Gus — Service
Before Gus, I was truly afraid that the best parts of my life – the best parts of myself – were gone, and I wasn’t going to get them back. My name is Freedom, and I was a Combat Medic in the U.S. Army. I developed very severe Post-traumatic Stress Disorder after incurring injuries in-service, both physical and psychological, that left me basically housebound. I couldn’t go to the grocery store, I couldn’t have a job, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t focus, and I had terrible night terrors. One day, I overheard my mom crying on the phone that she was afraid of losing me. That pushed me to go get therapy, because I realized it wasn’t just about me being miserable. I realized I was hurting my family and my friends. Actually, I had no friends, but I was hurting my family so I decided to get help. It was a VA therapist who suggested that I look into getting a service dog – and she was right! Gus has changed everything! He is there to pick up dropped items when it hurts to bend down. He is there to interrupt the night terrors that rob me of sleep. I can lean on him for balance when I’m unsteady on my feet, and I can lean on him to balance my unsteady thoughts. Because of Gus, I went from isolation to moving to another country, finishing my Master’s and moving to TX to continue my career. I have my independence back and I have friends-so many friends! The picture of Gus is the “See Me” cue from his training. Gus “Sees me” and helps me see who I want to be.