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judges 2011


Entry Category Service Dogs
Charity Partner America’s VetDogs – The Veteran
Location Thornton, Colorado


About 8 years ago, I was diagnosed by the Department of Veteran Affairs with PTSD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder due to my military service. I had gone to the VA Hospital because, I had started having such severe panic attacks that I felt as if I was having a heart attack. I didn't know that I was having panic attacks…but I knew something was wrong. It was so bad that I was missing work almost every week. When I was diagnosed, I was also given medication to give me the ability to just function…and go to work.
Around 2005, Bailey followed me home as I was walking around my old neighborhood. At that time I wasn't aware of psychiatric service dogs. I discovered psychiatric service dogs purely by accident while searching for information on psychiatric disorders. I found a trainer that was interested in working with service dogs, and Bailey was the first one he certified. Bailey keeps me grounded, especially when I start to feel anxiety. Since getting Bailey certified, I have been able to almost completely quit the medications I was prescribed for anxiety and I haven't missed work due to a panic episode in over 6 years. I also provided information to the mental health doctors at the Denver VA hospital, so that the doctor's could learn more and could give other veteran's the chance to live normal lives with minimal to no medication. Bailey was the first service dog introduced to the Denver VA hospital.

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