My name is Brandon Jones, my service dog is Apache. I am a retired Air Force combat veteran diagnosed with severe PTSD. I am married with two children. Before joining the Guardian Angels program, my life was too difficult to manage alone. My days consisted of staying locked in my home and away from the outside world. I didn’t sleep in fear of reliving my nightmares and awakening in a pool of my own sweat. I was also very antisocial and didn’t interact with anyone. My wife took care of my personal needs and attended my medical appointments with me constantly.
Before receiving Apache, I was taking no less than a dozen medications a day just to manage my symptoms. Mental health treatment was mediocre at best and inconsistent. Needless to say, the medications had no impact on my recovery; in fact, I was often met with comments such as “you look like a zombie”.
It wasn’t until I was admitted to inpatient care that someone introduced me to the service dog program. After arriving back home I conducted my own research on how it impacted other veterans and knew it was something I had to pursue. I discovered numerous stories of veterans beginning recovery and starting new lives with their dogs. I too wanted a new life and the ability to interact with my family again.
Shortly after attending Carol’s training sessions with my family, even I started noticing changes. I began to smile and talk with people that shared my experiences. I had never gone anywhere alone until I received a service dog. My service dog gave me the confidence I needed to drive on my own without my wife having to travel with me. I now attend all my training sessions with just my dog. Training with Carol’s dogs brought me a peace that I had only experienced prior to combat. The dogs were gentle, loving and most of all selfless. I was immediately drawn to their loving nature and devotion to put my needs above their own.
Carol, Chris and Guardian Angels are nothing short of a blessing to me and my family. The impact Apache has made in my life is beyond words and my comprehension. Apache is not just a service dog, he is my wing man and I absolutely could not image where I would be without him. I continue to make strides in my recovery such as going to the grocery store, attending my VA appointments, and going out with my family. All this would not be possible if not for Carol, Chris, her staff, and most of all Apache.
I’m not any good at expressing my emotions but I would like to express my deepest heartfelt gratitude for Carol reaching out and helping me build a new life. It is people like her that have stepped up in the most desperate time of others and provided comfort and healing not only through her encouraging words but through her remarkable service dogs.