important roles of a service dog

Important Roles of a Service Dog

These past few weeks have been extremely busy for me. Between appointments at the VA, cleaning the house, writing and doing yard work, I’ve had little time to relax. It’s really not that bad that my time is filled. This time last year I was a hermit never looking to leave the house unless I had to. I feel as though I’ve been blessed beyond belief this year and I’m the happiest I’ve been in a while.

I have noticed a change in my mood when I’m out in public without Tank. I forget things at the store because my anxiety is pushing me towards leaving as fast as I can. That leaves me with having to go to two different stores to get the items I missed. When Tank was with me I felt calm and I was able to think clearly. When my symptoms ramped up I would feel the pressure of his head pressing against my leg and that would be enough to get me out of my head and in the moment. All I had to do was lean down to pet him and the anxiety and stress inside was reduced.

I’m missing Tank being with me so much that I sometimes see or feel him when he isn’t there. Like the other day when I was walking through Target I started feeling overwhelmed because of too many people around. I thought for sure that Tank was on my right side, I even looked down to see if there was the slight chance of him being there.

Yesterday as I was driving home I started to get really bad road rage because of some dumb drivers. As I turned a corner I thought I saw the black of Tanks shiny hair and again I looked back like I always do to calm myself down. Instead of his pretty brown eyes staring back at me all I saw was an empty seat. Sometimes it feels like I see a ghost of Tank, it’s weird.

The only thing I can compare it to is the first couple weeks out of the Army. Waking up late freaking out like I missed PT formation, I even caught myself standing at ease with my hands behind my back while in line. It was odd readjusting to a life without expectations, responsibilities, forced exercise, and people who can relate. Or when someone you love either dies or leaves to go somewhere forever. It’s like you whole body goes through withdraws from that person because they where such an important part of your life.

I guess I’m sort of going through a withdraw. He has been such an important tool in my recovery that I’ve dependent on him to help me get through rough situations and bare being in public without sweating like I’m in a hot box.

I’ve learned that service dogs play an important role in the lives of people with disabilities. They become a part of who we are by being there whenever we need them, either for emotional or physical support. I never realized it until I was without Tank.

He will be leaving in a few weeks. I don’t think it will be extremely hard to deal until I pair with another dog. I have high hopes that it won’t take long. I’ve actually forced myself away from Tank for the past week, letting my daughter play with him and fulfill his need. that way I feel like it will be an easier transition. He doesn’t like it that much, if I don’t pay him attention he will forcefully place himself in front of me and stare me in the eyes whimpering until I ask what he wants.

I love Tank to death, always and forever. I will be ok without, one journey ending and another on beginning.