Ziva — Service
Ziva is a three year old Dutch Shepherd and is a PTSD service dog. She has greatly improved the quality of life of her handler. Together they work in Public Health. The last year has meant many difficult days and long hours in dealing with the response to Covid-19. For months she and her handler worked in the State’s activation center, where leadership officials were faced with critical decisions and stress-levels were astronomical. When Ziva felt the extra tension in the room, she would make her way around the room nudging each person for a pet and could bring their stress level back to a manageable level. So in addition to her duties of taking care of her handler, she assisted others that needed her services in extraordinary situations.
Ziva also helps advocate for awareness of PTSD, particularly in the First Responder community. When people see her, they ask about her. It often leads to a discussion with her handler and a stranger on PTSD and the benefits of a service dog. This has lead to several other First Responders (& military personnel) realize or admit that they too suffer from PTSD. Realizing they are not alone and that there is help is essential in stopping the high rate of suicides in this field. Ziva serves a critical role in opening doors for this to happen.
As a pup, Ziva contracted Parvo. I almost lost her, but I did all I could to save her. Now she is healthy and strong. I guess you could say, we have saved each other!