Gunner — Service
US Army Veteran, Douglas Kinard, returned from combat overseas with a Purple Heart, a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and a long list of other horrific injuries. 56 to be exact. Flashbacks of trauma trigger anxiety, fear, anger and a slew of other emotions that inhibit “normal” ways of going about life. With his TBI, Kinard also experiences memory loss, cortical blindness (blindness due to his TBI), severe migraines, and severe balance instability.
“I am always looking over my shoulder, planning for the worst to happen,” says Kinard.
In 2013, he was introduced to SD Gunner, who helps Kinard with daily activities such as balancing and bracing, which can be difficult for Kinard due to his TBI. SD Gunner also helps Kinard cope with his anxiety and flashbacks, as well his daily living skills.
SD Gunner has taught Kinard patience, loyalty, how to be himself again.
“I got Gunner when I felt like I was in a bottomless pit and there was no chance of breathing air again, and getting him was like having a little sliver of hope. He can tell when I get anxious and when I get irritable, so he comes up and nuzzles me to remind me that everything is going to be OK. He can also tell when i’m unstable and pushes himself up against me to give me the stability I need to stand or walk. He is quite remarkable and truly a game changer in my life. I would not be alive today if it weren’t for him. Man I love that dog! ” says Kinard.