It’s been four years, one month, and five days since I returned home from my deployment to Afghanistan. Since landing back in the USA from my deployment there hasn’t been a single day, and rarely a single hour awake, that I don’t think about something or someone or some memory from that deployment.
I served in the military as an Air Force officer for six years, but for the rest of my life I will be a veteran of the US armed services whose life was dramatically altered from an intense, frightening war experience. I returned home a broken soul who suffered from undiagnosed PTSD for many years. I was finally diagnosed, properly treated, and cared for by my family, friends, military command--and my dog, Bella. While the support of my family and friends was unparalleled, the love and support of my service dog Bella is what really rescued me in the end.
As more and more veterans are receiving treatment for PTSD, the need for trained service dogs to support the veterans through their treatment process is also on the rise. Once again this year at the Whimsical Woman show, we are going to support a local North Carolina organization dedicated training rescue dogs to support, love, and care for veterans struggling with PTSD.
Founded by two local Iraq veterans, Warrior Service Dogs is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Asheville, North Carolina that is dedicated to linking trained rescue dogs to veterans suffering with the challenges of PTSD. The organization is the only of its kind that actually links the dog with the veteran and that supports dog and veteran through the service dog training process from start to finish. Once the dog and veteran are linked together, the veteran will work with the trainers of Warrior Service Dogs to train the dog to support the veteran’s needs.
One might ask how a dog can provide support for someone with PTSD? While the specific struggles with PTSD varies from individual to individual, dogs can be trained to specifically help a person with disabilities manage their recovery process as well as provide therapeutic support along the way. Besides the unwavering love Bella provides in my life each day, Bella also wakes me up from PTSD-induced nightmares at night.
Last year Whimsical Women helped raise $3000 to support Warrior Service Dogs. Since last November, the money raised during the Fall 2013 show has gone directly to supporting eight local veterans with eight new rescue dogs trained to support these disabled veterans and help them get back on their feet. Your outpour of support has directly translated to positively impacting and honoring members of our community that have served our country in uniform. With such an amazing show of support from last year’s show, we have invited Warrior Service Dogs back to Whimsical Women's 2014 show to help raise awareness of veterans’ needs and the positive impact of the love and support that a service dog can have in a local veteran’s life.
Right now, Warrior Service Dogs need your support with donations of:
-Moist dog treats for training
-Small orange cones for training
-Gift cards to Wal-Mart and Lowe’s Home Improvement
-Collapsible dog bowls
-Dog crates of different sizes
-Cash donations to help with veterinary bills, service vest gear, and dog registration
Wag more, bark less!
Molly Mae Potter, Veteran, United States Air Force