Other than playing loud music and using drugs to help me get through fireworks on this Fourth of July, I did something different.

Fireworks and Combat Veterans Don’t Mix

Other than playing loud music and using drugs to help me get through fireworks on this Fourth of July, I did something different.
Fireworks and Combat Veterans Don’t Mix

Fireworks and Combat Veterans Don’t Mix

Other than playing loud music and using drugs to help me get through fireworks on this Fourth of July, I did something different.

This is my explanation of why fireworks and combat veterans don’t mix !

Please help me raise awareness for C-PTSD and share this video with friends and family. The only way to cut veteran suicide is to be aware of the problem.

Thank you!

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Combat Medic
A soldier’s story of the Iraq war and PTSD

Next Up- Sinister Chuckles in Hell 

Military Dogs Receive Top Honor

This is what I love to see. This is one of the reasons why I think dogs are the best pets to own. They’re super intelligent and help us in the best possible ways. There would possibly be twice as many soldiers killed in action  from IED’s if we didn’t use dogs to sniff them out.

WASHINGTON — During a routine perimeter check in the desert of Afghanistan, Isky found a roadside bomb. He had come to a complete stop, sitting near the explosive device, patiently waiting for orders from his best friend, Army Sgt. Wess Brown. The IED – buried two feet deep – was a 120-pound bomb. Isky, a […]

via Working Dogs honored for their service — Pacific Paratrooper

A Soul Infused With Tank

One Horrible Trait (2 min. read)

Today I’ll start out by saying I’ve never felt more alive than I have with my buddy Tank. Just a year ago I was having anxiety attacks overtime I left my house, so I just stayed inside as much as I could. I couldn’t go out by myself because my mind would play tricks on me, causing me flashbacks that would send my mood spiraling out of control.

Since having my buddy around, I don’t get caught up in the unexpected anymore because he keeps me grounded. Now when I’m in public and I feel like overwhelmed all I have to do is reach down and pet Tank. His soft fur and baby brown eyes always grabs my attention and everything else seems to fade away.IMG_0312

I wish I could have Tank forever. Sadly, after three months of training I’ve found that he isn’t the right dog for the job, here’s why.

A week ago I had to go into my chiropractor office to get some work done. When we first got there, Tank was fine. I signed in and took a seat, Tank laid down next to me. When my doctor came around the corner and looked at me, Tank got upset and started growling at him. I told him to stop as I stood up to shake his hand.

After I was done on a back stretching machine, my doctor came into the dimly lit room and walked over to unstrap me. Tank started growling ferociously at him again. I pulled him close to me and held onto his collar so that the doctor could unstrap me because he wouldn’t quit. When I got up, I stood over to the side of the doctor. Tank went quite so I released his collar and held onto his leash, but within a second he lunged towards the doctor and nipped at him.

If my doctor wouldn’t have jumped back Tank would have taken a bit of his leg instead of his pants. I was in total shock with what happened and I apologized profusely. When we walked out of the office I didn’t want to look at Tank. I’ve never seen him act so violently towards someone.

Quite honestly I was scared; not of Tank, but for him. If he would have bitten my doctor he would be put down. Before this had happened, I didn’t think he could be so aggressive, he acts like a baby any other time, so what happened?

I talked with my trainer Lindsay and told her what happen. She let me know that I shouldn’t take him into public again until she can see his reaction. I want to say I listened to her, but I had appointments and shopping to do so I kept bringing him with me.

One day while I was at the VA hospital talking to one of my friends, Tank lunged at him when he was coming in to shake my hand. He put his jaws around his hand but didn’t bit down. Other than scaring my friend half to death, nothing serious happened. It was at that moment where I started to worry about bringing him anywhere.

I met up with Lindsay at the mall one evening so she could see what Tank does. She had her husband try to provoke Tank by walking by us. Tank didn’t react the first two times, but the third time when he walked up slowly behind me and started to place his hand on my shoulder, Tank went manic.

