Project-Delta Interviews Combat Medic

Project-Delta Interview

This is the interview I did with project-delta. They have helped me come a long way with understanding how PTSD effects my everyday life. Please share!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FTA9J7K

A Soul Infused With Tank

A Soul Infused

It’s been almost a week since Tank has left and I’m hanging on by a thread already. I’ve noticed quite a few changes in the way I approach life that I forgot I used to do.

“I seriously wish that I had full control over my mind, body and spirit. I have my body and spirit in tip- top condition, but my mind just seems to do whatever the heck it wants sometimes.”

For instance, I’ve noticed that I clench my jaw when I’m under stress, which is almost every second that I’m outside of the house on my own. Two days after Tank left my jaw hurt really bad. I couldn’t eat it was so painful.

It felt like my teeth were going to fall out. I went to bed with my face throbbing.

The morning after, the pain got slightly better but I was only able to eat soft foods for half the day.

It comes from the Hyper-vigilance that engulfs me wherever I go. Even at home I can’t stand in the yard or my garage without “hearing” someone walk up behind me, making me watch my back like someone’s trying to kill me. I can’t stop watching for danger.

It feels like I’m slowly reverting back to my old state of mind like before I started my search for a service dog.

IMG_0333It’s weird how infused Tank was with my life. I still hold reminiscence of him within every stride I make in life. Sometimes I hear his collar jingle and get a jolt of excitement thinking he’s walking up behind me, only to turn and be devastated by reality.

I don’t think I’m going down a path that will revert me back to the dark place I was in just a few years ago. Mainly because I have structure within my life now. I wake up and take care of my daughter and then I write and promote my book.

I’m still on a mission to save as many veterans lives as I possibly can before I’m whisked off to a better place. 

It won’t be long before I’m paired with another dog, so these feelings of despair and depression will soon fade. Until then I have to strive to fight my demons on my own in order to help motivate others to do the same.

Infuse

A Soul Infused With Tank

A Soul Infused With Tank

Realization

It’s been almost a week since Tank has left and I’m already hanging on by a thread. I’ve noticed quite a few changes in the way I approach life that I forgot I used to do.

“I seriously wish that I had full control over my mind, body and soul.”

I have my body and soul in tip- top condition, but my mind just seems to do whatever the heck it wants sometimes.

For instance, I’ve noticed that I clench my jaw when under stress, which is almost every second that I’m outside of the house on my own. Two days after Tank left my jaw hurt really bad. I couldn’t eat it was so painful.

“It felt like my teeth were going to fall out. I went to bed with my face throbbing.”

The pain got slightly better the morning after, but I was only able to eat soft foods for half the day before it started hurting again.

It comes from the Hyper-vigilance that engulfs me wherever I go. I can’t even stand in the yard or my garage at home without “hearing” someone walk up behind me, making me watch my back like someone’s trying to kill me. I can’t stop watching out for danger.

It feels like I’m slowly reverting back to my old state of mind like before I started my search for a service dog.

IMG_0333
Tank

A Soul Infused with Tank

It’s weird how infused Tank was with my life. I still hold reminiscence of him within every stride I make in life. Sometimes I get a jolt of excitement to hear his collar thinking he’s walking up behind me, only to turn and be devastated by reality.

I don’t think I’m going down a path that will revert me back to the dark place I was in just a few years ago. Mainly because I have structure within my life now. I wake up and take care of my daughter and then I write and promote my book.

I’m still on a mission to save as many veterans lives as I possibly can before I’m whisked off to a better place. 

It won’t be long before I’m paired with another dog, so these feelings of despair and depression will soon fade. Until then I have to strive to fight my demons on my own in order to help motivate others to do the same.

Infuse

An Everlasting Impression

Tank has left a everlasting impression within my heart…

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I can’t stop the tears from rolling down my cheek.
It been two days without Tank and my hearts grown weak.
Our bond will last within my heart forever,
Broken only by time and this body that withers.
Tank, dear friend,
I love you so much,
Although it feels like the end, I’ll always be able to remember your touch.

Although it feels like the end of my journey, I can’t accept giving up.

“One door closes, another one opens” has to be my mentality.

One day as I look back at this situation, I’ll have a great new best friend by my side and my heart won’t feel heavy with sorrow.

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You will be missed Tank…you will be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impression

Training = Maze

“Training a service dog is like…”

While walking Tank this morning, I thought of how to best describe service dog training to people who’ve never experienced it. The closest thing I can compare it to is a maze.

Just think about it, your view of the maze is like life with PTSD. You try your hardest to navigate the many jagged, twisty paths to get through to the finish but the tools you have just won’t work. You end up getting worried, bad anxiety attacks, and flashbacks just thinking about trying it on your own. There needs to be a new tool to help you navigate through the complicated maze.

Stick with me now, here is where it gets interesting.

Someone very kind walks up and hands you a pen, a new tool to help you achieve your goals of navigating through the maze. I’d like to think of a service dog as the pen, a companion that keeps you calm and focused on achieving your life goals.

Instead of getting freaked when thinking about the maze, you are able to calmly use your new tool to start navigating through the many different obstacles.

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Tank

When I think about Tank, he did just that. I was practically a hermit, not leaving the house unless I needed to because of flashbacks. Just thinking about going out would be a struggle because I kept thinking of all the obstacles that may present themselves while out. When I received Tank from Project Delta and we were able to start public training, I felt better about going out. I actually wanted to.

I was able to use my pen and focus on calmly navigating through life. I got further with the pen than I did trying to depend on the tools I had.

But like the maze, training a service dog can usually lead to a dead-end. You have the right tool, but you can’t get past the road block because the tool ended up malfunctioning.

