Where did you serve and what did you do?
I served in Iraq for OIF 05-06. I was a signal soldier and also served as the Sergeant of the Guard at our Entry Control Point.
Tell us how your dog is helping you continue #StillServing in your community.
I developed epilepsy and had to have an implant called a Vagal Nerve Stimulator (VNS). My service dog, Beignet, is able to detect my seizures so that I can activate my VNS in time to help control the seizure. Beignet warning me I can get to a safe position and notify a family member. Since we were teamed up I have NOT been to the ER for seizures or seizure injury. She helps wake me from nightmares and is so intuitive. She even helps with crowd mitigation and blocking to prevent my anxiety. I am very active with the VFW at every level. Beignet helps show people that it’s ok to overcome the mental health stigma and admit that you need help. Beignet helps me teach others about “service dogs” that aren’t trained properly and can endanger your service dog.
Why do you do it?
I am blessed that the Texas VFW Foundation, VSweeps, and United States Veterans Service Dogs have teamed up to place Beignet with me and help me find my new normal at no cost!! The VFW is Still Serving every Texas VFW member through service dogs!!!
Beignet and I sometimes teach service dog etiquette to children in groups and schools. It’s heartwarming to see them change their behaviors and understanding. I love helping other Veterans succeed in their endeavors. Beignet gives me the confidence to teach other Veterans about their opportunities for a free service dog! I love seeing the faces of the Veterans in our local nursing home when Beignet and I go visit.