My dog, Too, and I have recently been accepted into the TADSAW program. We are working hard to learn all the lessons and become a responsible, respectable team.
Too and I will be taking our K-9 Good Citizenship test on Tuesday. Dianne Espe has been a blessing to both of us. She is kind and caring. She expects a lot from us and we are more than happy to comply. She never expects too much. She expects what we can accomplish successfully.
Since beginning the program, I knew that Too and I would ultimately be in public places and needed to handle this task proficiently. So I found her a little boy’s rain slicker in a resale store. I used a red sharpie to mark down her back. S. I. T. (Service Dog In Training under the letters).
We have gently asked our surrounding community if it is okay to come into their establishments so we may train in the public arena. We have only been denied one time. We have been in Wal-Marts, Petsmarts, Lowes, Home Depots, HEBs, Walgreens, CVS, a variety of second hand stores, many restaurants, Whole Foods, Central Market, and many other public places. Too is doing her teacher and her human mom PROUD!!! She has never caused a problem in public. She minds her business and her manners. In a recent trip to HEB with our trainer, Dianne, we were told by her; “That’s impressive!” when Too walked very closely to the cold cut section while never even turning to look at the meats that were at her nose level.
I don’t know if Too is an exceptional dog or if it is that we have an exceptional trainer. All I know is that I am so comforted and supported when I can have my wonderful “Battle Buddy” with me. It is especially helpful when we are allowed to be together in the VA.
I am a Desert Storm veteran. I have been struggling with PTSD for over 20 years now. I kept thinking every new year that eventually the PTSD would magically get better. No such luck! Six years ago, I attended a Vets Journey Home weekend as a participant. That was the beginning turning point in my life. I quit dying one day at a time and began living them one day at a time.
I was diagnosed with a brain aneurism just after submitting my completed application package to TADSAW. I was sure my hospitalization and recuperation period would knock us out of the program. Much to my surprise and glee, TADSAW saved our place in line. Too and I began training as soon as I had healed enough from what I call my “upstairs repairs”.
Even though we are not certified yet, it is an amazing journey. People and children ask daily if they can pet my dog. I tell Too, “Tell the nice lady or baby or gentleman hello”. She walks forward sniffs their outstretched hand and accepts their pets. Then she returns to my heel on her own. The children especially become very happy when I thank them for being kind to my dog. People are curious about the cute little dog that wears the bright yellow rain slicker.
Today, I had the honor to tell a veteran at the VA about the TADSAW program. He and his wife were curious and brave enough to ask me about Too. They wrote the website information down and were going to go online and check out TADSAW as soon they returned home to Killeen.
I cannot begin to express my sincere gratitude enough to the TADSAW program. I am already feeling positive results from being able to spend more time with Too. She is so excited on “work” days. When I dress her, she takes on a very professional “dogatude”. When I take her slicker and lead off she returns to a household dogatude. She is such a blessing to me!!! I am working hard at our training. I can hardly wait until “graduation day”. I know she will look SO glamorous in her TADSAW Service Dog vest!!!
Thank all of you SO VERY VERY MUCH!!!
And Ever Grateful,
Desert Storm Vet and Warrior in Training