I am a disabled veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which, has greatly affected how I deal with social situations. I began noticing symptoms around the beginning of 2000. After loosing friends in the September 11th terrorist attack on the Pentagon, my symptoms progressed to the point where I wouldn’t leave my home by myself by the beginning of 2002. I began thinking about getting a dog. I always wanted a German Shepherd after knowing one as a child. I knew that I would feel safer with a big dog and that I would have to leave the house to walk one.
Enter my puppy soulmate: Odin
Odin saved my life by saving my sanity. First, it was just having the company of unconditional love, and at that age, loads of energy. That energy led to long walks getting me out of the home. I began to take him to a dog park where there were a handful of regulars. I felt safe around the humans in the dog park because there were so many dog around.
Overtime, I began to notice that Odin would react to my panic attacks. A hyper puppy would shift to a calm puppy that would lay still while I hugged him during an attack. This brought me back to the hear and now which, is so important for those of us with PTSD. Odin truly became my un-official service dog. For nearly 11 years, I had a trusted companion that I loved more than myself. He was even the favorite of the neighborhood. Then he git very sick, very fast, and he was gone.
There are no words to express the pain I felt and continue to feel after losing Odin.
I could write a book about how amazing he was and how big of an empty space he left in our house that would be longer than the novel, War and Peace. Although the decision to get a new dog was very hard, it was a natural choice. I hadn’t slept through the night, and often not at all, since Odin passed. So the hunt for just the right pup began. I knew that I would know when I met the right one and sure enough I did. He came in the form of a 4 month old Belgian Malinois.
We named him Loki, Odin’s adopted son in Norse mythology, and this blog is his story.
I look forward to sharing how we met and where we are now as we begin training together with you. I know we will have a lot of ups and downs, but in the long run we hope to be great companions who work together to keep calm (and carry on).
- 16 Ways To Help A Friend With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (casapalmera.com)
- Help for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (everydayhealth.com)
- Scientists reveal brain circuitry involved in post-traumatic stress and related disorders (bipolarblue.wordpress.com)