He started barking nonstop, lunging at her husband with everything he had. It took a lot for me to hold him back. Even after Lindsay walked up and introduced her husband to Tank, with treats, he still wouldn’t stop barking. I walked off with him to calm him down, but every person that passed us seemed to provoke a bad response out of him.

Lindsay didn’t like what she saw at all. It didn’t take long for her to make the vision to stop training him to be a service dog because this was the dog he really was. She said that our bond is so strong that he fells it necessary to be over protective of me.

“There was no way we could have known he would be like this” she  told me. Something inside of me shattered at hearing that. I thought for sure Tank was going to be with me forever, or at least until he passed on to doggy heaven. To think after months of training everything is over for us.IMG_0311

Lindsay explained to me that not every dog makes it through training. There is actually only a 40 percent pass rate for service dogs.

I have a lot to think over the next two weeks. I have to figure out if Tank will stay with us while I try to train another dog or am I going to give him up for adoption. It’s so hard to even think about him not being with us anymore. Tank is so intertwined with me and my family, he is loved beyond words. But, I need a service dog for the goals I want to accomplish.

I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. It’s caused quite a controversy in my household. It seems like every day since I told my family about the situation we start to argue about what we should do. My daughter was literally in tears over this. She even told me I don’t care about Tank.

If only she knew how much he meant to me. I’m already starting to feel a difference with him not next to me all the time.

I don’t know. I just don’t know anymore.

Very Merry Christmas

It’s been a week since I sat down to write about Tank and I. To tell you the truth it’s been going so great with him I haven’t felt the need to say anything. I’ve been busy running around town buying christmas presents and getting the house ready for family to come over for christmas. December is always a chaotic month.

I’m really amazed at how well Tank and I have bonded. We’re in sync everywhere we go. He obeys my cues and watched my back when I need him. I’ve noticed that I’m not so busy being alert about my surroundings when I have him with me, which helps me stay calm and more focused on what I need to get done.

Our public access training with Lindsay has been going exceptionally well. Lindsay gives us  a lot of praise each day we train. She said we’re probably the easiest to work with and we’re excelling well beyond what is normal for the program. We’ve  been training at Target and the mall,  but I take him other places  because I hate the way I feel when he’s not with me.

The only thing that I worry about him is how protective he gets when people walk up on us suddenly, he starts barking at them and it takes me awhile to get him to calm down. He does it inside the car too, with every person that walks by the car when we’re parked. I’ve talked to Lindsay about it and she’s given me a few things to try. She said he just might be overwhelmed  and we might just be moving too fast for him, so I need to keep him home when it’s not necessary to bring him out.

Other than that life is pretty great. I have hope that I can get that side of Tank under control so we can take the certification test soon because I want to start promoting my book more and doing speeches so I’m going to need him, he’ll pull through. He’s getting along better with my wife and daughter too. They told me that Tank is part of the family know and that they love him just as much as me. I believe them, the mood in our house has changed since we got him. He keeps me in a stable mood which makes the girls happier, plus they get the added bonus of petting and playing with him too.


Christmas is a time for Love, Peace, and family. It’s been well over a decade since I celebrated a christmas where I’ve truly been content with life. This christmas is special to me in so many ways it’s overwhelming sometimes. Wow, even writing it seems weird. I had darkness trapped inside of me for so long, it doesn’t feel normal to be happy or actually feel all. But now I’m feeling again and it makes my outlook on life better than ever. Tank was the key to helping me feel again, I love him for it.



Winter Blues

This past Friday was a busy day. I had appointments all day which forced me to leave Tank in his crate most of the day. I know he hates it so much, overtime I try putting him in his crate he tries to run away. I have to bribe him by sticking treats inside before he unwillingly decides to go in, lowering his head walking slowly towards the treats as I close the door behind him.

