Karen served as a Navy Corpsman for 20 years, where she witnessed many horrific injuries and events. She went on to work as an ambulance crew member and later as an ER Supervisor, where seeing trauma was an everyday occurrence. As a woman veteran, Karen also experienced sexual assault and sexual discrimination.
These experiences led Karen to develop PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Karen attended counseling for years; eventually, her counselor suggested getting a service dog to help her.
Although she had never considered getting a service dog before, she decided to give it a try and applied for a service dog through Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs.
“Working with Guardian Angels has given me my life back. I didn’t have a life before. I just existed. I didn’t live life. I missed my daughter’s school programs and summer activities, everything. I had withdrawn into a shell,” Karen said.
She said her service dog Patton helps her get through the day and also assists her throughout the night by waking her from nightmares. Patton also assists Karen in public when her anxiety grows by shielding her and focusing her attention on him rather than her surroundings.
Although he was not explicitly trained to do so, Patton does alert Karen when her blood sugar is high or low. She discovered this when Patton kept popping up to alert her during a church presentation rather than lying down like usual. “They always say to check and see what’s wrong with you first, so I checked my blood sugar, which was sky high; it’s amazing what they can do,” Karen said.
Patton helps Karen get out and live her life. She travels alone with Patton and even goes to breakfast occasionally, just the two of them. “That light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t seem to be a train anymore,” Karen said.
Karen encouraged others who are considering a service dog to take the leap. “Reach out; you have nothing to lose. Guardian Angels are truly that, angels, from the dogs to the staff. Everyone has been so helpful, ” Karen said.
To learn more about recipients like Karen, visit our website today!