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judges 2011


Entry Category Service Dogs
Charity Partner Freedom Service Dogs
Location Tracy, California


In 2005, while working at a veterinary clinic, this little black Labrador came into my life. A client decided that a puppy was not for them. I was more than happy to give her a home. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Naturally, every time I had a panic attack she would react by body slamming me, licking me excessively, or even bringing someone to me. She could sense them before I even realized it was going to happen and alert me to them. I was in a pretty dark place dealing with flash backs, cutting, and suicidal thoughts. Eventually, I was diagnosed and my doctor was amazed when I told her how Nietzsche responded. She introduced the idea of Psychiatric Service Dogs and asked if it was something that would interest me. After some proper obedience training and legal licensing matters; Nietzsche was certified by the state of California at the age of 2. Nietzsche has been a life saver, literally. She has helped alert me in public many times and I am able to focus, subdue my anxiety, or if necessary, leave the area completely.
She has also become part of our veterinary practice. Some often call her our unofficial mascot. She also donates blood when another dog is in need. Many clients ask to see her if she is in the office with me; I never turn down the chance for her to touch another life.

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