Being a SWAT team member for the Sheriff’s department is not an easy job. The day-to-day operations can be intense, stressful, and unpredictable. It requires a lot of mental and physical strength to perform the duties effectively. As someone who has served in the Marine Corps, I thought I was prepared for anything. But what I have realized is that my military experience can sometimes compound the anxiety in my career. However, my life took a positive turn when I met my special service dog named Walker. I’ll share a little bit of my journey of how Walker has been that fun and perfect element in my life.
I first met Walker when she was delivered from the breeder. She is a search and rescue working AKC bloodline of Belgium Malinois. Her mom and aunts and uncles currently volunteer for a Sheriff’s department in Alabama. She has an energetic but gentle and intuitive spirit. I was immediately drawn to her and when she cuddled up to me, I knew it was meant to be. From that moment on, Walker became my partner in crime.
I spend most of my days in high-stress situations. But when I come home to Walker, she greets me with his wagging tail and a bouncy personality. He helps me decompress faster and engage with my wife and children to the fullest. Walker is trained in sensory therapy, which helps her sense when I’m feeling anxious or stressed out. Her gentle nature helps me relax, and I can feel my muscles unwind. Walker is not just a service dog; she’s someone who understands me better than anyone else.
When I’m not on SWAT she enthusiastically accompanies me to various places like Home Depot or dinner at our favorite restaurant. She’s already socialized from her breeder and her puppy training is top notch at Canines For Heroes. Her presence makes me feel more comfortable and at ease. What I love about Walker is that she’s always happy, and that helps me live in the moment.
I’m grateful to have her by my side, not just as a service dog, but as a loving companion. We love to be outdoors and have fun with the beginnings of a great search and rescue volunteer career here in Sarasota. This is a double “give back” dog for me.
Walker has changed my life in so many ways. She’s provided me with the calm and support that I didn’t even know I needed. Her love and enthusiasm inspires me to be a better person and a better team member. Having a special service dog like Walker can make all the difference in a high-stress job like being a SWAT team member. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety or stress, consider getting a perfectly matched pup for a service dog like Walker. They may just be the perfect presence that you need in your life!