Hazel — Therapy
After serving in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, North Texas Marine, Steven Osteen sometimes experiences feelings of anxiety due to post-traumatic stress disorder. To help keep calm when these feelings arise, Steve decided to apply for a companion animal through the Pets for Vets program. Steve was instantly selected and then connected with a professional trainer from Operation Kindness to discuss what type of companion dog would appropriately fit his needs, lifestyle and personality. After meeting with Steve, it was apparent he would need a dog that would be calm and comfortable in social situations.
In order to become a companion animal, dogs are required to take tests to assess their social skills, ability to be trained, handling and reactivity, anxiety triggers and house manners. Only two percent of shelter animals meet these requirements. Hazel, however, scored an almost perfect score of 90 percent. Operation Kindness staff created the curriculum to prepare Hazel for becoming a companion. Hazel quickly learned how to sit and many other important behaviors to help her veteran companion.
Today, Hazel accompanies Steve wherever he goes including trips to the zoo, grocery store and many more adventures. In crowded situations, Steve is able to focus all of his attention on Hazel – relieving feelings of anxiety which helps keep him calm. Steve credits Hazel’s assistance with helping him save his life and his marriage.