I had to drive forty minutes to the VA hospital to see my doctor so he could possibly change my sleeping medications because my nightmares and night sweats have been getting worse. It always takes forever to get to the hospital and back home. After three hours I was back home in time to let Tank out to pee. I pet him for a while before I had to leave again to go grocery shopping.

When I got back home and let Tank out the second time he was jumping all over me, overexcited about getting out of his crate. It had started to snow when I brought him out to go pee again. He rode with me to pick Aleah up from school. I’m proud of how well behaved he acts in the car at the school now. He has stopped whimpering while we sit in the car. He usually only barks and growls when we first arrive, then he lays down after I tell him to stop. He is such a smart dog because he picks up on cues and remembers his training.

Aleah is always so happy to see Tank when she opens the car door. Her face lights up instantly once they meet eyes. She quickly buckles up when she gets in and immediately starts petting his head. He likes it a lot and he’s pretty tame with her on the way back home.

How Tank chooses to sleep after a long belly rub.


We ended up getting six inches of snow overnight with the temperature down to negative twelve below zero with a windchill of negative thirty. So as a family we decided to stay inside in our PJ’s all day Saturday and relax. I received Tanks booties early that morning which made me happy because know I don’t have to hear him holler out in pain from his paws freezing on the snow. I can tell he wants to walk around the neighborhood when I take him outside to pee, but it was just too cold to walk.

Sunday was thirty below zero, even a worse day to walk. I put Tank in his crate when I went to church in the morning. It was so cold, I was happy to get back home to get warm. I think the winter is getting to him. He seems depressed that he can’t stay outside, I see him staring out the window sulking over the damn winter while I’m sitting in the living room. he hates it when we go outside just to pee. He tries to walk down the driveway to start a walk but I always just go back inside. We walk plenty when its warm out. Last year I was up to eight miles a day, so he’ll get his fill this spring when we start back up. I guess humans and dogs have the same emotions about being stuck inside on long winter days. Only a few more weeks of cold before spring, seems so long away.


It’s Magic!

This week has been really eventful. It feels like I’m constantly on the move between training Tank, going to appointments , and keeping my family happy with a clean house and good wholesome meals. I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone and I can feel the effects. My anxiety is through the roof, the pain in my back is damn near intolerable and the nightmares won’t stop. I have to keep pushing through my comfort zone in order to learn how to deal with my PTSD because I’m tired of letting it affect everything in my life.

Tank and I had our first public training session last Tuesday and I’m excited to say we did better than I anticipated. We met Lindsay and Josh at a nearby Walgreens. It was ten below outside with a wind chill of negative twenty, so it was cold to say the least when Tank and I jumped out of the car and ran over to a bank of snow to pee. After a few seconds of being on the concrete,Tank started hollering out every step he took limping on his paw. I rushed him inside as quick as possible and stood around the corner of the entrance away from the doors. He stopped whimpering when he started warming up.

Lindsay had me walk through the store at a slow pace taking everything in as we saw it while she watched. Tank did excellent following my cues to “leave it” or “let’s go” when I wanted to move. He was also really calm which kept me calm. I felt better in that moment out in public with Tank than anytime by myself since coming home from Iraq.

Not much happened on Wednesday. I stayed inside the house with Tank to keep from the bitter cold. I woke up tired as ever, like I never fell asleep. I’m glad Tank slept through the night though. I hate having to go out in the freezing cold in my PJ’s, especially in the middle of sleep.

I’ve been dreaming a lot these past few months. Sometimes nightmares, but usually it’s a weird story line like I’m leading a school group on a field trip or fighting other people with magical powers. My mind is always busy thinking whether I’m awake or sleep and it is draining.

I’ve noticed that Tank has dreams too. Right before I go to bed he usually sleeping with his nose twitching and sniffing as his paws jerked fast, like he’s prancing on the ground. Sometimes he growls or moans. I wonder what he dreams about sometimes. I make sure to lay my hand on him gently, it usually gets him to calm down without waking him up.

