How a Dog Named Willow Helped This Vet With PTSD

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Veterans and active military personnel protect our country day in and day out, risking their lives to ensure we remain safe. But their bravery, can take an emotional and physical toll on their well-being, with some suffering from PTSD.

Linda is one of these people, but with the help of a dog, she is able to improve her live.

After working as a nurse in the military for 20 years, she told PAWsitive in a video that nothing really prepares people for what they will see in war.

“It as the human side of war that wouldn’t leave me,” says Linda. “I was watching that marine’s last breath, or the baby that’s been shot or there is a person who’s burned over 95 percent of their body.”

Seeing all the violence, suffering and sadness, finally took a toll on her. One day, after a patient died, Linda felt nothing. It was one of the first signs of PTSD for her.

When she completed her duty overseas and was living back at home, other symptoms occurred, including problems sleeping, panic attacks and nightmares.

Related: How One Nonprofit Is Connecting Our Country’s Loyal Service Men and Women With Shelter Pets

While therapy helped, it wasn’t enough. So, she reached out to Tender Loving Canine, an organization that provides veterans dogs.

She got paired with Willow, a yellow Labrador that had trained for years to be a service dog.

It was a match made in heaven. Willow follows her everywhere and has helped Linda feel safe, while forcing her to get out and socialize, an activity hard for people with PTSD.

“When you have a service dog, people want to smile at you, they want to talk to you,” she says. “We don’t necessarily want to talk but it is a kind of forced therapy; it gets you back in life again.”

She continues, “We all can learn from a dog. For a dog there is no yesterday and there is no tomorrow, there is only the day at hand.”

Related: Huge Outpouring of Support for PTSD Veteran Whose Service Dog Was Shot and Killed

H/T PAWsitve