Lucy — Service

Location: Oceanside, California

I decided to apply for a service dog when I realized just how small my world had become. I couldn’t step foot into a restaurant or even a grocery store anymore, and I was completely isolating myself at home. My PTSD symptoms were at there worst and I was experiencing nightmares every night, and I felt like I could hardly function. When I first started going to training at Next Step Service Dogs, I immediately felt a connection with the other Veterans after seeing that a lot of us were going through the same struggles. After many long months of continuous training, I was paired with a little black Labrador named Lucy. I never could’ve even imagined how much she would change my life. Since then I have have been able to experience so many new places. I was even able to fly home for the first time in years and visit my family and newborn nephew. Having her by my side has made my world so much bigger and brighter, and I no longer feel afraid. I’m able to sleep through the night again and she gives me a reason to smile and get out of bed every morning. I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate, she’s allowed me to fully live my life again, and I’m beyond grateful for the bond that we share. I believe that Lucy deserves the title of American Hero Dog because she truly rescued me when I was in need and she’s my hero every single day. I don’t know where I’d without her.

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