Patti from Project Delta text me that night to let me know she received Tanks working vest and I’d get it on Thursday for our public training at Lowes. That text made me happy because yay! Tank gets to start rolling with me everywhere I go, but at the same time I’m on the edge because there will be a lot more people, blind corners and noises than in Walgreens, so I thought I couldn’t handle it.

After taking a step out of my comfort zone, Tank and I had an experience at Lowes that wasn’t joyful or disappointing. Tank got his black vest with ” Service dog in training!” and ” Do Not Pet” patches on it. It fit him well and he looks super official in it.  I was nervous at first being in a huge store with tons of people and loud sounds, all huge triggers for me.

Tank was real calm and collected when we first went in. He stayed by my side without yanking on the leash to sniff stuff. I liked the fact that he looked down every isle when walking past. It took some of the burden and fear away from me, but I still felt the need to be aware . My anxiety went through the roof a couple of minutes into the store because there was a guy driving around on a floor cleaner and people kept walking suddenly around corners in front of us. Tank put some distance between us and them. I had to stop for a minute to recollect myself. Tank placed his forehead on my leg with a good amount of pressure. It felt like he knew I was distressed. I reached down and started petting him until my anxiety subsided.

When I was ready I tried giving Tank the cue to walk, but he wouldn’t listen. Josh said it was because he was telling me that I wasn’t ok. It took a few minutes of grounding myself before Tank sat next to me on his own, looking up at me ready to listen. The rest of the time was spent walking up and down isles. Josh showed me how to use clutter in the isles to my advantage to keep distance between us and people.

We stopped in an aisle to take a break when I noticed that before Tank sat next to me, he sniffed around and mad sure no one else was around. It’s nice to know that this stuff comes naturally to him. I feel like my anxiety doesn’t  peak as much when he has my back. I noticed that he didn’t pay any attention to Josh’s dog the whole time we were in the store, he just did his job. Usually he’s whimpering or barking at her when their in the same room.

I was disappointed that we didn’t get to keep the vest today. Josh said we needed more practice in public before we go out on our own. I hate the fact that we have to wait. Every time I have to leave him at home I notice a change inside of me. I think dark things like hurting people or afraid something is going to happen to me. It makes me angry and highly anxious all the time. img_0283I’m not in such a dark place when I have Tank with me. It’s like there is a dark side of me that takes control of my emotions when I’m on my own and I feel drained by the time I get home.

I head straight for Tank as soon as I walk through the door to see his excitement to see me when I let him out of his crate. After playing with him and giving him a good scratching, I felt a little bit lighter and happier inside. It’s like magic!





A Strong Bond

Not much has happened these past few days. The sleep study I went in for sucked so bad. At 830 that night they hooked me up to a wrist monitor with a heart lead and stuck me in a room with four other guys to sleep the night; two things that made me uncomfortable to start the night out. Plus, I had to sleep on a super hard hospital bed with I knew would irritate my back. I felt like my sleep was broken throughout the night because I kept waking up to my back crying out to me in pain with sweat pouring off my head. I don’t even know how I got any sleep that night. By the morning my back was stiff and sore.img_0271

At my appointment the next morning my doctor told me I tested negative for sleep apnea, but they want me back to check for restless feet syndrome to see if that is what causes me to wake up. The whole test made me upset. I woke up more during the night from other people making noise. I still had nightmares too, just like every night. The doctor said I got six and a half hours of sleep throughout the night and that was spot on with the recommended amount for a 33 year old.

Why am I so tired every day like I didn’t rest at all?I’m really getting sick of nodding off several times a day because I feel like I get no sleep. I wish someone could tell me something because I don’t feel safe driving anymore.

I felt so run down and hungry after the appointment that I thought I’d better treat myself to a good breakfast, so I stopped to eat at The Original Pancake House. The Banana praline crepes were so amazing; I can still taste the caramel on my tongue.