In my case, Tank ended up being way too overprotective. At home I couldn’t get him to stop barking at neighbors and dogs that walked by. Out in public I couldn’t sit down without Tank freaking out on people walking by, barking and snapping his jaws at them.

It was a side of Tank that I never saw coming. It’s a trait that’s hard to break, I would never be able to get him certified as a service dog. I love Tank to death, but I still had goals to accomplish, I still need to get to the finish.

Just like starting over on a maze, I have to try to find a different dog to help me finish my goal. I’m starting down the same path with the same tool hoping for a different outcome.

That’s just what it’s like, ask anyone and they’ll agree.

Three more days until Tank goes to his new home. He’s helped me overcome a lot of obstacles I would have never been able to do on my own. It’s hard letting him go, but he’s served his purpose.

Maze

Loving Tank

What Tank wants

It’s getting down to my final weeks with Tank. I still remember the first day we met and the immediate connection we had together. Ever since that day I’ve tried my best to give Tank what he needs so that he’ll be a happy, loving dog.

I’ve lived day in and out with him for the past four-month and I have to say that Tank is a very picky, sensitive dog. I don’t mind it though because that’s what makes him special. He has a personality that I’ve never seen out of a dog before. There are certain things he needs done for him to be comfortable; so, I decided to make a list of all the special things I do for Tank so that he can feel at home with his new owners.

First and foremost it is extremely important that Tank gets let out in the morning for a long walk or run so that he can poop and his anal glands can be expressed. He poops at least two times during our mile walk. If he doesn’t poop at least twice he will feel uncomfortable and in turn will start whimpering and licking his butt uncontrollably because his glands are swollen. It took me two months of being in the winter when it’s too cold to walk far to figure this out. I was taking him to the vet every month for them to express them.

Second, he loves his sleep in the morning and he doesn’t usually eat until after 1 o’clock. Speaking of eating, he is extremely picky. I buy Nutri-Source dog food, any flavor will be fine for dry food. He also needs wet food or else he will starve himself until he has to eat the dry food.83F5ADFA-5C36-4028-A248-AF5BAC114CAA

He was on a wet food only diet, 3 cans a day because of a large pancreas that the vet found by x-ray and I haven’t been able to break him from it. He is stubborn sometimes, especially with food.

I usually give him a cup and a half of dry and mix in half a large can of the wet food in with it. The mixing is important because he’ll just eat the wet food and leave the dry food and stare a hole through your head when he’s hungry until you give him something enticing.

The third thing that he needs is some solid attention every day, an hour at the most or he’ll whimper and start rubbing his head   On the carpet and start rolling on his back trying to itch. I usually call him over and start scratching his head, he loves it when you rub up and down from his forehead to his nose as well as the corners of his eyes.

He’ll eventually plop down onto his side then raise his leg to get his belly rubbed its his favorite thing on earth. A good belly rub paired with his wildly kicking leg equals a happy Tank. He’ll even thank you by pressing his front paw into your chest or he’ll try for your face. He turns into the biggest baby in the world when he’s on his back getting his grey and white-haired belly scratched.

The fourth thing is that Tank loves to chew on raw hides. I usually give him 1 or two a week. They have to be basted in beef or chicken, he won’t touch the plain ones. I bought the plain ones before and spread peanut butter on it. He licked off the peanut butter and left the rawhide. I found good ones on Amazon.com by Digestez, the chicken, beef, and pork filled rawhides. He’ll chew one up in less than two hours. And don’t worry, he chews the rawhide until its small enough to swallow.

The fifth thing that Tank needs is a car ride. He loves car rides just as much as a belly rub. He sticks his head out and likes to get a big wife of the air around. He looks like he wants to fly off or something, he’s too funny.

The last and final thing that Tank needs is to sleep on the ground next to the bed, he likes to be next to someone at all times of the day. He gets scared being by himself. He sleeps through the night if you take him out to relieve himself before going to bed.

If all of these needs are met, than Tank will be a happy camper every day. I’m so jealous of the next couple who has the privilege of having him in their life.

Gray

Never Give In

Tank and I are doing as wonderful as ever. Now that he’s just a house pet and isn’t forced to be in public, he has been calmer.

He doesn’t like being caged up during the day while I’m at appointments. He whines, cries and pants hard after I close the cage locking him in. I think he’s just so used to going everywhere with me and never having to be alone that he feels like I’m going to leave forever.

My trainer said that I could bring him around with me and leave him in the car with the windows rolled down when I have to go inside somewhere. I started doing that just to make him happy. He likes to put his whole head out of the back window to get a nose full of the fresh air. He’s too funny, sometimes it looks like he wants to jump out and fly through the air… I bet that’s what he thinks, or he likes all the different smells. Either way he is too cool when he does it.

It’s going to be hard letting him go within the next couple of weeks. I’ve thought long and hard about the time in between giving Tank up and my next dog. He’s like my crutch, it’s easier for me to get around with him watching my back. How will my mind be without having him next to me to keep me in the moment?

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Tank and my baby girl!

I know that my PTSD symptoms have been kept in check because of our constant interaction. He’s the only live being around me 24/7, how will I be able to leave the house on a whim like I do with him?

I have to keep moving forward even though things are going to change. I have a mission from God to save as many lives as I can from this horrible suicide epidemic that’s plaguing our nations veterans and families. As long as I have a tenacious grip on the goals that I’ve set when I first started my quest, God will provide for me to fulfill the mission he has given.

The good people over at Project-Delta are working relentlessly to find a new dog that can one day be by my side for years to come. I love that the path God has laid in front of me has connected me with so many loving and like-minded people. I have nothing but hope for the future to come.

Tenacious