Natalie C. Vines, Lieutenant Colonel (Medically Retired), is a Texas native who grew up and attended High School in Plano, Texas, and excelled in band, softball, basketball, and soccer. Natalie is paired with her service dog Bugg through Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs.
Natalie’s Life Before Bugg
“I began my military career by enlisting in the Army Reserves as a combat medic in 1991. Later in 1992, I transferred to Active Duty and served in the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 1996, I completed Officers Candidate School and began my military service as a Signal Officer,” said Natalie.
She served in various assignments throughout the U.S. and Korea. She deployed to Haiti in 1996 and served two combat tours in Iraq beginning in 2004 and 2009. She was injured during both of her deployments to Iraq from blast injuries and was Medically Retired from the Army in January 2013 from TBI, seizures, cognitive disorder, and severe PTSD. Due to these injuries, Natalie is 100% Permanent and Total Disabled.
Natalie is married to Colonel (Retired) Brian Vines. They recently moved into a new home in Nevada, TX. “I enjoy spending time working out, getting into competitive sports or events, and anything outdoors. Bugg and I do everything together,” said Natalie.
How Bugg Helps Natalie Every Day
“Bugg is a true companion and best friend. He unconditionally supports me from the time I wake up until I go to sleep at night and while I sleep. He sleeps in our bed and even watches out for me at night by waking me up from nightmares or assisting me with balance during nightly bathroom visits,” said Natalie.
Bugg also monitors Natalie 24/7 for seizures and helps her with balance issues and with standing up from the floor. In public, Bugg shields her from strangers and helps her cope by being a kind distraction from anxiety and depression. “He is always at my side checking on me. He keeps me calm. He is literally a lifesaver,” said Natalie.
“Post injuries, I just wanted to isolate myself and deal with my issues by myself. Bugg has given me the confidence to go out into public, become more active physically during my day-to-day life and resume a somewhat normal life,” said Natalie.
What Natalie Wants You To Know About Guardian Angels and Bugg
“GAMSD provided me with the perfect service dog trained specifically for my needs and the environment that I live in. He has literally saved my life and given me hope. I have not had a suicidal ideation since being paired with Bugg. We can communicate by just looking at each other. He can stare into my soul. I am truly thankful to Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs and so very blessed to have my Bugg,” said Natalie.
Visit the Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs today to learn more about our life-saving mission.
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