I drove over to my dog trainer Lindsay’s house to pick up Tank. As soon as I walked through the door he was all over me panting, rubbing his furry body across my legs, jumping up licking my face. The anger and frustration I was having for the VA slowly disappeared the more we interacted. It was just a distant thought by the time I was leaving with him. I guess we both missed each other. I feel a strong bond with Tank, like he is apart of me in some way.img_0270

It got bitter cold this weekend. It snowed from Saturday into Sunday afternoon. We all stayed inside most of the weekend playing games and watching television. I don’t think Tank likes to be inside all day, he kept coming over to me whimpering and looking outside.

After going outside with him a few times I think he realized that being outside during the winter in Minnesota is highly overrated, especially when there is a snow storm. I felt bad for him when he started limping on his paw after being outside for a minute. On our way back inside he started yelping out when he stepped down. I bet his paws were freezing, so I ordered him a pair of booties. I hope I get them soon so he doesn’t have to be in pain when relieving himself in the snow. I also ordered a bunch of different rawhide chews that I think he may like. I spoil him way too much, but I feel like it’s a mutual respect thing. He watches my back and helps take away some of my anxiety, I give him all the treats he likes.

Lindsay, Patti and Len from Project Delta came over tonight to check in with our family and also so Aleah and my wife could introduce themselves to Tank and finally get to pet him. They all were nervous at the start of it, especially Tank kept looking at me with his tail wagging swiftly across the ground to see if it was okay that they were petting him. He started calming down as soon as they both started giving him treats.

Aleah was super happy to finally get to pet him. Jessica was glowing with joy too. She doesn’t say it much, but I know she loves him. I’m glad they finally get to show him affection. I can tell Tank is in a better mood since he doesn’t have to walk around with the muzzle on anymore. He gets his vest in a few days and then we dive into public training, I can’t wait

Noticing a Change Within

I’m having good days more often than usual. I’m sleeping better because I’ve let Tank sleep outside of his crate at the foot of our bed. I really believe he doesn’t like to be in his crate when I’m in the same room so he can sleep outside of it as long as he’s sleeping all night.

Training went well today. Tank is making strides in his progress. He is showing me everyday how smart he is by memorizing cues I give him within a day. The only problem I can see that he has is with other dogs being in the same room with us. Josh’s service dog was in the room with us today and Tank wouldn’t stop growling at her and he barks at every person that passes by outside. I think he’s easily excited because he doesn’t see other people and animals much. We’re starting public training with in our next session so hopefully he will start learning to keep calm in those situations.

I gave Tank a break from his muzzle today when we were in the house alone. He still walked with me wherever I moved. He’s a really good dog, I think he is ready to start going out in public with me. I found that the only rawhide he likes to chew on has to have some type of meat flavor on it or he won’t chew it. I bought peanut flavored rawhides and Tank literally just licked the bone a few times then pushes it aside. I’m glad I only bought a pack of two so throwing them away doesn’t seem too wasteful. I gave him a beef and chicken flavor rawhide and he chewed it up in less than an hour. He is such a picky eater.

I have a sleep study scheduled for tonight at the VA hospital to test for sleep apnea because I’ve had trouble sleeping lately. The nightmares and night sweats have gotten so bad I feel like I’m not sleeping at all at night. Lindsay came to take Tank for the night. I spent an hour petting him and giving him lots of love before he left.

Driving to the VA was a challenge as always. I started having an anxiety attack halfway there which pissed me off. I felt like I was high because everything I looked at was in a haze. I tried grounding myself with breathing techniques , but I found it hard to even breath. I met with my psychiatrist when I first arrived at the hospital. I let him know I stopped smoking weed a few months ago because it was getting too expensive. Now that I haven’t smoked my PTSD symptoms have increased. He increased my medications to help compensate for what the marijuana was helping with.

