – my back up.

Stephen and Dakota… all day… together we got this.

Joel & Liberty

Liberty is my best friend! She goes with me literally everywhere, doctor appointments, VA appointments, Walmart, Lowe’s, church…everywhere. She helps around the house. If I drop something, she is right there to pick it up for me. She helps when I mow the grass by getting sticks out of my way (not even remotely scared of the mower).

But, most importantly, when I start to feel anxious or irritable, she is right in my face to calm me down. I don’t know how she knows but she knows.

My life has been much better, and my wife has said I am in such a better mood and state of mind since Liberty came into our lives.

Cliff & Roxie

Roxie doesn’t leave my side. She calms me down when I am having a PTSD episode. She gives me a purpose to wake up in the morning. We love taking walks and playing outside, she is a blessing to have in my life.