I drove over to the Mall of America for dinner after that appointment. I tried a new sushi restaurant and it was pretty good. I drank sake in order to calm my nerves. I felt so different without Tank, sort of feels like being in a gunfight without a gun, super uncomfortable. I’ve noticed how bad I get without him which makes me anxious to get his vest so he can go everywhere with me.

img_0277Lindsay sent me a couple of pictures with Tank and her two labs. She said he was doing excellent and he was getting along with everyone. I bet he was excited to play with other dogs for a chance. He’s been stuck with me for the past month not receiving any attention from anyone.


A Different Side

I’ve felt the best mentally than I have in a long time. Aleah had another day off of school today. We hung out playing games this morning and then I dropped her off at her friends house before I went to my chiropractor appointment. I brought Tank with me, but while I was driving Tank started whimpering and barking loudly at dogs being walked outside and he wouldn’t stop when told to.

I’m seeing a different side of Tank lately, he barks way too much at people. I can’t control him when he gets like that. I decided to bring him back home before my appointment because I didn’t think he had enough training to sit in a room with me until the end of my appointment. Whenever he gets around other people and animals, he gets super excited and tries to run up to get their attention; or, he just want to warn me that new people are around, IDK. I’m going to have to remember to talk with my trainer Lindsay about how to calm him down so he doesn’t bark and whimper when he sees other animals. I know that we don’t get out of the house much, he isn’t around anyone new so that may be why he’s always excited.

I love Tank’s bark. Its low, loud and sounds so much like a hound. He is part doberman and hound dog. I like the fact that I have him as a tool to alert me to new surroundings. I feel like he’ll always warn me when somethings jumps off. I’ve started going to bed at 11 pm to let Tank out to piss. He usually goes, but at 1 in the morning , he wakes my wife and I up with his panting and licking. When he starts to whimper I take him out again and he goes. After that he sleeps for the rest of the night. I wish he slept the whole night so I don’t get as much broken sleep. Other than that, Tank has been the perfect addition to our household.dc7d35ec-ac80-46fc-bd72-36ff2c9cc93d

Happy Dog, Happy Life

I woke early this morning by Tank obsessively licking himself as though he was giving himself a morning bath. I was about to go back to sleep when I heard his stomach growling, as if he hadn’t been fed for days. It’s been a few weeks since I heard his stomach this upset. When I first brought him home his stomach was upset every morning, it was literally screaming at me. My trainer, Lindsay, said it was the stress of being in a new home and that hopefully it will stop in time. I tried introducing new food to him yesterday by replacing a quarter cup of his food with new kibble for his feedings. I guess his stomach is ultra sensitive. I have to find the right food that he can easily digest. As soon as he ate this morning the growling stopped. I could tell that he was relieved because he went and curled back up into bed.

My Dad and Mom came into town yesterday to buy gifts for us kids and grandkids. He comes up every year around this time just to spend some time with us before going back home to Texas. Tank spent a lot of time in his crate this weekend. I came home every three hours to let him relieve himself and play around. Every time I let him out he was overjoyed; running in circles, jumping up on his hind legs to give me a hug and kiss hello. Makes me happy to know he loves being with me. It doesn’t matter how long I leave him in his crate, 20 minutes or 3 hours, he is always happy to see me. All of the anxiety that I had building up inside seems to wash away when I see him jumping around with a smile on.

The only time I had him in his crate was when we went to church on Sunday. When I got back from service I took him outside to relieve himself. When I sat down to rest I noticed Tank staring at me. He walked up and tapped my leg with his paw and stared  at his food bowl then looked deep into my eyes. I’ve noticed that he doesn’t leave me alone if he’s hungry. He’s pretty good at letting me know when to feed him. I gave him the rest of the kibble he didn’t eat in the morning. He usually does it at night which I don’t mind. I’m going to ask Lindsay if there are other foods I can give him to eat that won’t mess with his stomach.

I spent a lot of time petting Tank this weekend. He always rolls over for me to rub his belly when I walk up to him. He is such a belly slut.94f7dabd-f849-42fd-aab0-73980eecc308